I love a selling handicap - whether it be on the Flat or over jumps - but I feel they have very much gone out of favour in the programme.
I have long enjoyed trying to work out which horses are simply past it, or which may just have been in hiding for a while waiting for their day to come. I grew up with the likes of Ken Payne - “the selling plate king” - and loved trying to work out which of his multiple runners was going to do the business that day.
I had a touch one afternoon at York in the 70s where I figured that Bowsquare Lady was going to beat Bee Bumble, Payne’s favourite of his many runners, and she romped home by five lengths. I was selling Timeform racecards at the track that afternoon and got so excited that I ran off to cheer the winner home, only to return and find my stack of black books had been nicked!
I hope selling handicaps never disappear altogether and I still think there is room for a selling chase somewhere in the programme.
Anyway - enough of the nostalgia and I am hoping I still love a seller after the first at Taunton, which has attracted a big field.
This horse has dropped down the ratings in his last four runs so is now able to compete at this lowly level. He has a very solid chance here.
The handicapper has been very fair in dropping him as she has posted a couple of good efforts in recent runs, with her last run particularly solid in finishing third in a 0-120 on the Welsh National card at Chepstow. Dropping her 2lbs for that run seems generous.
The likely strong pace in this big field will suit her, as she has run best when finishing off a good pace. The slight step up in trip on this sharper track will not be a problem.
Last successful when winning under today’s jockey at Catterick in late December, he’s now rated only 2lbs higher and can prove himself still well-handicapped.
I think the drop to 1m7f will be in his favour given my views on how punishing the Wetherby home straight can be for a chaser and, even though his win came over further, this trip could be ideal.
I am pretty sure that Nathan Moscrop gets on particularly well with him, and this is only the third time he has been on board.
Despite this race being a slight jump in grade from last time when he was third at Catterick, that contest looked a competitive heat. I cannot really find another runner in top form here, so Relkadam could actually have it easier.
He has not been seen since going down narrowly in a similar race over course and distance in December, and that 9-1 defeat was gutting for this column - especially as he was hampered at the second-last and made a mistake at the last, but for which he would have surely won. I have left him in my tracker and, even though he has not been seen for a while, I am happy to give him another go.
The Tizzard horses are actually running better now than they were after the Christmas period, so Storm Home’s absence from the track may well be a positive. He has gone up 2lbs for that latest effort which is annoying, but conditions are pretty similar here. His jockey still claims a useful 7lbs and, in a race that is no better, he must have a solid chance.Fancy winning a 50" television, a 12-month Racing TV subscription, a Reclining Armchair plus much more? Click here to enter our Ultimate Cheltenham At Home competition!
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