What follows are various pointers for the big Saturday handicap.
First up there’s my video preview... I tried to keep it shorter, but failed. Well, the first 30 minutes are providing ‘information’ using Geegeez and HorseRaceBase. I’d watch it with a notepad if you wanted, and of course you can pause whenever you wish. It includes a look at who may be well handicapped, who’s proven in conditions, a look at pace/running styles, trainers in form, trainer/jockey combos, HRB ratings and trainer records. The final 15 mins or so I discuss a few horses of potential interest – more my own opinion.
Horse by horse musings – below that are some thoughts on each horse – I thought i’d write these out before I decided what to back! Doing this has made me view one horse differently, who I was maybe more dismissive off first time through (Anythingtoday). As always, don’t let anything I say put you off a selection, and while written out for my own thinking, hopefully of some interest. This ‘reverse’ process of write up then selections may be the way forward, who knows.
Below that you can find the stats /trends / pointers etc to use as you please.
Any tips will follow in Friday’s Daily Members Post (all free to air still) by 6pm on Friday evening. I also plan to do a ‘ITV races ‘through the card’ for fun/interest. That’s my next task… for now…
Horse by horse musings… in racecard order…
Certain Lad – off 112 here, surely something better treated? 9lb higher than when Bass rode at York, when chasing home Sinjaari. Top/joint weights 0/17,0p last 12 years
Sir Busker – unlucky not have won another big pot this season – has some of best big field handicap form in the race/all the right formlines etc. However now on OR 111 – it would be some effort to win a handicap like this from such a mark. 4lb higher than when chasing home Montatham at York (solid form). I’m not convinced he can’t win from this mark, but that something else has more up their sleeve? He does set the handicapping standard in this race though. Should relish the extra 1f, won’t mind cut if heavens open some more. Yard a bit quiet now though. Needs a strong pace, which he should get, although is the sustained pace higher? Maybe. His only neg is whether the capper has him/open to attack from others, but I could see him putting up a bold show.
Montatham – I think Sir B above may have him beat in these conditions – their form tying in at York. Only ran ‘ok’ LTO and off 109 he does now have questions, I’m not sure extra furlong will suit, and he can be buzzy. Yard are in form, but Haggas now 0/16,1p in the race… negative trainer record stats in races this competitive should only be a guide, and maybe more a case of using those with positive records to help make a case. Still, it would suggest that since 1997, Haggas has yet to target the right type at this. Softer ground a question. Like Sir B, does the capper have him? Probably.
Fifth Position – he looks awkward under pressure to me/when having to scrap. IF running the same race as York, I wasn’t sure why he’d finish ahead of Lucander here. Yard in form and connections to be feared. I thought there was a reason he was tried in blinkers at Goodwood, and they didn’t work/he was too lit up. Something about him under pressure doesn’t convinced me, but I could be wrong/eating humble pie soon enough!
Bell Rock – 60 days off niggles me although I suppose could just have been laid out for it. Needs more and some questions over level of his form I think – but he does have ‘big field, C2, sustained pace form’ so race conditions in that sense not a problem. He did ‘stay on’ LTO suggesting could be more to come from his mark when it drops again. Balding is 0/15,2p in the race. A trainer/jockey combo to always be feared. Needs more, but that’s possible.
Sinjaari – has he been saved for this or had a problem? 1 run this season and 70 days off wouldn’t be a traditional prep for this but he did win LTO as if more to come, and his return. Maybe he’s best fresh. I’m not sure as to the strength of that York race, 2/50 to have run since. It was quite a taking performance though from where he was. He will want them to go hard and may need luck in running. Seems short enough to my eyes, but value is always subjective.
Afaak – looks out of sorts now and open to attack from younger/more progressive legs. Not for me this time. Jim has picked Montatham and he’s rarely been wrong this season with such choices.
Al Rufaa – the most interesting of those mentioned so far at the prices, for me anyway. It’s the ‘dream team’ of Johnny G and Frankie, who’ve won the last two renewals with 3YOs. I do think he’s still well handicapped given how he won his penultimate start. I can ignore LTO given how soft it went and the slow pace- he never settled and reportedly ran flat. I did think that this strong pace/race set up may be ideal for him, and Frankie’s magic hands could settle him. He does have questions though – being keen is one of them and he could waste too much energy. He’s also yet to run beyond 7f and 9f at pace is a question. I think cut will be fine. He is 8lb above his last win though. He’s on my shortlist but I can feel the splinters already.
Power Of Darkness – Mr Tregoning is 2/8, 3p in the race, but this one has far too many questions inc wellbeing/form. 2nd run back after a year off and another 90 day break. I’m sure he has handicaps in him off this mark if getting him back to his best. This looks a tall order given recent profile, not that I’d fall off my seat in shock if he ran well.
Bear Force One – just doesn’t look good enough to my eyes. Not on what he’s done. Al Rufaa has him well held if running his race/staying.
Tempus – obvious chance, that’s why he’s 6/1. Is that still value – hard to tell. I would be shocked if he were out of the places on what we know. If there’s one horse in here who’s potentially group standard, it could well be him. He has sprinted to victory in two slowly run races, certainly at Ascot. He does have a turn off foot and will be sat in the right place, with pace around him. He does have to prove he will stay this 9f and that he can cope with a C2 cavalry charge – but such a pace set up/conditions could be why he improves even further. He’s the right fav and I won’t say anything to put you off if you think 6s is decent. I never get 6/1 shots right in these sorts of races! I take them on they bolt up, I wade into them, they tail off! He should run a big race. But, 6s in a 29 runner handicap… hmmm…
King Carney – unexposed, more to come one day. He was gelded before his last start and a chance he comes on for it. Fellowes had a winner on Thursday after a quiet spell and maybe the tide could turn again for him. That was his best run of the season LTO, chasing home Tempus, not beaten far. Although he was half fit that day I think and has obviously progressed since. He should help set the pace low, and he can be headstrong. Maybe being held up behind runners would help but if he doesn’t go forward, the low numbers don’t have much pace to track/set it up for them. Thereabouts on my shortlist of those at a price. Connections did think he’d be up to Derby quality after last season, but that clearly hasn’t worked out. Interesting to a point.
Derevo – Sir Michael is in cracking form although another who could have a better race record – now 0/13,1p since 1997 but again, not the sort of stat to use to strike through a horse in my view. His form is solid although any cut/softer is a question. He ran at Donny as if 95 underestimates him, slicing through the pack, only to be overhauled late on, front two clear. I don’t’ know if he was outstayed there and/or hit the front too soon. I can see why he’d have his supporters, I’m a bit on the fence, and is the type you can start making too many excuses for maybe. But, again, I can see him running well. As you can gather, this is rather competitive on paper! Shock.
Celtic Art – too many questions for me, in a race like this, given his recent profile. Needs more, for all that he was smart at 2. You’d think he has more races in him at some point but he hasn’t shown enough for me yet this season. Goodwood run was decent but this is so much deeper.
Majestic Dawn – not for me, 1st time blinkers – should hopefully provide some pace for those high. He was 5th in this race last year though off 5lb lower. But after his seasonal return LTO he’s plenty of questions and blinkers applied for a reason I suspect.
Lucander – he is more interesting than many for me, although maybe I’m still annoyed at missing him LTO, which was probably the time to catch him. Still, he looks progressive, won’t mind what the weather does, settles well, should sit mid div, is consistent, will try, will stay and he still looks ahead of his mark to me – well on top come the line LTO. In theory on that form he has Fifth Position and Derevo held (although he may have hated proper soft). But maybe that wasn’t the strongest of C2 handicaps, and his Newmarket run before on July course poses questions. But that was his only poor run for quite some time, maybe an off day. IF he ran is race, I’d like to think he’s placing at worst. 4/7,5p on the turf, 3/5,4p in handicaps. Solid.
Anythingtoday – he’s below his last winning mark and should pop up somewhere soon. Looking more closely at his form/watching his last few runs back, he looks one of the more interesting at 20s+ . He’s run some solid races this season, with form tying in with Lucander, Derevo, Fifth Position – he cruised to the front LTO, under 10st, and was still well ahead into the final furlong. He wouldn’t want this getting too soft but is a strong traveller who can sit just behind the pace up the middle, the Perrett horses may tow him into it. This 9f trip at pace may be ideal for him. Trainer/jockey are 4/15, 5p in the last 14 days. He is 4/32, 12p in handicaps, so more ‘exposed’ than plenty but he moved LTO like a winner in waiting. Whether this is too deep, or too many that are more progressive, I’m not sure. But there’s something likeable about him in this, at his price. (watch his last run back)
Dubai Mirage – I like him also. I don’t like Bin Suroor’s record in the race as such, 0/17, 2p although that includes a 2nd and 3rd in 2016, and I’m not talking about a 6s shot here. The yard are in form and do well at the track, and the 5lb claimer is shaping up into a promising jockey. There’s some question about the strength of his form, but his Haydock win suggested there’s loads more to come, even from a 10lb higher mark- the strong pace there really suited. The slow pace at Sandown did not. That turned into a dash. I think this race could be ideal for him and some cut is ok I think, there’s was cut at Haydock. He can lug left, (still learning) but given his high draw, that would be into this rail, which would be no bad thing. He’s definitely got more races in him from this mark.
You’re Hired – horses older than 6 have yet to win this since 1997 and if he’s the first, so be it. Surely not. He should race up there but this looks too deep now.
Walhaan – I’m not sure why he overturns the form with Tempus – but I suppose the fact he chased him home at Ascot would give him some sort of chance. Still, I haven’t seen enough yet to suggest he will be taking this but maybe he’ll appreciate a proper gallop also. I think he may have something in him from this mark, but this race could be deep enough for him.
Good Birthday – a running on 3rd in this last year, the front two well clear, the winner, Lord North, has developed into a G1 horse. It was a smart renewal in that sense, multiple subsequent winners. However, this one has yet to recapture last season’s form and has plenty of questions. SDS is retained by the owners and could have ridden, but he isn’t, instead he’s gone to Chelmsford. (his rides worth a look?) He showed some glimmers LTO but shouldn’t be good enough to take this based on this season’s efforts. I could see him running on into the places maybe, but not for win purposes.
Mutafani – first run for new trainer, first start in 303 days, form questions etc. Not for me.
Data Protection – went off far too hard LTO but this is much deeper than the C2s he usually wins and 89 is a career high mark, on his 36th start. He should add pace to the race from 21 and I hope he goes as hard as LTO to ensure there’s no excuses for anyone else. But not for me today. There should be a few better treated.
Tulfarris – too many questions for me also although bits and pieces of form last season. Still, nothing as yet to suggest he could take this on second start of the season.
Kryptos – I didn’t think he’d be good enough although he’s 6lb below his Doncaster C2 win in Sept 2017. Still, he needs much more than the last twice and I wasn’t sure where that would come from.
Ilaraab – in form, progressive, but this is much deeper than anything he’s run in to date. He should run his race though and can see why would have his supporters given his profile. He didn’t look straight forward under pressure LTO and just scrambled home. I wasn’t that enthused at the prices.
Zhui Feng – another 7 YO. Exposed. Probably a C3 capper these days. Not for me.
Balgair – interesting at a price given how he bolted up LTO over CD. The rain is a question and this is much deeper. He seemed to relish the frenetic pace that day and will get the same again here. This would be a career best and needs to step up plenty, but he’s probably not had this sport of pace that often. He’s a strong travelling sort. I could see him running a big race, but think a few have more class.
Wild Hero – hmm no. He’s a C5 maiden to his name and this looks far too deep, rated 86. Not for me.
Saturday’s Big Handicap Stats/Trends/Pointers
The Cambridgeshire Handicap – READ HERE>>>
Applying the stats…
I’m not sure this is the strongest trends race, and while only ever a guide, there’s not many ‘stats’ to be put off a selection if you like the price etc. Some of the stats I highlighted above I don’t like too much, logically at least! But a profile of… age 3-6, 3-8 runs this season, 2-6 career wins, 8th or lower in the weights, ran in a handicap LTO… leaves 11/12 winners, 11/161 runners, 32 places (out of 48 total). That leaves 10…
Derevo / Illaraab H4 / Lucander / King Carney / Good Birthday / Dubai Mirage / Balgair/ Bear Force One / Anythingtoday / Kryptos
Of those to have carried 9st + LTO (not 100% sure on the logic for this stat) but…
Dervo / King Carney / Dubai Mirage / Balgair / Anything Today/ Bear Force One/ Kryptos
Those from original 10 above yet to run beyond 10.5f in career…
Ilaraab / Lucander / Dubai Mirage / Balgair / Bear Force One / Kryptos
Running 6-10 days ago has been a neg, and three from the ten are doing that… Ilaraab / Good Birthday/ Balgair
Trainers (to have won race 12 years/with runners)
- Al Rufaa
- Power Of Darkness