Horse Racing
Balmoral Handicap - Form Comments

20/10/2017 17:48

1600m – Turf

1 Firmament Finished third in this last year off an identical rating, not having much luck that day either, squeezed as he tried for a gap. However, despite some good efforts, he has failed to win in nine attempts this season and was below his best here last time. Quick ground helps.
2 Master The World Ended a 21-race losing sequence when – under a masterful Ryan Moore ride – he won a soft-ground Goodwood 1600m handicap in August. His best Ascot run came when third in this race two years ago. Adaptable tactically and also versatile regarding the racing surface.
3 Speculative Bid A high class handicapper who is a past winner at Ascot. He also made his belated 2017 return here this month, sweating beforehand but making some late headway to finish 5 1/2L seventh in a valuable 1400m handicap, and meets plenty of the same rivals again here.
4 George William Came close to winning a 24-runner 1400m handicap on fast gound here at Ascot back in May and showed his surface versatility when easily winning a soft-ground conditions’ race last time. He’s consistent and thrives on racing but some others look better handicapped.
5 Oh This Is Us Has had a busy year, this being his 13th race of 2017, including two wins and some places in group race company. Didn’t look right at his best over 1400m at Lingfield last time and he hasn’t come close to winning on his three previous visits to Ascot. Likes good ground.
6 Accidental Agent Had some problems earlier in the season but patience has paid off and he’s now won two of his last three starts and posted a clear career-best when winning over 1400m here at Ascot recently, coming from off the pace to land that big handicap prize. Trying 1600m now.
7 Gabrial Sometimes competes in group races and even ran in the G1 Champion Stakes – well beaten – on this day last year. He’s currently on a 19-race losing streak and can miss the break, race too keenly and not look enthusiastic. Hard to fancy.
8 GM Hopkins Has lots of Ascot experience and finished fast from off the speed when runner-up in this event two years ago, though did less well in it last year. A real character, he has struggled to find top form this season but at least the handicapper is being more lenient with him.
9 Linguistic His last seven starts have been over further than this. He’s been in quite decent form, running a good third of 12 under a big weight in a York handicap last time. Best on good ground. Others look better handicapped.
10 Lord Glitters Formerly trained in France, winning over 1600m at Chantilly and Saint-Cloud in 2017. Made a very promising start to his UK campaign here recently. Last 400m out in an 18-runner 1400m handicap rapid progress took him into a close second. Wants good or slow ground.
11 Dark Red This gelding ended a 12-race losing sequence when easily winning a York handicap over slightly further than this last weekend. The application of blinkers surely played a big part, and chances if they work again. Best on good or slower.
12 Zabeel Prince Has won his three starts this season in increasingly impressive style. Despite racing too keenly he was always cruising in the straight in a 20-runner 1575m York handicap this month, obliterating his rivals. Proven on good and soft ground, he’s a big player.
13 White Lake A very lightly-raced five-year-old who has only won once – a maiden first time out. He has shown some promise in more exalted company but still suffers from a high handicap mark considering his limited achievements.  And blinkers didn’t seem to help on his last start.
14 Eddystone Rock Has had a busy year with his trainer commenting that he thought the gelding unlucky in plenty of races. However he met no traffic problems when coming late to win a York handicap in August. All his wins have come over further than this, and this looks tricky.
15 Hors de Combat Having his first start in this race, but has competed 6 times over the straight 1600m at Ascot, a second and third being his best placings. Only twice a winner, but he ran a good second in a Sandown Listed event over this distance last time, challenging wide and late.
16 The Grape Escape His three wins have all come at this distance, and, though slow to find top gear this season, he’s in great form now with Sandown and Pontefract wins, latterly when proving much too strong for his rivals despite having to hump a big weight on soft ground.
17 Brigliadoro In good form right now and he posted a career-best – albeit on an all-weather surface – surging late to win a handicap over this distance this month. Last year he ran a close second over this straight 1600m and he’s versatile groundwise.
18 Qassem Has raced over a variety of distances- from 1200m to 2400m. He’s effective at this trip, running a fine second over it in a handicap at York in August. Fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, and with Frankie Dettori riding him for the first time.
19 Withernsea Has a low winning strike-rate – four wins from 39 starts. However he has won over a straight 1600m, achieving that in a handicap on soft ground at Newbury in May. He has also run well here, though was well beaten at Ascot last time.
20 Greenside Has had issues with his feet and knees but he showed smart acceleration to win a Sandown handicap on fast ground over this distance in June. However he has struggled on more recent starts. He seems to handle any ground.
21 Stamp Hill Not famous for consistency but in first-time blinkers he landed a 50-1 shock win in a prestigious 1400m handicap here in July, always prominent and keeping on strongly after leading. Didn’t make any impact on his only start since. Seems best on a slow surface.
22 Century Dream A rising handicap mark earned from two handicap victories earlier in the season didn’t stop him gaining a narrow and hard fought victory over a similar distance to this at Haydock last month. Best on a good or slow surface, he seems to have improved since wearing a hood.
23 Leader Writer Didn’t make an impact in a top handicap at Newmarket last time, but had produced a strong surge from off the speed to win a handicap over this course and distance previously, on suitably soft ground. He used to be tricky at the gates but seems fine now.