14th October 2016
Good afternoon, friends,
In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….
Our target this week is the race that closes the card at Ascot’s Champions Day meeting tomorrow afternoon – the Balmoral Handicap (4.25)….
It’s a typical big-field Ascot affair contested up the straight mile. A field of 23 is set to go to post on ground currently described as good.
This will be just the third running of the race – which means there’s no reliable dataset we can depend on for pointers. We must simply take the race on its own terms.
Roger Varian’s lightly-raced and highly regarded Morando heads the market this afternoon at a general 7s. Fair enough.
He’s looked impressive running up a sequence of 3 wins across the summer – but this is a significant step-up in terms of class, race-value and opposition. And with just 4 runs on his record to date, he lacks the big-field handicap seasoning his more battle-hardened opposition possess. This race will be like nothing he’s experienced before.
Horses lacking experience can and do win these races. Morando could well live up to the price and win this race tomorrow. But I wouldn’t want to be backing him at a single-figure price to do so.
This column – as long-term readers will know – is all about big-field handicap bets at a price. I’m more interested in runners a lot further down the list – potentially competitive runners the market is over-looking or under-estimating.
We’ll get to my selection for the race in a moment. First, a quick word on other races of betting interest on tomorrow’s Ascot card….
Value-hunting in three G1 races at Ascot tomorrow….
Over on my paid Against the Crowd service this afternoon we target the prices in three of the five G1 races on tomorrow’s Champions Day meeting at Ascot….
If you’re looking for a couple more bets for tomorrow afternoon you can access those picks free of charge right now by taking a FREE test-drive of my Against the Crowd service….
In an interview given earlier this week Oisin Murphy indicated that it was a strong possibility he’d be riding HERE COMES WHEN for Andrew Balding in tomorrow afternoon’s race.
That would have been the expectation – of Murphy and of punters. Murphy does a lot of riding for the Balding yard and has ridden the horse before.
So it’s an interesting development that Balding has instead booked Jamie Spencer for the ride – a rider who hasn’t ridden the horse in a race since 2012 when the horse was a juvenile.
Have Murphy and Balding managed to fall out over the last few days? I don’t think so. My take is that Balding wanted to secure the best possible pilot for tomorrow afternoon’s assignment – and in a big handicap up the Ascot straight there are few better pilots in the business than Spencer.
He’s already won three big handicaps up the Berkshire strip this term. And I doubt he’d have been short of options for tomorrow’s race. The fact he’s taken this ride suggests a big run is anticipated.
Last summer the 6yo was a standing dish in the big Group races over a mile. He appeared in three G1s and ran 4th in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. At G1 he was probably a little out of his depth but he was no handicapper and at his peak last July he was officially rated 116.
He goes into tomorrow’s race rated 105 after a series of disappointing efforts this term. But last time out at Bath, in a small-field C3 conditions race, Here Comes When won for the first time in 2-years.
It wasn’t a blow-you-away performance by any stretch of the imagination. But it was a step forward. He showed something – travelling sweetly enough and doing what he had to do within his comfort zone. That race will have served to sharpen his fitness level and boost his confidence. He arrives tomorrow in better shape than he’s been in all summer.
The booking of Spencer is the key driver behind this bet. But the horse is potentially very well treated on the best of his form. If rider and horse spark one another tomorrow, then the 6yo can run a big race at a big price.
I’ll backing HERE COMES WHEN each-way at the general 25s.
The ATC Extra bet recap….
Remember, we don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with….
Note: The standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4. None of the firms have yet gone up with Enhanced Place Terms but one or two might well do so later today or tomorrow morning. You might want to wait for the better terms before striking your bet. Your call…
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.