Tag Archives: Handicap

Friday Selections: February, 16th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.35 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Down to a very dangerous mark, as well as down in class on the back of an encouraging run, Van Huysen looks to be in with a major shout in this contest.

The six year old is a multiple Course and distance winner, he won of 77 and 80 respectively back in 2016 here and ran well of even higher marks.

The son of Excellent Art has been rather disappointing on a number of occasions ever since, however, dropping to a very low mark now, I thought his recent run a muddling class 3 Handicap was as good as his best.

He was left wanting in a very undesirable position once the pace increased over 3f out after the field was crawling along for most parts, that meant he didn’t really have a chance to better than the bare result – however he finished as fast if not faster the last three furlongs than those horses in front of him.

The handicapper drops him another couple of pounds and in this easier grade and bigger field things might fall a little bit more his way. If they do, he’ll be bang there.

10pts win – Van Huysen @ 8/1 Bet365


8.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

There is no doubt in my mind that Alfonso Manana is a well handicapped horse in this race today. His penultimate form of a four pound higher mark in very competitive Chemlsford Handicap gives him a big chance here.

This four year old son of Dutch Art has only a win in a claimer to his name, however, he ran well in a handful of decent maiden races last season.

I believe you can forgive him his comeback run in early January this year and his most recent Southwell performance, but his Chelmsford run and some other performances from last season do give him a big chance, if he runs to that sort of level today, off 59 mark.

10pts win – Alfonso Manana @ 5/1 Bet365

Saturday Selections: February, 10th 2018


4.35 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Open contest that might see Ed Walker’s reappearing Dream Farr return to form. Walker has an excellent record in these big handicaps for older horses and Dream Farr certainly has a lot going for himself today.

The five year old son of Dream Ahead goes well fresh, he’s proven the last couple of years, but more so is he down to a dangerous handicap mark.

He won off 70 and 74 respectively last season. He ran to time speed ratings of 70 and 77 in these two races, which is a good indicator that he’s likely to be capable of running to this type of mark, if not even a bit better.

Luke Morris takes the ride. That suggests Dream Farr is not here for a public gallop. Morris is one who always tries to win, leading the AW Jockey Championship at the moment, and the Morris/Walker combo has been a pretty successful one in the past, too.

It’s probably fair to believe that Dream Farr could have a couple of pounds in hand today and therefore should go close in this contest.

10pts win – Dream Farr @ 9/1 Bet365

Thursday Selections: February, 8th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.40 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4½f

Small but ultra-competitive field. Paddypley drops in class and went close the last time; he’s sure to have a big shout. French recruit Stonific is an interesting contender for David O’Meara. His opening mark looks very workable. Recent CD scorer Theglasgowwarrior may not be stopped by a 5lb hike in the mark.

Yet, The Resdev Way seems to be the forgotten horse in the race, certainly in the betting. The five-year old gelding, however, has a sensational course and distance record. From five runs he won three and was placed in two others, while his last CD effort, back in 2016, when he finished third off 4lb higher than his current handicap mark, is quite a strong piece of form as well.

Things didn’t go to plan for quite a while afterwards. Neither on the flat nor over hurdles did he show anything, until he returned to his beloved Newcastle mid-January, then over 2 miles – he travelled strongly, looked like the winner when approaching the final furlong, though, he bumped into a well handicapped individual who found more when The Resdev Way tired in the dying strides over a trip probably stretching his stamina.

Still, a fine piece of form, given the winner has won subsequently again. The Resdev Way returned ten days later at Chelmsford over 1m 5½f, without landing a blow. I wouldn’t judge him too harshly on that, as clearly here at Newcastle he seems to be an entirely different beast.

Finally he returns to Newcastle over his optimum trip; with Paul Hannagan booked for the ride, I feel The Resdev Way is overpriced in this race, despite its competitive nature.

10pts win – The Resdev Way @ 14/1 VC


9.00 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Gala Celebration returns from a break for a new yard. He has shown in the past he can win fresh; in fact 11 months ago fresh reappearing from a 156 day-long break, he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap at Lingfield, putting up a near freakish performance from the front – in the context of the class of the race and level of the horses involved – when overcoming a wide draw and coming home strongly totally unchallenged.

He didn’t strolled along that day, he set good fractions, yet nothing in the race could get by him, he ran them totally into the ground.

He was pretty on and off in all his next starts. However, now back from a break and 2lb lower in the mark than for last year’s Lingfield success, he seems dangerously weighted in this contest.

That says, Gala Celebration needs to stretch out to a mile, a trip he has tried twice before. He didn’t run too badly on turf in softish conditions and certainly it looks possible on pedigree.

Interesting jockey booking with Jamie Spencer taking the ride on what is Ian Williams’ sole runner on the night. Both enjoy an excellent strike rate together and with the additional aid of a good draw it looks likely that Gala Celebration is ready for a big run.

10pts win – Gala Celebration @ 9/2 GB

Tuesday Selections: February, 6th 2018


4.40 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

A poor race, where the favourite looks solid, but vulnerable after a 4lb hike in his handicap rating after a recent success. This race could well turn into a muddling affair and I’d rather be a layer at odds-on for Star Ascending.

A speculative punt on Clayton Hall looks more interesting. Visor is back on for the second time, the five year old finally has the aid of a good draw here at Southwell, and that could help him to be in a better position than certainly five days ago over course and distance.

He didn’t start all that quickly from the second widest draw but also got bumped by the horse drawn beside him; subsequently Clayton Hall raced wide throughout. Turning for home widest of all, he didn’t seem to go anywhere, however, the gelding stayed on quite well in the closing stages, finishing the last two furlongs fastest of all.

Clayton Hall is five pounds out of the handicap and on overall form has a lot to find with the market principles, nonetheless. However, he won a class 4 handicap on turf off 72 back in May 2017, so there is clearly a bit of talent there.

With his recent slight improvement, a low weight, a better draw and a trip he seemingly stays, he could be the one causing an upset in this race.

10pts win – Clayton Hall @ 14/1 VC

Wednesday Selections: January, 31st 2018


4.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive race, both favourite Bosham and Jorvik Prince, who was a bit unlucky not complete a four-timer at Lingfield last time out, should go really close. Question is, given they have a lot of mileage on the clock, how much more improvement can they eke out?

Lightly raced Jack The Truth is the intriguing contender in this field I am keen on. He hasn’t ran a single bad race in five starts; despite the main body of form coming at Southwell, he also proved to be capable on other AW surfaces.

He already won twice at Southwell this winter; his 5f success on handicap debut was an impressive performance, he followed up subsequently with an even better effort when third in a 6f class 4 Handicap. From a wide draw he came across and was up there with a hot pace.

As the only one from the front trio, he kept going in the closing stages to finish third eventually, whereas winner and second came from the back off the field to stay on. This already works out a good piece of form.

Jack The Truth remains on the same handicap mark, a 73 rating he matched on TS figure on his penultimate run. Dropping back to the minimum trip and down to a class 5 contest, he should be ready for a big performance from a fair draw.

10pts win – Jack The Truth @ 9/2 VC

Saturday Selections: January, 27th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.35 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Fair handicap despite low grade. A golden opportunity for Fiery Breath, nonetheless. He’s the only colt in a female dominated field. The other two market principles have decent shouts in this, however, all evolves around the son of Bated Breath.

He’s back after a seasonal break during which he underwent wind surgery. However he’s not been gelded, which means there is still hope he can do something better than winning a class 6 Handicap.

Reasons are his decent pedigree. Out of a mare that won multiple times on the All-Weather, he is clearly suited to this surface, which he tries the first time.

He was not disgraced in three starts in maiden company last season, when mainly racing in higher grades. The usually travelled well but faded when it mattered. You can clearly get a feeling why connections opted for the wind OP.

The opening mark could potentially underestimate him here. I’ve not doubt that he’ll be ready to.

10pts win – Fiery Breath @ 9/2 Bet365


6.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Competitive field as you would expect for a race like this. A realistic case can be made for a good handful of these. That says certainly the most interesting contender is Desert Fox.

Lightly raced, he got off the mark in his third handicap start at Chelmsford nine days ago. He couldn’t have been more impressive in what looked a deep race as well. Wide draw, slightly interfered and set alight early on, he travelled strongly and put the race easily to bed in the closing stages.

Both TS and RPR back this performance up, meaning the five pound hike in the mark may not stop him.

He finished last a good five weeks earlier here at Kempton over 7f. There is a good excuse for that, which isn’t the trip: after a bumped start he rushed to the front and may way too much way too early.

Plenty of upside potentially for Desert Fox, though, who shouldn’t mind the step up in class. He’s got a good draw here to utilize and hopefully he gets a clear run this time – then he could be hard to stop, despite the general competitiveness of this race.

10pts win – Desert Fox @ 13/2 GB

Friday Selections: January, 26th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

3.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Contemplating over this race for the whole night, my horse has a less than ideal draw, 100 day+ lay-off and a yard in poor form against in a highly competitive race.

But on the other side there are too many positives to not get involved. Talking about De Vegas Kid, the only colt in the field.

This horse is still a maiden and certainly had plenty of opportunities. He was a bit unlucky not to get off the mark in a handful of races last season, though. That shows he needs things to fall right, however, he ran excellent at Newcastle in March over 7f off 6lb higher than his current handicap rating.

He followed up in spring with two more fine performances on the All-Weather, before becoming frustrating, unable to take advantage of a slipping mark, on turf. He was desperately unlucky not get his head in front at Brighton in August and September.

De Vegas Kid has been off since then, makes a reappearance now dropping down to 6f for the very first time. An interesting move. I feel Lingfield as a track could suit him quite well, so may the trip. Certainly on pedigree it is not unlikely to see him improve a little bit. Sire and dam’s sire have excellent records on the British All-Weather over this distance with their offspring.

He has proven last season to be well capable of running to his current 52 rating, possibly slightly above that. If race fit, and if the trip can eke out a little bit of extra, then he must go very close in this race.

10pts win – De Vegas Kid @ 11/1 PP


8.45 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Probably a race between Envisaging, Blazed and Daschas. Daschas was tremendously backed the other day when dropping down to the minimum trip at Newcastle – he didn’t quite get there and while the additional furlong works in his favour, I think he showed to be in the grip of the handicapper having little to nothing in hand.

Envisaging is consistent and has form in the book that gives him a prime chance to run close once more. His overall strike rate leaves him vulnerable to an improver, though. This one should be Blazed.

Still relatively low mileage, he’s clearly a quirky character who makes a habit of missing the break. That is an issue that cost him a couple of races likely I firmly believe. It might be an issue here again.

However he remains open to a bit of improvement trying 6f again. He finished well last month under an easy hands and heels ride, clearly with another day in mind I felt.

He steps up in class and has to prove that he fully stays the trip. The pedigree gives plenty of hope. Kempton might suit him better as a track. A galloping course with a longer home straight gives him a better chance to run the field down.

Roger Charlton and Kieren Shoemark team up – a very profitable combination particularly in All-Weather Handicaps.

10pts win – Blazed @ 4/1 – Bet365