Our resident tipster is firing a couple of arrows at the season-ending November Handicap.
It could pay to be shrewd when betting on the turf flat season’s last hurrah, the November Handicap over 1m4f at Doncaster on Saturday (due off 3.30pm).
With 23 runners set to go to post for what is traditionally a wide-open handicap and just one winning favourite in 19 years – albeit the well backed Open Eagle 12 months ago – I’m not going to let a 33/1 price tag put me off my selection, the Iain Jardine-trained SHREWD. Indeed, he’s the outsider of the lot with most firms but that’s a little surprising as there is plenty to like about his chances.
I’ll spare you the history lesson and just say he was a very decent sort when trained by Michael Bell, winning four times for the Newmarket handler, and was considered good enough to run at Royal Ascot, before losing his way and being switched to John Ferguson for a hurdles campaign.
He’s had several trainers since being returned to the flat in the autumn of 2014 and was having just his fourth start for his current stable when finishing third at Catterick last month. He’s been raised 1lb for that effort but his new rating of 85 is still 4lb lower than his last winning mark and connections have booked promising claimer Eddie Greatrex, who will take a handy 5lb off his back.
So, having established he’s well handicapped, it’s also worth pointing out the form of his stable: prior to Friday’s racing, Jardine’s last five runners had achieved placings of 53131. He ticks the trip and going boxes too as, while he’s been tried over a variety of trips in his time, a strongly run 1m4f is probably what he needs on the level these days and he has won on ground with plenty of cut in it, which is the forecast. The one black mark against him being he finished stone last in the 2013 renewal of this race, though I’m prepared to forgive him that run at current odds.
As for the rest, the lightly-raced SEAMOUR makes plenty of appeal with this race being his target since missing the Cesarewitch. He stays much further so he’s well equipped to cope if it turns into a slog, which is entirely possible – I’m going to save on him at the current 12/1. Three-year-olds have a good record when getting a run and Argus is therefore respected as the sole representative of that age group. He’s favourite across the board and perhaps deservedly, but this is third run in less than a month and connections did day after over course and distance last time that this race may come soon for him.