Thursday Races: Handicap Master Class

A tasty afternoon at Sandown offers us the chance to indulge in a handicapping master-class courtesy of some of the leading trainers in the dark arts of getting a good horse fairly weighted.

Firstly (1430 BST), step up John Gosden, the Keyser Sose in our list of Usual Suspects, always capable of getting a quality horse a fair rating (anyone remember Halling?).   His stayer Joshua Reynolds gave another feather in Gosden’s peacock-like cap when romping home on handicap debut at Newmarket.  He is up in the weights but you can be sure Gosden has left more to work on.  Sir Michael Stoute’s Nadaitak could be the fly in the ointment, but it would be disappointing if Joshua wasn’t able to follow up.

Just over an hour later (1540), its the turn of Roger Charlton, another arch handicapper.  His Eynhallow has won 2 of his 3 handicaps to date, his only defeat when ill-at-ease on quicker ground and Goodwood’s undulations.  He won here last time, and this son of Nathaniel (as is Joshua Reynolds), should love the slightly softer surface.  He looks a shoo-in.

Half an hour later (1610), its William Haggas who is the next in the Usual Suspects.  His filly Paradise Cove has a first handicap run off just 74.  Admittedly it was a poor maiden that she romped home in at Ayr last time, but that showed she can cope with softer ground, and Haggas always leaves a lot to work on when stepping into handicaps.

Finally (1645), Hughie Morrison looks to improve his superb record in handicaps courtesy of the lightly raced Finale.  This filly liked the soft surface when providing a customary Morrison-first-time-in-a-handicap cosy win at Nottingham.  A 5lb rise in no way captures the promise of that performance, and Morrison has given the filly a short break to refresh and is notorious for the careful hand-picking of opportunities once he has a horse on a roll.

None of these will make us rich individually – so we will take a characteristically ambitious tilt at the tastiest combo since Mr Colman spilt his mustard on the sunday roast….


Joshua Reynolds (1430 Sandown) 9/4 available, Eynhallow (1540 Sandown) 4/5 available, Paradise Cove (1610 Sandown) 11/4 available, Finale (1645 Sandown) 5/4 available.

4 x 0.5pt win trebles & 0.5pt win accumulator (c 50/1)

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