Tag Archives: November Handicap

Saturday Selections: November, 10th 2018

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3.15 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f

The November Handicap, one final big one in the soon to be closed chapter that was the 2018 flat season.

It feels like nearly everything Charlie Appleby touches turns to gold these days. Can he wrap up this superb week for him with a success here? I certainly think so! His inmate Wolf Country comes here relatively fresh compared to most others after a recent pleasing return to the track.

That was last month at Goodwood in a competitive race – the form has already started to work out well. Wolf Country was a fine runner-up, leading for most parts of the race. It has to be said he was advantaged by the fact that a he wasn’t hampered by a fallen horse behind him. Most of the field was. So the performance is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Still, he travelled well, set a good pace and looked comfortable in atrocious conditions, leaving his only other UK start in 2018 well behind, when he last of 15 at Newmarket in May.

His only other piece of form this year came at Meydan. A fine 4th place finish in a pretty strong handicap – he was leading until 300m out against Group class performers.

Things haven’t quite gone the way conditions would surely have hoped for Wolf Country. A Listed winner at three, a creditable and not far beaten 5th in the Dante – he is a talented lad and since being gelded those two of three runs have been very promising.

A mark off 98 gives him a fair chance here today – he could be a better than that. The soft ground conditions are certainly a positive. The wide draw not necessarily for a front-runner. Regardless, I have him down as the favourite here if he can improve from his recent comeback run.

Selection:
10pts win – Wolf Country @ 8.8/1 MB

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Saturday Selections: 2017 November Handicap

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2.40 Doncaster: Gillies Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 1m 2f

The favourite, albeit most likely with the best form in the book, looks a reasonably short price compared to Time Chaser, currently trading as the second fav.

Both fillies remain lightly raced with potential upside, however I feel Time Chaser has more upside and is a better price at the same time.

She is a full-sister to the very smart Time Test, so taking that as an indicator, there is a good chance Time Chaser might still do a bit better than her current official rating of 91 suggests.

She won three on the bounce from debuting in April until stepping up into a class 2 Handicap in September at Haydock, after producing two fine performances to win at Sandown, over a mile and ten furlongs on fast to soft ground respectively.

Beaten in third a long way the last time in heavy conditions, I feel there are valid excused for this slightly disappointing showing. Time Chaser certainly did not receive an overly smart ride that day.

She probably did a bit too much right after the start and also in the middle part of the race, while racing wide without cover all the way. That is a deadly combination in heavy conditions. The impressive winner, in comparison, was tucked away at the end of the field until he made his winning move.

A decent draw and champion jockey Jim Crowley on board may help to see her ridden a bit more intelligently. It’s soft ground again. She probably likes it a bit better but has proven to act on it.

A step up to listed level seems fair judged on what she has done so far. She is not out of her depth here.

Selection:
10pts win – Time Chaser @ 7/2 Bet365

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3.15 Doncaster: November Handicap, 1m 4f

A full 23 runner strong field. It couldn’t be any more competitive. Nonetheless I feel bottom weight Al Destoor is a bit overpriced. True, he’s never won over 12f and his pedigree does not necessarily says he should, but he’s still been placed twice in three tries over the trip and has shown excellent form in softish conditions over trips up to 1m 2.5f.

Al Destoor also is an incredibly consistent animal. He rarely runs a bad race. So given the trip is not totally out of his reach, he loves the ground conditions and has a feather weight on his back, I think it is not out of this world to see him going close.

The 7 year old didn’t have a too hard season either and looked still in fine shape when runner-up at Chester back in September. The aid of excellent Franny Norton in the saddle is a bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Al Destoor @ 25/1 Skybet