This Royal Ascot handicapper will pay his passage - and runs this afternoon....

Last Updated: 29.06.2020

Monday, 29th June 2020

This Royal Ascot handicapper will pay his passage - and runs this afternoon….

Time passes quickly when the racing is your focus….

Royal Ascot is already receding in the rear-view mirror….

But before I draw the line under the handicap races run at that meeting, I want to highlight a few horses that caught my eye or my attention – and which I’ve added to my Watch List….

I start on that process today – with one that runs this afternoon. I’ll be adding others as part of the coverage each day this week….

I’ve had a good start to the season with my Watch List horses – with Brian The Snail, Dark Vision and Hey Jonesy all scoring in the first few weeks….

I expect the horses I mention this week to do much the same thing in the weeks ahead….

We’ll get started on that shortly. First, a word on the week ahead….

  • A big week ahead….

Greetings from South Derbyshire….

It’s another big week ahead for racing fans….

On Saturday, all eyes to turn to Epsom for the Oaks and the Derby….

Of course, these classic races are not handicap races – our bread and butter here at ATC. But we take an interest in the biggest races nevertheless – because we are racing fans first and foremost….

This week – in the run-up to the Saturday card at Epsom (which also includes a good 10f handicap) – I’ll be exploring multiple angles into both big classic races….

And this weekend I will also be playing on Sunday – with the Old Newton Cup at Haydock and the Coral Challenge at Sandown both races that I want to have an interest in….

So, plenty to do and plenty to look forward to this week….

  • The one that didn’t run….

It isn’t always the horse that runs that catches the eye. Sometimes, it’s the one that doesn’t….

That’s the case with Simon & Ed Crisford’s 3yo Will To Win – who was down to run in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap at the Royal meeting but ended up being a non-runner – self-certificated out of the race….

It was the second time this season that he’s missed a planned assignment. He’d previously been withdrawn at Newmarket on account of good to firm ground being unsuitable for him….

What caught my eye is that the horse was well-enough fancied for the Ascot race – which would have been his first go at the first 5f trip. When declared a non-runner, he was second in the betting behind the eventual winner Art Power….

Money down isn’t everything, of course. The market is wrong more frequently than it is right….

But I was also taken with the booking of William Buick for the Ascot assignment. I took that as a sign of intention and expectation….

  • Waiting for optimum conditions?

I don’t know what went wrong with the horse for him to be withdrawn….

But he was drawn low in stall 6 – not exactly the best place to be throughout the week – and I wonder if that might have had something to do with it….

When you’ve got one rated and ready to go well, perhaps you want as close to optimum conditions and circumstances as you can get….

If you don’t get optimum conditions and circumstances, perhaps you take the decision to wait for another day – a better day when things are more in your favour….

I think there will be a better day ahead for Will To Win….

  • Is today that better day?

Will To Win runs today in the 3.20 at Windsor….

It will be only his second run on turf. Almost all his running and all his winning has been done on the AW – he’s four wins from five goes on synthetic surfaces….

And it might be that where Ascot was an ideal track – AW horses take quite well to the idiosyncratic Ascot surface – Windsor is an entirely different proposition.  We can’t be sure I advance how he will take to the place – or any other turf track for that matter….

One thing that hasn’t changed is the trip. This afternoon’s race is over 5f. They clearly want to give him a crack at the minimum distance. And the money came for him at Ascot when he was primed to go over that trip….

James Doyle rides. That is a plus. Since the start of 2018 Doyle is 15 from 46 when riding horses for the Crisford operation – a non-too-shabby strike rate of 32.6%....

Whatever happens this afternoon at Windsor, I reckon the horse will pay his passage at some point this term….

  • The final word….

That’s all from me for now....

Tomorrow – another Royal Ascot handicapper to add to your tracker. And we’ll also get started on our spadework for Saturday’s races at Epsom….

Until then. Stay tuned....

All the best.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd