1 – How the hell did this horse start the season off 65? A great piece of training in the 2nd half of last season!
Right, trainers take note. This is a 10f specialist who likes to get hit toe in. He was 4th in the Zetland Gold Cup last season at Redcar and then 2nd in a decent race at Pontefract off 85. He then ran 9 times over the wrong distance, 4 times on too firm ground and not once at its optimal distance and ground. Roll on a few months…….
Appears at Doncaster over 10f on softish ground off a rating of 65. It was dropped 20lbs at the backend of last season by the handicapper who was only doing his job I suppose. Horse is backed from 5s in the morning, opens at 3 on course and goes off at 9/4. Lady jockey doesn’t have a clue what she is doing and wins by 10 lengths. I can imagine Mr Easterby tearing his hair out as she was pushing the horse clear! 4th in the race was 20 lengths back and they finished strung out like a 3m chase.
Now, the horse reappears 5 days later in a weaker race carrying top weight with a 6lb penalty. This horse could win a decent prize off it’s revised mark no problem but trainer is afraid of what the handicapper may do to it, so is forced to pick up a lousy £2.5k prize in the meantime.
In my book, this horse is 14lbs well in even if we exclude his last win! Throw in the fact he spread-eagled a field by 10 lengths plus and it’s not easy to see that this is a penalty kick.
In case I stumble across any other potential winners, I’ll co through the rest of the field as I’d normally do.
2 – Starts the season very well handicapped but appears to be better at 12f plus.
3 – Looks too high in the handicap and needs to drop a few pounds.
4 – Actually looks well handicapped as appeared to be improving at the backend of last year. Capable of winning of this sort of mark this season no problem.
5 – Very badly handicapped and needs to drop a few pounds to even get competitive in the near future.
6 – OK handicapped but there will be other days for this one with the stable having the favourite. Will win at sometime this season no doubt (when it’s the likely fav!)
7 – Poorly handicapped and needs to drop a few pounds.
9 – Capable of winning off this mark and will run well. Not a great draw though and may need 12f to be at best.
10 – Needs a shorter trip and softer ground than he will face here.
11 – Doesn’t look well handicapped and seems to prefer softer ground. Struggles to find a trip.
12 – Actually looks on a winnable mark and may improve for last run which was first for 2 years.
13 – Ex Stoute horse who was rated 103! Now 55 and 10lbs lower than last run! Dropped 30lbs in 4 runs when last seen and did appear to improve for the step up to 9f. Interesting that it has been kept in training and Swinbank is pretty shrewd!
14 – Looks OK handicapped but needs longer trip.
Ok, without being Einstein, I can rule out a number of horses here. The ones that can’t win are 3,5,7,10,11.
The ones that are unlikely to win are 2 (needs longer trip), 6 (there will definitely be other days for this one), 13 (must be capable of finding a race but will need to be very well handicapped to win after 2 years off!), 14 (needs longer trip than today).
So, that leaves us with 1, 4, 9 and 12.
4 appears on the upgrade but is 4lbs higher than last win which means it needs to be improving fast.
9 looks OK handicapped but maybe needs a longer trip than this.
12 looks like it can win off this sort of mark but last run was first for 2 years and it may suffer from the ‘bounce’ factor.
In summary, it is difficult to get away from 1 as I can’t find any negatives about the horse. Amazingly, if you ignore the races as a 3 year old, the horse has only ever won in the months of April and May. This must be a dream horse to get well handicapped every year as it seems to run well below par from the summer onwards. Hence, the ideal time to catch the horse is now. Once it’s won a few races, it will continue to run all year and get itself well handicapped for the start of the next campaign. A handicapper’s nightmare and a trainer’s dream!
I would be looking to generate a riskfree return on Blue Spinnaker through trading. In addition, I would lay Blue Spinnaker in the place market at very prohibitive odds as if the horse runs anywhere near to form, it must win. I expect this to be a very warm favourite. However, if it runs below form, it would be a good lay.