Timeform Radio Tip: Handicapping made easy?

Graham Gibbons rides Clon Brulee in the Zetland Gold Cup

Rory Delargy hit the target with his nap on Saturday, and is looking to follow up at Redcar...

"It's easy to crab the form through the beaten horses, but Darakti's win against more vaunted rivals at Doncaster rather spoils that line of argument, however it's twisted. Danehill Flyer has shown enough over inadequate trips to suggest he'll translate his improvement back to turf, and looks overpriced, even when considering 1¾m is a step into the unknown in terms of stamina..."

If school mathematics included modules on horserace handicapping, we could expect questions like this to appear in exams:

"Danehill Flyer gives 7 lb and a 19-length beating to Darakti over 11f on fibresand. Darakti, in receipt of 6 lb, then beats Handiwork by 4¼ lengths over 12f on turf. In your role as handicapper, what should the weight differential between Danehill Flyer and Handiwork be in order to give the pair equal chances in a turf handicap. Expand on the problems arriving at this conclusion."

An impossible question to answer given the paucity of information, but it's somewhat surprising that in this real-life scenario (14:50 Redcar), Danehill Flyer is expected to concede just 1 lb to his rival given that collateral form line. It's even more surprising that the latter is currently shading the argument in betting terms. 

Darakti is, predictably enough, a bit of a red herring, and his win at Doncaster last time, in a race where Handiwork was fourth of 5, had an element of good fortune about it. Handiwork, too, was better than the bare result having met interference, so it's unwise to assume he's a stone or more inferior to Darakti's Southwell conqueror. With all that said, however, it's hard to argue that Danehill Flyer wasn't impressive in pulling so far clear of Darakti with one who is a Southwell specialist, and it's more likely to be the step up in trip, rather than the unusual surface, which has seen his form take an upward turn.

Campaigned over 6/7f as a 2-y-o, this gelding was never likely to show his true hand, and the fact that he's out of an Old Vic mare strongly suggests that he'll be making his mark over hurdles before the year is out. It's no surprise that he improved tackling a demanding 11f at Southwell last time, and it would take a brave man to say he didn't stay for all his challenge faltered in the last 100 yards. Non stayers don't pull nearly 20 lengths clear of the third, do they? It's easy to crab the form through the beaten horses, but Darakti's win against more vaunted rivals at Doncaster rather spoils that line of argument, however it's twisted. Danehill Flyer has shown enough over inadequate trips to suggest he'll translate his improvement back to turf, and looks overpriced, even when considering 1¾m is a step into the unknown in terms of stamina. 

Feature race of the day is the Zetland Gold Cup (16:00), in which only a handful can be seriously fancied on recent form. Eshtibaak has been on the "to follow" list of many since early last season, and is sure to grab a big handicap at some point, but he's priced accordingly, and the one who looks ahead of his mark is David Barron's Clon Brulee. The son of Modigliani is lightly raced in handicaps, winning twice at this trip last year, and looking an improved performer with a facile success on his return at Ripon last week. That success has lumbered him with a penalty, but it's a penalty which has enabled him to make the cut for this prestigious event, and that was clearly the plan all along.

It's of some significance that the shrewd Barron also has his charge entered in a £50,000 at Epsom on Friday, and he clearly believes the horse to be very well treated until the handicapper has a chance to reassess him. That's a view which is hard to argue with, and he can beat some more exposed rivals today.

Recommendations:
Both at Redcar

Back Danehill Flyer @ 7.06/1 in the 14:50 (NAP)
Back Clon Brulee @ 4.57/2 in the 16:00 (NB)

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