First time in a handicap is often a good time to catch a horse as the handicapper has had to pretty much guess his rating, whilst the trainer has probably been doing their best to disguise it.
First time out as a 3yo is also a good time to catch a horse as they will never develop as much physically in an off season as much as they do from 2 to 3 – it’s like going through the teenage years.
First time out after a gelding operation is another key signpost as the absence of certain hormonal distractions can help a horse both in its training routines and on the course.
Chepstow races tomorrow (1500 BST) gives us a chance to use all 3 of those factors in one horse.
Tis Wonderful is trained by Clive Cox, in itself a prime factor as Cox is particularly adept at improving well-handicapped horses. He had 3 quiet runs at 2 years old, which quietly hinted at something better. He starts his 3yo campaign today as a gelding.
A rating of 65 looks ripe for exploitation, and in the context of this race, it means a reasonably well-bred horse from a decent yard is asked to give weight away to a field who have mostly proven themselves to be thoroughly mediocre.
Add in some market support and we have ourselves a good looking bet. The soft ground should help, and Cox is only likely to let the horse take a chance if he feels the conditions will help.
Recommendation: Tis Wonderful (1500 Chepstow), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
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