The November handicap, ran at Doncaster over 1m4f, is the last big handicap of the flat season and looks as competitive as ever. This is the time of year where some horses find it difficult, whether that be due to the changing ground conditions or simply the effects of a long season, and this must be taken into account when taking your view as a punter.
There are many trends to races such as this that can help point us in the right direction. We point out these key trends and who that brings to the forefront of our minds below.
1) 7 of the last 10 winners have carried between 8-7 and 8-13. (9 of the last 10 winners rated between 93 and 99).
It is also worth noting that top weights have a very poor record in the race, perhaps due to the fact that many horses have had a tough season and those having to carry high amounts may well tire quicker than the lighter raced sorts. Carrying a big weight in a big field is always tough. This means that the likes of Penhill, Litigant and Awake My Soul are at the wrong end of the handicap to be competing. Many fall within the bracket of 8-7 and 8-13 and we continue to search through the trends to help us narrow down some potential selections.
2) 10 of the last 10 winners have contested a Class 2 handicap but no higher.
You are essentially looking for a good quality handicapper that may have been improving up to this level gradually over the course of the year. Those that have competed in Listed or Group races can be discounted when looking at this unless you had a real star on your hands but again this poses as a negative for the
likes of Litigant and Seamour.
3) 9 of the 10 winners had won over 1m3f+, where the exception had won over 1m2f and was having his first run over 1m4f.
This indicates that you are looking for a type of horse that can stay in a big field, and has demonstrated his ability as a stayed previously over 1m3f or further. Mistiroc, Green Light and Super Kid all lose out here, and all are prominent in the current betting market.
4) 10 of 10 winners posted their highest flat RPR in the past 12 months over 1m2f+ on 1 of last 2 starts.
For me this is a really key point. Those that have heard me discuss racing in the past know that I am a big fanatic of analysing ratings to see where horses stand and use that to position the horse in terms of their chances of winning a race. The above statistic notes that in order for a horse to be capable of winning this race, they must be coming into form, and they must be improving, rather than be a horse that has shown strong performances in the past but have slipped down the ratings due to some shoddy recent performances. There are times that the latter is a great betting technique as you can often find real value in horses whose, for example, form reads 08009- when in fact they may have strong claims to win the race based on old form. This is a plus for Storm Force Ten, Zand, and Buonarroti.
5) 5 of the last 9 winners have been drawn 17 or higher, all did so on soft or heavy ground.
This is another key point in that a high draw is favoured on soft ground. Yes it is a 1m4f race so jockeys do have time to get their mounts into the desired positions but at Doncaster in a huge field it is of large importance where the horse starts off. This is a big positive for Penhill and Seamour.
In conclusion, STORM FORCE TEN is a horse that fits many of these criteria. Another point to note is that Andrew Balding has had 5 of his last 6 runners in this race placed, which again is a plus for the highly likeable STORM FORCE TEN. He hasn’t had too hard a season and it looks as if his run at Doncaster may have been a prep run for this. He doesn’t quite have the ‘in form’ positive but weight carried, rating and his ability to stay looks to me to tick many of the required boxes.
SEAMOUR is another that cannot be ignored. Although off a big weight, he is a proven stayer and has a 100% record when the going description has been soft. It clearly brings out the best in him and he is perfectly drawn in 21.
Recommended bets – 1pt ew STORM FORCE TEN 16-1, 1pt win SEAMOUR 10-1.