This week’s big handicapping action comes from Ascot with the 2015 edition of the Victoria Cup (3.45 Ascot). Run over the straight seven furlongs of the Berkshire track, the draw can often play a significant role in the result. There doesn’t appear to be any inherent bias in the track but it pays to be drawn on the same side as the pace horses. The going at the course is good and with little rain forecast we should have ideal racing conditions throughout Ascot’s card.
In what is invariably a tough race to solve, the one trend that stands out is the dominance of younger horses in the race. In the past 13 renewals the contest has been won by a horse aged four or five on no fewer than ten occasions. As such it could pay to put a line through the older runners including 2011 winner Hawkeyethenoo who is a credit to connections but at nine years of age may find it tough to keep tabs on the younger legs of the competition here.
Of the four year olds in the race the one we like best is Jeremy Noseda’s Outback Traveller. This bay by Bushranger is towards the head of the market at 13.0 and it’s not hard to see why. His only previous visit to the track resulted in a seven length demolition of a decent field in a class three handicap over this trip. He is fourteen pounds higher here and drawn in the centre of the track which may not prove ideal but still makes some appeal at the prices.
Richard Hannon’s Emmel must also go on the shortlist following a most unlucky fifth in a Class Two handicap at Goodwood. Trapped in a pocket throughout, the gaps came all too late and he was beaten two and a half lengths into fifth, crossing the line with plenty of petrol left in the tank. Granted better luck in running he looks set to go very close off an unchanged mark of 105. Trading at 26.0 he makes plenty of each way appeal.
The one to be on though is Heaven’s Guest from the Richard Fahey yard. This five year old by Dark Angel already has a course and distance win to his name back in 2013 and comes here in good form following an easy victory in a Class Three contest at Thirsk. Going back to 2013, his win here came off a mark of 100. He is in off 105 here but Richard Fahey has an ace up his sleeve in the form of five pound claimer Jack Garrity. That five pound claim effectively gets Heaven’s Guest into the race off a mark he has shown he can win off, over a track and trip at which he has been successful. Followers of the Garrity-Fahey combination will have done rather well to date with the pair showing a level stakes profit of 44.86 points. They can improve those stats further here at rewarding odds of 17.0.