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Balmoral Handicap �V Form Comments

16/10/2015

Balmoral Handicap – Form Comments

1600m – Turf

1

Chil The Kite

Very effective over the straight 1600m at Ascot, twice having been placed in the super-competitive Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, and each time arguably unlucky not to win it. Generally running well since and he can't be ruled out despite shouldering top weight.

2

Balty Boys

Clearly happy over this straight 1600m, running a close 4th of 30 in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in June when he won his race on the stands' side but had no chance with the runners on the favoured fast side. He also showed a lot of pace to win a G3 at Haydock in September.

3

GM Hopkins

His only previous start at Ascot was when beating 29 rivals in the Hunt Cup over this straight 1600m at Royal Ascot in June, being delivered with a perfectly timed run by Ryan Moore that day. He races off a 6lb higher handicap mark today but the expected easier ground conditions - compared to June - may be helpful.

4

Bronze Angel

This popular gelding won this event last year. He was bidding for an unprecedented third victory in the hugely competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket last month, but he ran flat that day. He had previously shown what he can do with a fluent victory in a handicap at Doncaster, also run over a straight 1600m like this.

5

Gabriel's Lad

Has won four of his 25 races, but this is the first time he has been asked to compete over as far as this which looks a bit of a worry in a race in which a strong pace is expected and therefore stamina will be important. However he does like Ascot and only got nailed in the last strides in a 1400m handicap here last time.

6

Belgian Bill

A tough well-travelled horse who has often been sent on missions abroad and back in January he won over this distance at Meydan. He has also won over Ascot's straight 1600m, beating 27 rivals in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot back in 2013. He often meets trouble in his races but his trainer says that traffic problems actually suit him so a big field is no worry.

7

Empire Storm

Frustrating for supporters with just 3 wins  - the last one way back in 2012 -though he has very frequently been placed. Prominent throughout he ran really well when a close 3rd of 17 in a 1400m handicap here earlier this month, not the first time he has performed well at this track.

8

Buckstay

Has had a long hard season but it doesn't seem to have taken its toll as he looked to post a career best earlier this month when threading his way through a whole collection of horses to win a valuable handicap over 1400m at this track. The evidence suggests he wants good ground or faster.

9

Rene Mathis

Competing today even though his trainer is doubtful that this horse likes Ascot with four disappointing efforts here. He has won two 1400m handicaps this season but, despite the continued success of his stable in 2015, it would be a shock if he also won this.

10

Master The World

Not very consistent but he occasionally sparkles and he would surely have won the prestigious Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket last month had he not hung badly left in the closing stages. However he failed to run anything like as well back at Newmarket subsequently.

11

Spark Plug

Held off the late charge of GM Hopkins, a big fancy for this race, to win a handicap over this distance at Newbury in May. The fact that he is better off at the weights with that rival here suggests that he also can be fancied even though he so far has not managed to show the same level of form after taking a hefty fall in a handicap at Royal Ascot in June.

12

Sacrificial

This Irish-trained gelding has run one good race after another and may well start favourite for this.  Already proven over this course and distance with an excellent third in a hot Royal Ascot handicap, and he has been freshened up since finishing strongly when third in a good Listed race at Killarney in August. He is tough and versatile.

13

Farlow

His six career victories have come at between 1000m and 1400m though he does appear to have the stamina for this 1600m trip. Although only 8th in a 1400m handicap here at Ascot last time, he did make late progress in that 17-runner field as he was still last of all with 200m to run.

14

Merry Me

Has raced just four times this season, finishing second on the last three including in a G2 over this distance at Baden-Baden last month. His conqueror there was French-trained Vadamos so it will be interesting to see how that colt gets on in the previous G1 event on this card. Potentially well handicapped.

15

Ayaar

Four of his five wins have come on fast ground so, although it is unlikely to be very soft here, conditions will surely not be ideal. His races are usually well spaced out as he often does best after a break which he showed with a sparking 2015 debut, always travelling strongly to beat a big field over this distance at Newbury in April.

16

Professor

Did win here at Ascot much earlier in his career but that was over 1400m on fast ground. He also ran well here on his latest start, a valuable 1400m handicap, doing his best work at the finish. Hard to tell whether he will last 1600m here on an easy surface.

17

Donncha

Best on a softish surface, and he has performed well at this track both times he has competed here. Although he hasn't made a huge impact on his two most recent starts he has had this race on his agenda for some time.

18

Halation

Although he has not made much impact in his last few starts he has a good winning strike-rate and did swoop late to win a handicap over this distance here in August. However his record suggests that he is ideally suited by faster conditions than are likely here.

19

Fort Bastion

Only 16th in this race last year, with one victory since - in a handicap over this distance. Some encouragement also from his latest start when he unseated his rider before the race and ran loose but did well in the circumstances to finish a close 5th in a 1600m handicap. His stable always deserves respect.

20

Musaddas

His trainer believes that he is best restricted to a few races and he has competed just four times this year, all good efforts. Headgear seems to help his concentration and he gave the impression that another victory may not be far away after his latest effort, at Newmarket last month.

 

Reserves

 

21

Man of Harlech

He won three starts back but arguably his two runs in defeat since have been even better. He was a close up 4th in a 34-runner charge at Newmarket last time and the prospect of slower ground here may be even more suitable. He looks to belong on the shortlist.

22

Fiftyshadesofgrey

His two turf victories came on good ground over 1400m but he has also won on a sand surface over 1600m and the softish surface seemed not to worry him last time when quite a close 5th over 1400m here, not helped by meeting interference when beginning his challenge.

23

Examiner

His record on a grass surface is 0-10 but he looks to be improving for his current stable and ran a career best when only beaten 1L 3rd of 34 in a famous Newmarket handicap on his latest start, clearly running way better than his odds of 50-1 might have suggested.

 

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