Dubai Duty Free handicap preview
With the uncertainty around the Ayr fixture this weekend, our free race preview focuses on the Dubai Duty Free Handicap taking place at Newbury on Saturday, ran over 1m2f on ground that looks to be on the good side.
There have been a varying type of horse that has taken this race, with only a few key figures sticking out to me in terms of race trends:
Only 1 of 10 winners has carried more than 9st1lb.
No winner in the past 10 years has been older than 5, with most being aged 3 or 4.
7 of the last 10 winners finished in the top 2 places on their last start.
Despite large fields, 7 of the last 10 winners’ SP were single figures.
Luca Cumani has won the race 3 times in the past 10 years.
These combined help us to understand that we are looking to identify a young (3 or 4) progressive horse that are on the upgrade, running off a relatively low weight.
This years renewal I must admit isn’t of the highest quality. The betting is headed by three horses rated in the 100’s – Fidaawy, Banksea and Eddystone Rock. Fidaawy won well at York, travelling the best in the race and holding off the challengers. He was very well positioned by Jim Crowley but the step back to 1m2f must be concern, as would his ability to win this off a mark of 103.
Banksea is an interesting horse, given Luca Cumani’s record in the race. He won the Spring Cup at Newbury which has such strong formlines to follow, but he has struggled twice off his new mark of 104.
Eddystone Rock was probably the unluckiest horse in training as he continued to find his runs being shut on him throughout the year until he finally scored at York over this trip. He beat a decent field and considering his tricky profile and the fact he would never win by far, he could overcome a 5lb penalty.
Brorocco still looks feasibly handicaps and ticks plenty of boxes. He runs off a low weight, has form in big fields and ran a very interesting race last time out at York behind Eddystone Rock. He found multiple pieces of trouble throughout the race and I’m sure if he had a clearer run he would have finished closer. His form on his penultimate run behind Godolphin’s Game Starter looks very strong as he looks on his way to Group company. This Andrew Balding horse is closely related to Elm Park and I think this sort of race will suit him perfectly. He looks a big price.
We haven’t considered the 3 year olds. Teodoro has won three on the bounce for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote and he is very much fitting the profile of an in form progressive animal. The form looks good (also lines with Game Starter) but he won’t be able to dominate as he has on his last three starts. Godolphin are represented by Leshlaa who finished 5th in the Britannia who would have to put in a mighty performance to overcome 9st9lb.
Al Neksh is very interesting. He was an excellent 2nd on his first start as a 4 year old at York in testing conditions off this mark behind Master Carpenter. He then broke a blood vessel next time out. He came back finishing 4th at York in the race won by Fidaawy where he travelled very well considering he was coming off the back of a small layoff and perhaps the trip just didn’t suit. Back to 10f last time the race wasn’t ran to suit as he had to make the running, and back in a race like this could bring out the best in him. Haggas has a SR of 22% when using cheekpieces for the first time and they are added here, although his sire’s progeny is only 1 from 28 in them for the first time.
It is a very tight race, with not many looking like they are massively ahead of their marks, but at the prices Brorocco and Al Neksh appeal and could be worth each way investment.
Brorocco 12/1 widely available
Al Neksh 14/1 widely available
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