Splitting the Sandringham field....

Last Updated: 10.06.2019

Monday, 10th June 2019

Splitting the Sandringham field….

This week is one of those necessary weeks ahead of a big meeting....

We’re preparing the ground for Royal Ascot and putting in the preliminary spadework for the seven big handicaps we will be targeting for sure across the 5-days....

Royal Ascot starts next Tuesday – and runs through to the following Saturday – for those of you who aren’t sure....

Last Wednesday, we looked at the strongest pointers produced by recent renewals of the Ascot Stakes. If you missed that, you can catch-up here....

On Thursday it was the turn of the Royal Hunt Cup. You can review that material right here....

Today we move on to the Sandringham Handicap....

So without, further ado....

  • The strongest stats in the Sandringham....

The Sandringham Handicap is a race that doesn’t quite possess the gloss of some of the other handicaps run at the meeting but, with a big-field going to post more years than not, it represents another decent target for price-hunting handicap players....

Prior to 2018 the race was run as a Listed-class contest. But new rules stipulating that handicaps cannot be Listed or Group-class events, means that the race has been downgraded to a class 2. But, no matter. That’s just detail. A field of strong fillies will show-up. And there will be value bets there for the taking....

The class 2 event is for 3yo fillies and they race over the straight mile. Last year, the prize pot amounted to £88,500. Winning connections waltzed off with just over £56k....

Six of the last 17 editions of the race were won by the favourite or a co-favourite. Another five were won by horses in second or third spot in the betting....

The market has a better handle on this handicap than some of the others run at the meeting. The average winning SP over the period reflects that fact – amounting to just over 8s.

If you were going to sit a handicap out at this season’s Royal Ascot meeting, then this might be the one to choose....

Prior to digging into the race for selections, it will pay to bear one or two things in mind....

  • 2017 was an exception to the rule with an unraced filly taking the honours, but the winners of the other 16 renewals had raced at least three times on the track. Focusing on horses that had raced six times or fewer on the turf would have found 13 of the last 17 winners....
  • These Ascot handicaps don’t tend to reward horses returning to the track off long breaks. That’s especially the case with younger and more inexperienced horses who are still learning their trade and who benefit from being kept ‘in the zone’. Excepting 2017’s unraced winner, 15 of the other 16 winners had been in a race no more than 6-and-a-half weeks previous. The 24 horses running since 2002 off a break of 100+ days produced a win and three places between them. Clearly, a break isn’t the complete kiss of death. But it’s not a clear-cut plus either....
  • With so little form in the book in 3yo handicaps, it can be hard to make sense of a horse’s rating and what it might run to. But the official handicapper does do a pretty good job of getting them in the right kind of order. The last 38 horses to go to post in this with an official rating of 102 or bigger produced 5 winners and 9 placed horses – with a few of those at nice prices. Weight can be a disadvantage in big handicaps, but with these younger and lightly-raced horses it can pay to assume that the handicapper knows the better ones from the remainder....
  • As we have said, the 2017 winner was unraced, so there was no sure way of knowing ahead of the race whether it stayed a mile. But in other years a win already scored at 7f or further represented a good indicator. Thirteen of the other 16 previous winners ticked that box....
  • John Gosden has a good record. So too Ed Dunlop, Sir Michael Stoute and William Haggas. But if you’re looking for a dark horse handler, consider Michael Bell if he has a runner his time. His last seven runners produced 2 winners and 2 placers – all four horses ridden by Jamie Spencer....
  • Jamie Spencer is a real advantage to a horse up the Ascot straight. In addition to those results for Michael Bell, he’s also produced winners for Wesley Ward and Ed Walker in addition to placers for Charlie Hills, Alan Jarvis and Luca Cumani. In his last 13 rides in the race he’s only been out of the frame four times....
  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today....

I’ll be back tomorrow with more....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd