Mullins Maintains Grip on Staying Handicaps
Jumps trainer Willie Mullins looks like he could have a stranglehold on all the big staying flat handicaps over the next few years, if Saturday’s Cesarewitch is any guide. The Irish handler had 7 of the 33 runners, but managed to have the winner in Low Sun, and the runner-up in Uradel.
The winner was given a fine ride by Seamie Heffernan. Always in a prominent position, the 5-year-old battled on gamely all the way to line, to see off his stablemate, who seemed be travelling better, when coming to challenge two furlongs out by a neck at the finish.
Low Sun remains a lightly raced dual-purpose horse, who had previously won a 2m 7f handicap hurdle at the Galway Handicap Hurdle. He stays well, and should give connections more winning opportunities over hurdles, when he gets a sound surface.
Trend Remains My Friend
I mentioned in last week’s post, that if you were looking for a profitable angle for the race, you could do worse than concentrate on runners with the following traits:
Highest Class Run: Group/Grade 1, 2 or 3
Last Time Out Placing: Top 6
7 winners from 84 runners, with the SP Profit +126.5, in the previous ten runnings of the race. The winner would have been on your shortlist for the race, as he had finished 6th on his last start, and had previously run in Grade 1 & 2 races over hurdles.
Trends continue to be a great way to have manageable shortlist of contenders for these big handicaps. The important caveat is the number of trends used. The more trends used, the more likely it is that you will be unwittingly overfitting. You need to be able to narrow the field down to, at most, five trends. If you can’t do it with that number, then the race is probably too competitive and worth avoiding from a trend’s perspective.
It was Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket, so there were plenty top-class juveniles in action on the Rowley Mile. I don’t have time to look into those races today, however next week, I will be highlighting my top idea of the best 2-year-old colts and fillies of 2018.
The first big meeting of the winter jumps’ season took place at Chepstow this weekend. Thankfully Storm Callum, which had bought flooding to parts of Wales seemed to miss Chepstow, although the runners did have to deal with strong headwind in the straight.
My first winter jumps horse for your trackers is Captain Cattistock, trained by Paul Nicholls. He is having his first start since finishing 4th of 14 at Cheltenham back in April. The 5-year-old was still very much in contention, two out, in Saturday’s big race at Chepstow, The Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, before he was caught-out by a combination of race fitness and the good ground. The expected rain didn’t arrive for the gelding, who is 3 from 3 on soft and heavy. Still, in the circumstance he wasn’t beaten far into 6th and will be sharper for his seasonal reappearance.
At the end of last season, the trainer had indicated that Captain Cattistock would be going novice chasing this season. He looks the type who can do very well over the larger obstacles. He showed here that good ground doesn’t inconvenience him, but he’ll still be a better proposition when the going is on the soft side.
It’s Champions Saturday
When does the British turf flat season end?
It used finish at Doncaster on November Handicap Day. But the advent of the British Champions Series means it effectively now finishes in October with Champion Day at Ascot
So therefore the annual end of season extravaganza is almost upon us. On Saturday we have as good a six race card as you will see all season. Four Group 1’s and one Group 2, which should really be a Group 1, and a competitive mile handicap. What more could you ask for…
I wish I had the space to look at all six of Saturday’s races from a trends’ perspective. I will have settle for a look at just the one.
3:15 – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – Group 1 – 1m
The race was won by the French in 2014 & 2015, and they have this year’s ante-post favourite, in recent Group 1 winner Recoletos.
Favourites have produced 5 winners from 10 runners with 8 placed.
On the trends front, 80% of winners from 31% of the total runners had the following traits:
Age: 3 to 4
Last Time Out Placing: Top 3
Odds: 8/1 & under
With main rival in the ante-post market, Roaring Lion, seemingly heading for the Champion Stakes, Recoletos looks a solid favourite for this year’s race. The 3/1 looks fair value about the 4-year-old.
At this time of the year it normally pays to be with trainers whose horses are in winning form. Here are few trainers whose horses will be worth noting this week.
Michael Halford has had 4 winners from 13 runners, with 6 placed in the past 7-days. That record improves if you look at his runners at Dundalk which were:
4 winners from 7 runners
Strike Rate 57%
Place Strike Rate 71%.
He will no doubt have a few runners at the course on Friday, and they will all be worthy of respect.
5 winners from 11 runners
Strike Rate 45%
SP Profit +7.26
Place Strike Rate 72%
This has been on turf and all-weather in the past 7 days. He’s another trainer whose runners shouldn’t be underestimated this week. He has runners entered at Windsor & Kempton today.
Over the jumps there are two trainers whose horses will be worth keeping onside this week:
2 winners from 2 runners
Strike Rate 100%
SP Profit +1.63
This is in the past 7-days. His last ten National Hunt runners have produced form figures 1522U21111.
2 winners from 5 runners
Strike Rate 45%
SP Profit +3.38
Place Strike Rate 50%
This is in the past 7-days. That record looks even better when you look at his representatives in handicaps:
2 winners from 3 runners
Strike Rate 67%
SP Profit +5.38
Place Strike Rate 100%
Good luck with this week’s punting.
Until next week.
All the best,
for The Race Advisor