Tag Archives: Handicap

Fields Of Athenry can prove his class in Ebor

Aiden O'brien

3.45 York: Ebor Handicap, 1m 6f

The competitiveness of this race is obvious, so is the almighty task which Fields Of Athenry faces. The 3 year old colt has to defy a handicap mark as high as none before has won from in a British Handicap from. In addition he has been allocated the widest possible draw. A big negative for a front-runner.

For all those reasons Fields Of Athenry has drifted from 6/1 out to 11/1 over the last couple of days. This price is too big in my book, though, and I become quite interested in this smart Leger contender. Why? It’s easy to see why. He is lightly raced, has potentially more improvement left in him, and despite a high mark, profits from the weight for age allowance as well as enjoys a handy 5lb claim from talented Donnacha O’Brien in the saddle.

One could have only have been impressed with his last two wins in Listed and Group 3 company. This lad has no problem to stay the distance and is one of the rare talent who can actually quicken from the front. He did this most impressively in the Listed Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown last month. More is required here today, it’s a much stronger field, but rated at 119, he is the class act.

He will have to be a genuine Leger contender if he wants to overcome his big mark today – I feel he has a good chance to do that. The wide draw is a problem, but he can be able to get across soon and track the pace. At 11/1 I’m rather with him than against him.

Fields Of Athenry @ 11/1 Stan James – 5pts Win

Wednesday Selections – Ffos Las


3.55 Ffos Las: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

This is a good opportunity for Cruise Tothelimit to score. He goes well on rain softened ground and has been in fine form this year. A strong runner-up in a class 2 Chester Handicap earlier this season is clearly the top form on offer here. He drops down to a very handy mark and has an excellent 3lb claimer in the saddle. A bold bid is expected.

Cruise Tothelimit @ 7/1 Betfred – 5pts Win


5.40 Ffos Las: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

If Poyle Jessica acts on the heavy ground, she must have a prime chance here, but I feel Port Lairge is certainly overpriced. This gelding has been nothing else but improving on turf this year, predominantly at Brighton. He clearly thrives on soft ground as he proved in the past and doesn’t mind heavy going either. He has a habit of starting slowly and that certainly didn’t help him the last time when he finished runner-up behind a progressive 80 rated animal. No such horse in this race – he’ll go close and is overpriced in the context of the race.

Port Lairge @ 15/2 Bet365 – 5pts Win

Saturday Selections: Michael’s Missile can score


7.10 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Very hard to oppose Michael’s Missile who has found an excellent opportunity to score. He won here over course and distance last month, a form that works out extremely well, and he wasn’t disgraced subsequently in a big Handicap at Naas where he had not the best of starts and made a bit too much too early.

Back in the UK, he’s not here for a good day out, but to win. This field is poor and uncompetitive – he has every chance to win of his revised mark.

Michael’s Missile @ 2/1 Sportingbet – 10pts Win

Thursday Selections: Virile could be well in


20.15 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

This a poor affair as you would expect in this class but it is noteworthy that Mr. Donohoe brings a horse over from Ireland for this race. He has a history doing so and has been rather successful in recent years, so one would think there is a reason why Virile is going to post at Newcastle tonight.

The four year old gelding has been racing on the UK All-Weather a couple of times earlier in his career, with career best achieved at Wolverhampton when 2nd in a decent maiden behind a good winner. Since then he has been seen largely in Ireland but wasn’t up to his marks.

However he looked far more into in his last two starts when he travelled notably well for a long time. He has been dropped to a career lowest mark nonetheless and will have the additional benefit of the 7lb claim of an apprentice in the saddle. I believe he could be seriously well handicapped in this field today for this reason.

Virile @ 8/1 Coral – 5pts Win

Monday Selections: Mass can Rally home


2.30 Nottingham: Class 5 Nursery, 1m

Money is floating in for Harlequin Rock and it’s easy to see why. This Rock Of Gibraltar son hasn’t shown anything in three maidens but will be very suited by the step up to 1m on his nursery debut. He gets into this race off a very low opening which may underestimate his potential.

First time gelded, which works well for sons of ROG, he is from a mediocre family, although his dam has produced horses that who have been competitive off mid-60 marks. Here’s a fair chance that Harlequin Rock is underestimated in this field.

Harlequin Rock @ 8/1 Betfred – 5pts Win


3.45 Ripon: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

A couple of these have a big shout but at the given prices veteran Mass Rally makes appeal. He’s slipping down to a realistic mark, in fact hasn’t been racing of such a lowly mark since 2012 when he won the Ayr Silver Cup off 94.

He is still competitive as he proved at York earlier this year. He has to bounce back today after a dismal run at Hamilton, but now down to a mark off 95 as well as dropping in class, he should be very competitive with softish conditions to suit.

Mass Rally @ 8/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win


4.25 Naas: Conditions Race, 7f

Not too many make appeal, but Weld’s Katimavik could be well in here. He was an impressive scorer at Fairyhouse over seven furlongs last year, after which his trainer said this lad needs better ground. He was disappointing on his seasonal reappearance but made amends subsequently in a three-runner handicap when hanging tough against a mid-90 rated individual.

On that evidence the drop in trip should suit. Katimavik still had only four career starts and with trip & ground to suit he could be a good ten pounds better than his current rating which would give him a prime chance in this field.

Katimavik @ 5/1 Betfred – 5pts Win  

(Edit: Katimavik is a non-runner)

Pat Harkin Has The Right Tools To Get Off The Mark


8.25 Fairyhouse: Handicap (47-75), 1m 2f

A rather open and competitive looking affair, with plenty of form closely matched. Nonetheless the two lto winners make plenty of appeal. The penny has finally dropped for Lake Champlain when he scored at Down Royal 11 days ago. Only 3lb higher today, he remains of interest.

Same applies to Social Climber, who went agonisingly close at Leopardstown before blinkers helped him to focus when it really matters as he followed on to win his first race at Gowran Park.

He is closely matched on his Leopardstown form with Pat Harkin and Alcock And Brown who finished not far behind in fourth and fifth. These two meet Social Climber on 9lb and 6lb better terms today, which may swing things in their favour. 

Alcock And Brown raced wide and lost ground in the home turn, yet finished strongly. A more ground saving ride and the better weights should see him going close today.

But Pat Harkin seems the better prospect. He hit the crossbar a couple of times but is improving all the time. He’s clearly bred to get the trip and has the weights in his favour today. He’s 9lb better off with the favourite and 3lb etter off with AAB. He seems the best handicapped horse in this field.

Pat Harkin @ 9/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Bolger Colt Algonquin Well In On Handicap Debut

2000 Guineas Field going to post

8.00 Curragh: Handicap (60-100), 1m 2f

With top weight Royal Navy Ship out, this race takes a different shape. Nonetheless it doesn’t change much in terms of my initial feeling, that Bolger’s grey colt Algonquin is overpriced.

I would expect him to be ready and fit for his seasonal debut, and if he is he’ll take all the beating in a mediocre field. Given that his Dundalk maiden win works out very strongly, he could be well handicapped with an opening mark off 87. That assumes he takes another step forward with the 10f trip very much to suit this extremely well bred colt.

Main danger could be Pullman Brown who finished 2nd in a very competitive Handicap over course and distance recently. He’s to overcome a rather hefty rise in the mark though.

Algonquin @ 5/1 Boylesports – 5pts Win