1 – Difficult to work out. Ignore last 3 runs as didn’t like Kempton and left in stalls, ignore listed race and last time hated 1st time blinkers. Never won off of a rating of 93 though and best rating achieved on all weather. In addition, looks more of a 6f horse. Nice draw though. Needs to drop a couple of pounds to win.
2 – Starts the season on lowest ever mark. Last 3 runs have been decent off 3lbs higher mark and never ran in a class 3 handicap in its life! Definitely handicapped to win but 3 major concerns. Poorly drawn, hates softish ground and usually needs 1st run of season.
3 – Starts the season far too high in the handicap, always needs first run of season and needs further than 5f to show his best. No chance of winning this particular race from a poor draw.
4 – Interesting horse. Started last 3 seasons at Beverley and always run well staying on very late over 5f. A definite 6f specialist who struggles to lay up over 5f but finishes well every time. Can win off this handicap mark at 6f but trainer seems to use the 5f track at Beverley to blow away the cobwebs every year. Can safely say that it will stay on very late and finish fast but winning post will be a bit too early. Maybe a back in running at huge odds?
5 – Definite 5f specialist who has improved remarkably from a rating of 49 to 86. Seems to like softish ground. Seems to be still improving but on highest ever handicap mark. However, ran 2 good races off this mark already and may still be some improvement to come. OK draw. Won easily 1st time out last year.
6 - 5f specialist who has never won off this high a mark. Dropped steadily in weights last season before end of season win. Never won a class 3 race and very poorly drawn in 1. Poor record first time out. First run for new yard but doesn’t look handicapped to win.
7 – Was a top class sprinter a couple of years back but been in decline last 2 seasons. Dropped like a stone in the handicap as a result but managed to win 2 claimers this season without coming off the bridle. A literal reading of its last run makes it a certainty in this but unlikely the horses in last race ran to their correct rating. Been 6 years since it ran off this sort of mark in a handicap. Handicapper raised it 2lbs for winning a claimer last time and if we take its 1st run this season literally, should be rated much lower. On the face of it, why would Nicholls run it in claimers this season if he thought it was well handicapped? I guess they were trying to get the handicapper to reduce its mark but this ploy hasn’t been too successful.
8 – Last win off 78, now off 83. Poor record 1st time out and not handicapped to win this. Difficult to fancy unless it has improved significantly over the winter.
9 – Beverley 5f specialist who seems to go on any ground. Great course record makes it interesting but seems far too high in handicap. Great draw but never looked like winning from this sort of mark in the past (even at Beverley!). Performs better in lower grade races carrying more weight and difficult to fancy it here.
10 – Never won off this sort of mark for 4 years. Looks far too high in handicap as a result of great run of results at backend of last season. Appalling record first time out and impossible to fancy. Not a great draw either.
11 – 5f specialist who likes give in the ground. Only 1lb higher than lowest handicap win, so definitely handicapped to win! Was 3rd in the Epsom dash last June off 90 and now off 81. Jumps off the page as a well handicapped horse but doesn’t win as often as it should. Starts the season on a winning mark but didn’t win last time off 1lb lower which was disappointing. Will be amazed if he doesn’t win a race this season off this sort of mark. Ok draw.
12 – 2lb lower than last winning mark and dropped 12lbs last season to winnable mark. Seems to like softish ground and seems best at 5f. Great draw. Sometimes front runs but depends how it leaves the stalls. Sometimes dwells badly. If hits the stalls running, can it make all? Interesting……
OK, so as usual, I’ll try to weed out the horses that can’t win as they are too badly handicapped. I usually get this bit correct most times and it sometimes throws up a nice horse to lay.
Horses which can’t win
1 – Not really handicapped to win and need to forget last 3 runs even though there were possible excuses. Needs 6f and unlikely to have the tactical pace to be up there to make use of good draw.
3 – Too high in handicap, needs 6f and will need run.
4 – Trainer seems to use 5f at Beverley to ‘tune up’ horse. Will win back over 6f though at some point!
6 – Too high in handicap and poor first time out, although trainer may improve it. Awful draw makes it difficult to win.
7 – Putting my neck on the line here but I can’t see this winning. If it does win, likely to win as it likes but a risky proposition in my book. Sprinters are the worst horses to judge in claimers as they can make the poor horses seem very poor! Why did it run in claimers if it was well handicapped?
8 – Not handicapped to win. Poor 1st time out also.
9 – Looks too high in handicap. Nice draw gives it a chance but lacks the class of some of these.
10 – Far too high in handicap. Will definitely need the run also.
Well, this may be a first for me but I’ve managed to eliminate 75% of the field quite easily! I think Fire Up The Band may make me look foolish but I struggle to believe that this is well handicapped as Nicholls would not have run it in claimers. Did he really think it had improved by 2lbs over the winter? No way…..
Now, I’ll try to look at the other 4 and find reasons not to back them. As I said previously, I tend to go wrong here but this is where the hard work starts!
2 – Handicapped to win for sure but combination of poor draw, soft ground and poor first time out record makes it a horse to watch in this race. A definite winner this season though!
11 – Again, this may make me look foolish as this is handicapped to win but overall balance of form means it disappoints more times than not. Last time was the time to back this but even then, it didn’t manage to win. For the simple reason that it likely to represent poor value, I’ll not back this one.
So, there you have it. I’m left with 2 horses against the field which I will back. These are 5 and 12. How’s She Cuttin and Luscivious.
5 appeared to be improving at an incredible rate last season and looked like it could win off this sort of mark. It’s not got a great draw, hasn’t run yet this season and punters will think it is handicapped to the hilt (which it is – but may be still improving!). I’ll look to back this at decent odds. A market move will be significant as the trainer is shrewd and will know if it is expected to win.
12 looks like a donkey on form figures which is appealing in itself! Ran in some very competitive 3 year olds handicaps last year which are always notoriously difficult to win. However, dropped a fair bit in the weights last season at the backend and the handicapper was very kind to drop it 1lb after it’s OK return. Had a 3lb claimer on last time and Catlin takes over. Drawn 12 and will be amazed if this doesn’t run well.
As usual, I haven’t thought too much about what odds I want for these 2 but I’ll see how Betfair looks later.
Right, on to the next race…….