The release of the handicap weights for the Cheltenham Festival this week have thrown up some major controversy and rightly so. As an Irishman, I probably will sound biased but it seems to me that the British handicapper is doing his best to stop Irish horses winning this year. Horses should be handicapped on their ability which doesn’t seem to be the case this year, and Irish horses this year just seem to be thrown into an ‘Ahhhhh, I’ll get you this year” bundle by the British capper.
It boggles the mind how My Mate Mozzie, who has been given a mark of 146, can have the same mark as Good Time Jonny. The latter won a pair of handicaps recently yet the former was only beaten half a length in a Grade 1 and was one of the market leaders for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle earlier in the season. On top of this, anything that finished remotely close to Good Time Jonny of late has also been put up far too much by the handicapper.
Now I could go on all day about the British handicapper, but there are one or two exceptions. Sire Du Berlais backers will be licking their lips as the handicapper has been rather fair on him. However, one horse in particular has Gordon Elliott chomping at the bit.
Death Duty somehow has been dropped 1lb by the British handicapper, despite bolting up at Punchestown last month. Elliott was quoted saying: “”Looking at it quickly, the best handicapped of mine is Death Duty in the Ultima. Everything else seems to have 4-6lb more, but I understand the handicapper has his job to do.”
Currently a 9-1 chance with William Hill and that is the best price about, Death Duty could go off shorter on the day. The dual Grade 1 winner had been threatening to come back to form and he did just that at the right time at Punchestown. If he turns up in the same sort of form, then everything else will have to watch out.
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