The November Handicap
The November Handicap is due to be run this weekend and officially marks the end of the flat season. It is as always a competitive event with many soft ground specialists kept back with this race in mind. A strong field of 23 are set to start with the market headed by the unexposed 3 year old Royal Line which is where we will start this analysis.
Royal Line – (Rated 96) form – 113
Trainer: JHM Gosden Jockey: W Buick
Lost his unbeaten record last time out in a tactical 3 runner race. That run showed he is beatable and the fact he was beaten by a horse rated 89 does make his mark of 96 in here look tough. He’s unexposed and could be anything but I’d rather oppose given his price and profile in a race of this nature.
Dance The Dream – (Rated 101) form – 3621
Trainer: M P Tregoning Jockey: Tyler Saunders (claims 7lb)
An interesting runner for a yard I respect. Would have solid claims but for a tricky draw in stall 23, he likes to be ridden handy so the draw really is a big issue. He has a progressive profile and had the right horses behind last time out however I will overlook him today on the basis that his draw is less than ideal.
Saunter – (Rated 95) form – 7482
Trainer: Ian Williams Jockey: Jim Crowley
Very interesting horse who has Jim Crowley booked. Crowley in these big field handicaps is a fantastic jockey to have on side and the fact Ian Williams has booked him must be noted. He ran a big race last time out and the form is working out well, holds strong claims and the draw has been kind. Cut underfoot is fine and it all points towards a big run for this in form yard.
Towerlands Park – (Rated 92) form – 041/1-3
Trainer: MLW Bell Jockey: David Probert
This horse holds some fond memories after he landed a massive punt at Kempton back in December. It is somewhat amazing that we have only seen him once since which came with a 3rd placed finish at Newbury a few weeks back. That was a good run and confirmed despite his issues that he still retains all of his ability. I get the impression this race has been the plan for some time and he could prove to be well handicapped of his current mark. He’s leniently priced, has a good draw and goes well with cut underfoot.
Syphax – (Rated 98) form – 27872
Trainer: KA Ryan Jockey: Kevin Stott
Returned to some form last time out when finishing 2nd in a hot race at York. He wore first time cheek-pieces that day which for some reason have now been discarded. He seemed to be tiring late on that day so this step up in trip looks a bizarre move. Godolphin had the winner of this race last year however I just can’t see this horse winning tomorrow.
Top Tug – (Rated 106) form – 21402
Trainer: A King Jockey: M Dwyer
Returned to form last time out and is well weighted to reverse the form with Dance the Dream. My main issue is the ground, I’m not convinced he wants it soft and tomorrow’s conditions do worry me. He has the draw in his favour at least and has had the perfect prep for this race. I am happy to avoid him tomorrow given my ground concerns.
Others to note:
Mintotaur is worth a mention, he ran well two starts back but then flopped last time out. He was sent of the hot favourite that day but it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a horse sent of a hot favourite for these connections flop before running a blinder next time out. Wild Hacked ran well last time out and is still relatively unexposed in this sphere, not convinced he wants it too soft though I guess time will tell. Also worth a mention is Euchen Glen who drops back in trip after a disappointing effort in the Cesarewitch. Ground and trip will suit however he has had a long season.
How we bet:
This is a tricky race and often throws up a surprise therefore I am quite happy to keep the stakes small and the betting limited. Saunter and Towerlands Park make plenty of appeal however it is the later I am going to side with because he looks plotted for it and the promise shown on his last start was very eye-catching.
Towerlands Park – 0.5pts E/W 8-1 available at Betfair – 6 places