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Friday 24th May 2024

Saturday Sizzler: Well Handicapped Roger Teal Runner Ready To Strike

Friday Freebie

Last week I thought Majestic was extremely likely to place (at least) in the 10f handicap at York but he finished a disappointing 8th. Whilst he didn’t have any obvious excuses, I’m 99% sure he didn’t give his full running as he was beaten just a length in the same race last year, off a 1lb higher mark, and the winner aside, this year’s contest didn’t look strong (going off the placed horses).

Majestic will likely bounce back to form next time (assuming fast ground) but he’s finding it difficult to get his head in front so doesn’t really appeal as one to follow. He goes particularly well at Newmarket though and might pick up a race there this year.

I definitely thought Botanical was well handicapped going into that race but the more the ground dried out on the day, the more I was against him. He turned the race into a bit of a procession and to do that on fastish ground shows that he’s definitely improved over the winter. He looks group class.

This Week’s Race

Nothing strongly took my fancy on Friday, with my main horse of interest probably likely to find drying ground against him, so I’ll be concentrating on Saturday’s handicaps for this week’s column.

There are plenty of good races to choose from but the main battle at this stage might be predicting the going. Wednesday’s rain has left many courses on the soft side but a couple of drying days can soon improve conditions, but by how much?

My bet of the day runs in the 5.35 at Windsor on Saturday and the horse in question is one I’ve been very much looking forward to for the best part of a month so I’m very much expecting a big run.

Windsor Pointers

Windsor is a slightly quirky course and certainly isn’t one of my favourite venues to bet at - it definitely throws up its fair share of course specialists.

This race will be run over their 6f course, which tends to be the distance they run most of their best races at. This sprint distance favours speed with front runners doing particularly well and hold up merchants often needing plenty of luck in running as the runners tend to bunch up on the near side rail.

In terms of the draw, with the runners gathering near side it makes sense that a low draw is advantageous. The data tells a different story though with higher draws outperforming the middle and the middle outperforming the low draws. The bias isn’t significant, but it is there. High drawn front runners far outperform expectations.

Whenthedealinsdone Looks Very Well Handicapped

Around 6 weeks ago I tipped Gulliver in an each way bet at Southwell. He could only run on into 3rd in that race but he won by 2.25 lengths next time out. He wasn’t the only one to come out of that race and win easily next time out, the winner, Many A Star, also won by over 2 lengths on his next start.

The 5th home in that Southwell race was Sacred Falls and that horse won cosily this week whilst the 4th, Westmorian, has finished 2nd since on the wrong ground.

That was clearly a strong race for the grade, especially with the 1st and 3rd both winning easily next time, so Whenthedealinsdone has to be of great interest having finished 2nd in that race and having gone up just 1lb for that effort.

In fact his overall profile suggests he’s very well handicapped. He’s still only 6 so shouldn’t be particularly regressive but he’s dropped from a mark of 100 as a 4yo to a mark of just 76 now. That’s because he was completely out of form throughout 2023, running okay on his first few starts before barely beating a rival in his next six runs.

That run of form led to the horse receiving a wind op in November before having a couple of months off the track. He again didn’t beat a rival on his reappearance at Lingfield but he improved for that run on his next start (always needs his first run back), finishing an eyecatching 3rd back at Lingfield in a race where he didn’t get the run of the race at all. The runner up went close on his next start and the 4th has won a couple of times since so that was a very decent effort. His only run since then was the 2nd in the hot Southwell handicap that has already been mentioned.

In terms of ground conditions here, at the time of writing it is good to soft but after a couple of drying days it will probably be just about on the fast side of good. That’s fine as this horse has won twice on good to soft, once on good and once on good to firm. Most of his best placed efforts have come on good to firm so it seems he’s good on anything except soft ground.

He’s yet to win a handicap over further than 5f but his last two runs have both been excellent efforts over this trip of 6f so stamina shouldn’t be an issue, especially on this tighter track.

One other important factor to consider here is headgear. All three of his handicap wins have come with cheekpieces on but that headgear has been left off for all three runs this year so far. The cheekpieces go back on here which will likely sharpen him up a little and that definitely seems a positive.

As mentioned earlier, higher drawn horses do seem to do best here and Whenthedealinsdone is drawn in stall 2 which could be considered a negative, but the draw bias isn’t massive so hopefully that will be fine. It does mean he’ll be a slight hostage to fortune on the rail but the jockey can negate that slightly by tracking the pace and not giving himself too much to do. He has been held up on occasions in the past but he was ridden prominently last time out and was settled just off the lead for several of his wins so hopefully those are the tactics of choice here, especially on a track where you don’t want to be too far back.

On the subject of the suitability of the course to the horse, he has run here three times previously, producing form figures of 312. Only one horse has beaten him here on decent ground and he finished runner up here off a 17lb higher mark just 12 months ago, even when his form looked to be tailing off somewhat.

Main Dangers

There is no market at the time of writing so I’m not sure how the odds compilers will see this but  Vince Lombardi could be a danger to all if tuned up for his seasonal debut, which is his first start for new connections. He was in good form last summer but missed the second half of the season, presumably due to injury. That does slightly decrease the chances of him being ready first time out but the Kubler runners have generally been running to form after a break so far this season.

He was ‘only’ 5th on his last start last June but that race has worked out brilliantly so he could yet rate a fair bit higher.

Coup De Force is a horse that has been on my tracker for over 12 months and despite winning since, she still looks feasibly handicapped based on her seasonal reappearance here a couple of weeks ago. Judging by the horses that finished 1st and 2nd, that was a good race and Coup De Force was only beaten 0.75 lengths. This represents a drop in class and 6f on good ground, around a sharp track, is probably ideal for her, for all her last three wins have come at the minimum trip. She’s run several good course and distance races in defeat and should be more or less ideally positioned with a prominent ride from stall 9.

Antiphon has run some less than good races this season but he’s always worthy of interest around here. He won here, over 5f, a month ago and his overall course form figures are 11423221. He was only beaten by a course specialist here last August over the 6f and that run came off a 2lb higher mark so it’s not difficult to envisage another big run, especially as he’s likely to make the running from stall 11. His chance could be slightly compromised though if Umming N Ahing also goes forward from stall 10.

On Edge is in excellent form and has finished runner up in two starts here this season. The first of those was over this trip on fast ground and the most recent effort, beaten just a short head, came over 5f on heavy ground so he’s very versatile. His handicap form figures here now read 4122 and his last run over this trip has worked out okay. He is now on a career high mark, up in grade, so could find winning this tough but he’s entitled to run very well here again.

Quick Mentions

It’s not worth going through a few of these as they are hard to fancy as they are either out of form or out of their depth (both in some cases) but there are a couple of others worth mentioning.

Coco Bear was a winner for the service a couple of times last Spring but he needs really soft ground to be seen to best effect, which he won’t get here. It would be no surprise to see him withdrawn but he’s worth keeping an eye on when he runs on heavy ground as he’s already 2lbs below his last winning mark.

Crazy Luck is another who my members will be familiar with. We’ve backed her loads of times, without much success, and then she went and won easily last time at 10/1, beating my recommended bet into 2nd!

The key to Crazy Luck is a flat course and whilst she’s run some okay races at Windsor, she’s failed to win here in eight runs. She did win on fast ground last time but that was probably because she was just so well handicapped and it would be a surprise if she can repeat that here off a 5lb higher mark, for all she’s still well handicapped on her best form. She can win again in softer conditions on a flat track before long.


Antiphon is probably the safest bet in this race as he loves it here, is well enough handicapped and should be out of any trouble with his excellent draw and run style combo. He didn’t run brilliantly at Ascot last time out so should be a fair price here (in what is a competitive race) and assuming he’s an each way price I’ll definitely be having a decent saver on the horse with a place looking a near certainty (as certain as you can get in this type of race anyway).

He could struggle to cope with how well handicapped WHENTHEDEALINSDONE is though and the Roger Teal runner looks a very likely winner of this race, or something very similar. It’s perhaps a concern that he hasn’t won for the best part of 18 months but a break and a wind op seemed to sort him out and his last run worked out so well.

We’ll be relying on a bit of luck in running but if Finley Marsh gets the horse prominent he should have few excuses at a course he clearly goes well at.

The big question is what sort of price are we going to get? He’s gone close on his last two starts and is well below the marks he was running off last season so he’s a very obvious choice who I expect to be favourite. If he’s a win only price I won’t be going crazy on him but if he’s 5/1+ he’d seem a good each way bet. It’s a competitive, big field race so 5/1 ish seems realistic.

This is why it’s important to consider likely prices before the market forms. It would be no surprise if Whenthedealinsdone is 5/1 favourite and Antiphon is 6/1 second favourite. However, if Whenthedealinsdone opens up at 3/1 and Antiphon at 8/1, I probably wouldn’t even bother backing the former and would just have a decent each way bet on Antiphon.

Coup De Force would be third choice ahead of On Edge who is 4th choice. Money for Vince Lombardi would be interesting but he seems to enjoy stiffer tracks so he’s probably one of a few here to watch out for next time out.

I may well also recommend a reverse forecast on Antiphon and Whenthedealinsdone to my members and whilst I won’t be tipping up any tricasts, I’ll be tempted to throw Coup De Force in there given his excellent run last time out and his good course form overall.

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