Finding a horse ahead of its current rating, a handicap blot, is one of the keys to backing winners in handicap company, particularly on a highly competitive day on ITV Racing. Luckily for you, we have tips for all Saturday’s Horse Racing to help you out, as well as Free Bets & Offers.
Whether that be a Sir Mark Prescott handicap debutant stepping up in trip in lowly grades or the proverbial “Group horse in a handicap”, they come in many forms and are the key to successful punting.
A recent fine example is Sea Of Faith, widely touted for the Oaks earlier this season after a highly promising debut, who won easily off a mark of 95 at Salisbury on Thursday, a lowly rating for one who still holds an entry in the Arc.
Identifying them is of course easier said than done, as it relies on a great deal of speculation and an assumption that one knows the handicapper’s job better than themselves.
Nevertheless, god loves a trier and if there’s no room for speculation and wild theorising in this sport of ours, then where is there?
Here are three runners on Saturday who, on the face of things, appear to have been underestimated by the assessor.
It was Khaadem’s Stewards’ Cup demolition job earlier this month that provides the greatest example of the aforementioned Group horse masquerading as a handicapper this season, and it is from his Listed win at Newbury that comes Roger Teal’s Oxted, who runs in the 3.55 at Newmarket.
A half-length second to the aforementioned Khaadem there, who has since hacked up off a mark of 107 at Goowood, Oxted was ahead of subsequent Jersey winner Space Traveller there, who’s now rated 113.
Roger Teal’s three year old has failed to build on that run in two starts since, although they’ve come in competitive races on ground softer than ideal.
Prominent until the closing stages in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury subsequently, finishing a respectable sixth ahead of the The Tin Man, and again unsuited by slow ground behind the useful looking Tabdeed at Doncaster last time, a return to good ground is a must.
He has to have a shout if the rain stays away from Newmarket, running from a mark of 102 with the excellent Cieren Fallon taking five off his back.
Simon Crisford’s three year old Double Kodiac runs in the 2.50 at Doncaster. He scored on debut in France in July 2018, ahead of four subsequent winners, the second a close fifth in a Group One later on last season.
Further progression was hard to come by as a juvenile, although he evidently matured over the winter having been gelded, returning to action at Newmarket with a close second to Fox Champion.
That rival has since won a German Group Two and placed in the Prix de Jean Prat behind Too Darn Hot in July. Rated 109, only beating Double Kodiac by just over a length, it is remarkable that the latter starts life in handicap company from a mark of 85!
The Great St. Wilfrid Handicap is a fiendishly difficult sprint handicap, in which we favour Richenza. Ralph Beckett’s filly has a great chance, a close third in a Listed race last time. She was pushed up three pounds for that effort, so doesn’t quite fit the bill here though.
One who does is the three year old colt Vintage Brut, who posted an RPR of 111 in October when hacking up on soft ground at York in Listed company. He makes his belated handicap debut from a mark of 102 and has to be of interest.
2019 hasn’t entirely gone to plan, although he was far from disgraced in fourth at Haydock in May when little over a length behind the 109 rated Emblazoned. Excuses can be made for his next three runs, out-stayed over seven furlongs twice since before failing to make use of the inside draw at Chester last time.
Never able to threaten on that occasion having been hemmed in on the rail, he will appreciate the return to a straight track, particularly under the guidance of David Allan who has ridden the second most winners here this season and won this in 2017.
In first time blinkers and on his preferred soft ground, facing a field of more exposed runners, he can out-run his odds for Tim Easterby who like Allan excels at the Yorkshire venue.
For those feeling brave, the treble can be backed at just over 415/1, best priced at time of writing.
With some high class action coming from York next week, stay tuned for more handicap blots, including those that fit the bill in the Ebor next Saturday. In the meantime, be sure to make use of our tips for Saturday’s ITV Racing.