Chris Dixon's Note And Angles: Batchelor Boy remains well-handicapped

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Fri 3 Jul 2020

Racing TV presenter Chris Dixon reveals four horses to add to your tracker, a race that ought to work out well plus an angle to note.

The first few weeks of racing action following the resumption featured race after race of maximum 12-runner fields, and 10-race cards. As a punter I loved it; competitive racing with good-sized but not massive fields meant fewer messy, tactical races, and plenty of good betting opportunities.

There were also lots of races for comparison when it came to times and track or pace bias analysis on a card allowing for better analysis of the races.

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Unfortunately, the field sizes haven’t been fully sustained more recently and the racing has become a shade less competitive, but we’re on the verge of some fantastic action this weekend and into next week, so there’s loads to look forward to.

For now though, it’s time to look back, so here are a few eyecatchers, a piece of form to follow and an angle to look into using the replay archive.

Hot race:

In previous weeks, I’ve had several options to pick from in highlighting a strong piece of form, but they seemed thinner on the ground to my eye last week.

There were a couple of races that looked fairly strong for the grade at Haydock on June 24 though, including the three-year-old, 1m handicap won by Strait Of Hormuz.

Jedd O’Keeffe’s winner was having his first start for the sharp owners Quantum following a 70,000 guineas sale in the autumn and had won his previous start, as had the next four home.

Several of the field look open to further progress and the race was underpinned by a good time figure, so it looks a solid piece of form, and plenty of them will win more races in time.

Four for your tracker:

Red Force One – Paul Nicholls

This was a messy and steadily-run race in which track position proved vital. Those ridden with patience struggled and the only one to make any impression from off the pace was Red Force One and he’s worth marking up as a result.

This was just his second run on the Flat since joining Paul Nicholls and following a 2lb rise for a race that didn’t get to the bottom of him, he can be placed to advantage on the level soon.

Batchelor Boy – Marco Botti

Several recent sprint races at Windsor have been dominated by those racing on the pace and continuing the theme of a horse not being seen to best effect from too far back, I thought Batchelor Boy shaped nicely at Windsor last week.

Taken back early, he travelled kindly before keeping on into third and looking as if he remains in the sort of form that saw him win his previous start.

A stiffer track or stronger pace at this trip or a return to 6f would see him to better effect and he remains well-handicapped.

Bondi Sands – Mark Johnston

Only four runners lined up for the 1m4f handicap for three-year-olds at Newmarket last Friday, but three of them had strong recent form and appealed as well-treated going into it, and I liked the way Bondi Sands went about his business to get off the mark at the sixth time of asking.

Ridden close to the pace, he came under pressure from 3f out and was headed and looked beaten from over 2f out but he responded willingly to score by over two lengths. He looks open to further progress as his stamina is drawn out and will win more races this season.

Al Qaqaa – William Haggas

Despite being given a handy looking opening mark of 79, William Haggas opted to skip an immediate switch to handicap company with $1.2m War Front colt Al Qaqaa and instead kept him close to home for an uncompetitive novice at Newmarket last Thursday.

Sent off the 4-7 favourite, he won easily and hit the line strongly. Clearly taking after his strong staying dam rather than his speedy sire, this sizeable three-year-old looks the type to make his mark in handicaps off a revised mark of 84 and there are few better than his trainer at plotting a path for a horse of this ilk.

Angle to note:

I couldn’t even hazard a guess at how many times I’ve been racing at Beverley, but when I returned there for the first time in a while last week, it wasn’t as I remembered it.

And I don’t mean because this usually well-attended track was about as empty as it used to be on the non-race days when I was helping the groundstaff there while a student on my Easter holidays.

The mantra for finding winners at Beverley is usually low draw and up with the pace and so long as the ground is quick, there’s no harm in being hard against that far rail.

So, it was a bit bemusing to leave the track having not seen one horse make all during the afternoon and see race after race won by a horse challenging up the centre of the track from further back in the field than you usually see the winners on the Westwood.

Some jockeys said the inside was feeling the effects of previous 10-race cards, but whatever the reason, it looked a disadvantage to be on the far side.

With that in mind, it might be worth visiting the results section, viewing the replays from that card, and seeing which horses might have been disadvantaged and may be better another day. This kind of work can pay off time and again when it comes to future investments.

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