Watch the Betfred November Handicap live on Channel 4 at 3.35 on Saturday.
The Flat season’s final hurrah takes place at Doncaster on Saturday in the shape of the valuable Betfred November Handicap. With conditions likely to be testing and a strong end-to-end gallop virtually assured, punters are strongly advised to focus on mudlarks with proven stamina.
Ante-post favourite Mount Logan scored in decisive fashion over C&D last time and a 7lb rise is hardly draconian. As a typically progressive, Luca Cumani-trained handicapper he has to be taken very seriously indeed, but the primary concern is that he’s yet to encounter ground this slow.
The son of New Approach possesses a nice, fluent action, and I’m far from convinced that the he will be suited by the going – it’s soft at the time of writing, but could end up being heavy by race-time- so I strong recommend taking Mount Logan on.
Dashing Star has yet to get his head on front this year, but he’s posted several solid efforts in similarly competitive handicaps. He was beaten fair and square by the re-opposing Latenightrequest over C&D last time, but he’s 7lb better off with that rival this time and, moreover, Andrea Atzeni kicked for home too early on that occasion, in my opinion.
The Teofilo gelding will, in all probability, benefit from a more conservative ride with Jamie Spencer doing the steering this weekend, and I envisage David Elsworth’s charge running a big race with conditions very much in his favour.
Esteaming is also at his best when the mud is flying and he’s largely held his form well since making a winning reappearance at Newcastle in April. He wasn’t beaten far when fourth behind Old Town Boy, a rival he meets on 6lb better terms here, at York last time and everything is in place for the four-year-old to give a good account on Town Moor.
Farquhar landed a big pot at Newmarket last month but, like Mount Logan, he has a bit to prove on ground this slow, a remark which also applied to Plutocracy. Meanwhile, Open Eagle needs a career-best if he’s to follow up his recent victory at Redcar.
In the Betfred “Goals Galore” Wentworth Stakes earlier on the card at Doncaster, the trio to focus on are Tropics, Jack Dexter and SPINATRIX. The last-named, who was third in this race 12 months ago, has been in cracking form of late and, in receipt of weight from Tropics and Jack Dexter, she looks the one to be on.
The Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies’ Stakes represents a good opportunity for Princess Loulou, who has acquitted herself well in the face of some stiff tasks this season, to deservedly get her head back in front.
However, at around the 6/4 mark she’s plenty short enough and I’m siding with LADY TIANA, who is 2-2 on soft ground and had plenty left in the tank when landing a handicap at Nottingham last month. This is a step up in class, but she’s clearly on an upward curve and appeals from a value point of view at 11/2 with BetVictor.
Over at Wincanton, there’s some cracking jumps action for punters to sink their teeth into. The main event is the Badgers Ales Trophy and Standing Ovation, who landed this race in good style last year, has every chance of repeating the dose following his fine reappearance effort at Cheltenham.
However, at a tasty 14/1 with William Hill, it could be worth chancing OPENING BATSMAN, who failed to fire in a handful of starts last season but he’s been given a real chance by the handicapper – he’s now 4lb lower in the weights compared to when striking in the Racing Post Chase in February 2013 – and he hails from a yard which has made a fine start to the season.
The Young Master has really progressed since switched to fences and merits respect, for all that he is stepping up significantly in class here, while Court By Surprise, who was third in this race 12 months ago, also enters calculations following his reappearance victory at Exeter.
The StanJames.com Elite Hurdle has attracted a good field, headed by 2012 Champion Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby. Harry Fry’s stable star should make a bold bid despite the burden of top weight, but ready preference is for IRVING, one of the star novices of last season.
The six-year-old was disappointing when only ninth in the Supreme Novices’ at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but he looked a horse of huge potential prior to that. Indeed, he’s a slick jumper who possesses a potent turn of foot, and at 13/8 with Bet Victor he’s worth a decent wager.
Saturday Racing Tips:
3.00 Lady Tiana
3.35 Dashing Star & Esteaming
1.30 Hollow Penny
2.40 Opening Batsman