10th November 2017
We head to Doncaster for this weekend’s target race – the November Handicap….
This class 2 event for horses aged 3yo+ over the 12f trip is the last big handicap of the 2017 flat season. Winning connections waltz off with £43k. After this, it is jumps all the way through to the spring….
A field of 23-runners goes to post on ground described this morning as soft.
The 3yos get 5lb off the older horses and that group has produced its fair share of wins down the years. Ten of the last 15 winners were aged 3 or 4. Just two aged older than 5 have won the race over that same period.
Just two winners over the last 15 years have defied a three-figure official rating….
The market often pounces on one of the 3yos for this race and this year is no exception. John Gosden’s Royal Line – one of two 3yos in tomorrow’s contest – heads the betting at 6s.
Gosden has a decent-enough record in this race – his last 8 runners produced 2 wins and a place. And the time before last, Royal Line looked hugely progressive when landing a handicap at the first attempt at Haydock off a mark of 88 – and doing it on heavy ground.
The handicapper put him up 8lb for that. He didn’t manage to back-up next time when sent off favourite in a 3-runner conditions race at Newbury. But the winner had more experience and outfought him when push came to shove.
Experience might be the issue with Royal Line tomorrow. He’s only raced 3 times. He’s never seen a field this big or a pace as fast as tomorrow’s race will deliver. How he reacts to being surrounded by experienced and mature horses for the first time – all moving at speed – is an unknown.
It might be the making of him. But at 6s in a 23-runner field, I am more than happy to look elsewhere and take him on.
We’ll get to my selections for tomorrow’s race in a moment. First, a word on tomorrow’s big target race at Wincanton….
The Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton provides a solid target tomorrow for value-seekers….
Conditions are likely to be testing and I don’t much fancy the favourite. All his good performances have been registered on a sounder surface than he’ll get tomorrow….
I’m siding with a horse open to loads of progression – one that will be getting the ground ne needs to excel….
You can get immediate access to this extra bet on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
Iain Jardine’s SEPAL has had a cracking 2017. She’s risen up the weights to the tune of 29lbs since mid-August – thanks to a sequence of 4 wins on the bounce registered between August 14th and September 9th.
At the end of September, she was only beaten a length in her bid to extend that winning sequence to five at Haydock off a mark of 90.
Next time on 18th October at Nottingham she was beaten fair and square but did herself no favors that day by racing too freely.
I think the market view is that the Nottingham defeat served to illustrate that the handicapper finally has Sepal in his grasp on a mark of 91. But I’m not so sure….
Sepal was probably entitled to throw in a below par effort at some point. And she had done a lot of racing across the summer. She might just have needed a bit of a break.
She’s had that (a 24-day break is the longest she’s had this summer) ahead of tomorrow’s assignment – a race connections were talking about targeting as early as September. The respite might just have freshened her up a little. And she gets her ground….
Most of her best work this term has been done on heavy. It might not be quite that bad at Doncaster tomorrow. But it is soft today and with rain forecast overnight, conditions will suit Sepal and her attributes more than they will some of her better-fancied opponents.
At 25s I think the 4yo filly is a big price – and she represents an each-way bet for my money.
In tomorrow’s November Handicap (Doncaster, 3.15)….
SEPAL @ 25s (Generally)
Standard place terms are ¼ the odds 1-2-3-4. I’ll be going in each-way.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.