The Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day at Ascot last October is a key race in the context of unravelling the form for the Victoria Cup back at the same track today.
However, Kadrizzi has the form and ratings to beat more fancied rivals and win the race at the ante post price of 14/1.
Yuften won the Balmoral Handicap, beating Remarkable by one length in second place. Afjaan was more than one and a half lengths back in fourth place while GM Hopkins was a further six lengths back and out of the frame. Yuften and Afjaan were prominent in early betting for the Victoria Cup but do not run.
Remarkable is the right age to prevail but at nine stone four pounds would be carrying the fourth biggest weight of winners since 1988. Only one horse not aged four, five or six has won the Victoria Cup since that year. With a maximum field of 29 runners this is a huge puzzle and form is not an exact science especially when a number of unexposed horses are involved.
GM Hopkins was well beaten in the Balmoral Handicap but the weight of 9-10 was a huge burden. It’s a big ask to win this race off six pounds more than Remarkable is set to carry in such a competitive handicap. These two horses with Outback Traveller head the handicap. However, if any of these top three in the weights oblige the winner will almost certainly be a Group horse running in a handicap.
Remarkable is closely matched with the absent Yuften on Ascot running. However, Remarkable is scheduled to be ridden by a claiming jockey who takes three pounds off the horse. That swing equates to Remarkable being the best weighted of the horses at the head of the betting.
History says the winner will carry less than nine stone so eliminates the market leaders. With almost 30 runners there is depth and it will take an exceptional horse to win the race carrying nine pounds four pounds or more. GM Hopkins or Remarkable could be good enough but past results suggest winning will be beyond them.
Miracle Of Medinah must not be dismissed from further down the handicap. Lulu Stanford is probably not a jockey familiar to many race fans but the five pounds riding allowance that the jockey recieves brings the horse into the mix but others are preferred.
The most qualified is Kadrizzi who stands out from lower in the weights. Strictly on the ratings the horse has about two pounds in hand but this is a tough handicap. It will be a seven furlong cavalry charge at Ascot and horses must have luck in running to contend. The race is run on the straight course so there is less scope for interference and there is no significant draw advantage.
Kadrizzi finished second in a conditions race on Polytrack at Chelmsford at the end of April. The horse has some decent form out of handicap company and could be thrown in at the weights in the Victoria Cup on Saturday.
Tip: Kadrizzi at 16/1 with Stan James.
All the best,
The Race Advisor