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Identifying a well handicapped horse

#1
I'm kind of thinking aloud here, looking for some confirmation and I'm under no illusions that there are many more accomplished bettors than I on this forum, but isn't one of the basic premises of being considered a well handicapped horse if a runner's chase and hurdle ratings differ?

For instance, let's take a look at Zerachiel in today's 4:50.

He runs in a chase today and is rated 107, while his hurdle rating is 7lbs higher at 114 (edit at 5:25: hurdle rating is 112, so 5lbs higher). Not taking any other factors into account, would this make him well handicapped?

If we do take another factor into account, the race is 0 - 105, so he just sneaks in. Would this make him handicapped even better for this particular race?
 
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#5
I thought a well handicapped horse was one that was in form and running off a lower mark than it had previously won with.
I agree that's the traditional way of considering a well handicapped horse, but wondered if the steps that I described above are an alternative method?o

I'm sure that I recall a couple of weeks ago, an ITV racing presenter highlighted a winner who ran off a much lower hurdle mark than their chase rating. Wish I could remember the horse!
 
#6
Sometimes @Jamie in spotting a well H'capped horse it can be even out of form, i find on the flat it is best to rate them of the courses they have run on and see what weights they have carried before as well. But checking the going and sometimes the size of the field can be relevant also, so as a horse can get his favourite running postion and still maybe win, and of course the draw which on some courses and with large fields is hard to figure out.

So yes as above try and get like for like.
 
#7
Hi @Jamie

There are various ways of deciding that a horse is well handicapped. Sometimes a Chaser will have improved over the larger obstacles and then drop back into a Hurdle off its last Hurdle Mark.

Sometimes a Horse has moved Yards and that will bring about improvement

Robin Of Locksley runs in the Haydock 3.40 and was previously with Dan Skelton who had if I remember correctly had his horse vaccinated against Equine Flu. Sometimes it will affect the hires performance. Switched to Caroline Bailey in March and won first time out for her. Will be racing off 8 lbs higher from Saturday and will not be able to even race in this class ceiling. The gamble that the Trainer has to take is will the horse have goten over its exertions with a quick return
 
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#8
Good points, as ever, @Chesham . Paul Nicholls once said that his string were inoculated in January each year and were sometimes off colour for a short while after. I suspect the Skeltons do the same and the same effect occurs.

There is some sort of tie up between the Skeltons and Caroline Bailey. Harry rides her chasers with some success and Robin of Locksley has been moved to her. Perhaps some family connection.? Robin ought to win today but is naturally very short.
 
#10
I've just watched the full race as my stream was playing up yesterday and have only just looked at Zerachiel's past record. Three modest non handicap hurdle attempts before being switched to fences. Two previous 0 - 120 chase races (rated 115 & 112) and then yesterday's 0 - 105 off 107.

From that evidence I'd consider it fair to say that he was well treated yesterday when compared to his two other chase races and it's something that I will be looking more in depth into in future and perhaps look into past races.
 
#11
Hi @Jamie

There are various ways of deciding that a horse is well handicapped. Sometimes a Chaser will have improved over the larger obstacles and then drop back into a Hurdle off its last Hurdle Mark.

Sometimes a Horse has moved Yards and that will bring about improvement
Hi @Chesham i know i use to follow the jumps years ago, and then found alot of the times when a horse was put over fences and won sometimes high class events, then switched back to hurdles even off a lower weight they could not tackle the change in many cases, i dont know about nowadays. Because it is about 1990 since i last looked at any serious jump form so with new training methods does it work now i wonder.

The other one if a horse has moved yards how is one to tell, you do say sometimes though, but in a few cases it will but depending how a horse settles and likes its new surroundings i suppose similar to ourselves just things to consider. Maybe is just me but i have always prefered to go on what a horse has shown upfront with any new conditions or returning to older ones.
 
#12
Hi @Chesham i know i use to follow the jumps years ago, and then found alot of the times when a horse was put over fences and won sometimes high class events, then switched back to hurdles even off a lower weight they could not tackle the change in many cases, i dont know about nowadays. Because it is about 1990 since i last looked at any serious jump form so with new training methods does it work now i wonder.

The other one if a horse has moved yards how is one to tell, you do say sometimes though, but in a few cases it will but depending how a horse settles and likes its new surroundings i suppose similar to ourselves just things to consider. Maybe is just me but i have always prefered to go on what a horse has shown upfront with any new conditions or returning to older ones.
I run a Thread on The Blog called Well In

Same horse two wins in quick succession one over Chase and then dropped to Hurdles

First race (Won)

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.09.png

Next Race (Won) Points to Note, won a Handicap Chase but escaped the Penalty as the next race was a Hurdle Race

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.32.png Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.47.png
 
#14
I seem to remember Brian Ellison saying that he expected all his chasers should better their hurdling mark. By a substantial margin too. Maybe that's because horse patently suited to hurdles aren't going to try chasing seriously or horses that are going to make good chasers are marking time hurdling. Then you have French horses who are schooled earlier and more intensively so they might have less improvement. Of course sires and dams might tell you more as would conformation as to that likelihood. It would also be affected by the actual fences and hurdles some are easier or more difficult than others.

Generally speaking, from my own experience, a well handicapped horse is usually spotted after the event.

The biggest problem I usually have is to do with field size. Its much easier to gauge form with more yardsticks, knowing the worth or lack of it, of a small field race is much trickier. Do you take it literally or with a pinch of salt? Sunnytahgliatehian beat a small field of trees last time out so how do you assess its chances today? Riddlestown can be a well handicapped horse at Southwell and useless somewhere else. And of course a horse can be well handicapped in the context of a field but not per se. ie, a horse 14lbs out of the handicap is well handicapped compared to a horse 28lbs out of the handicap, especially if the top weight hasn't run for a year, hates the ground, is ridden by a 10lb claimer and can't act on the course. Extreme example but illustrates the point. If you really do have a well handicapped horse, you won't want to waste it, wherever they send it should tell you all they know about the horses preferences, unless their hand is forced by an imminent rise or a change of ground looming. And........ Unless of course that horse might be Irish trained or by Jonjo, in which case knowing it's well handicapped wont stop them trying to get a few more pounds off before the money is down. Oh the glorious uncertainty of horse racing.
 
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#16
Excuse me interrupting gentlemen, but I'm more into pedigrees today at Ayr in the 2:45...CHESTERFIELD won at 12/1 the sire Pivotal dam sire Dubai Millennium, not until you look at the form and distance travelled....Salisbury to Ayr and reading the blog on the trainers site, stating that the trainer was traveling up, would I even consider betting on it.
 
#19
It was the Trainers first winner when he has sent a Hurdler to Scotland, so the Distance Travelled is irrelevant pre race, in fact prior to yesterday, if the Trainer has sent a Hurdler further than 117 miles, he has had 7 winners from 92 runners
 
#20
Afternoon All - well it’s a big week ahead for Team Mullins, off to Ayr to land some decent prizes but back to that in a moment as I must not forget to mention, regrettably, the Annual Charity race at Larkhill this Saturday has been cancelled due to the lack of rain resulting already in the ground being too firm.
Great shame as it's always well supported from people at the yard. This year Philippa Downing was making her 100th appearance, Tracey Keeping was intending to make a virgin debut whilst Ronnie Ridout obviously had no intention of turning up - despite horse and colours etc all being arranged – he buggered off to Cape Verde with Michelle to avoid his overweight being announced over the speaker system (1 stone overweight I understand, more than that when he returns back to this country!).
Never mind Ronnie, there is always next year – plenty of time to prepare and even Kevin Watson from Caloona Racing is in training after threatening to take part. – just 5 stone to go Kev, plenty of time to lay off those pies.

Right, I digress, back to the week ahead.

Stable going well, Romeo Americo won for the Racing Club last Sunday at Plumpton and we’ve had a couple of seconds this week with Flugzeug (yes I know there were only two runners but they all count!) and I See You Well.

Reg called me this week in his excitement once he heard from the Boss that he was off to Ayr on another jolly boys outing with James.

I did have to tell him that Ayr was in Scotland so take some warm clothes; I think he had just packed his Speedos thinking he was off to a warmer climate!

I spoke to Steph in the office earlier in the week and she said she was going to be the brains in the office, Mission Control she called it!, as the Boss was going up North via saddling a few winners at Southwell. God help the rest of us but I was assured as I heard Ali rustling in the biscuit tin so she was not alone!

Steph said she had just booked the accommodation for Reg and James, a twin room above a pub? All sounded a bit rough and ready, a bit seedy? At least that’s better than last time they went to Aintree because they had to share a double bed on that occasion!

When I told Reg this he said it will be ok this time as he would be taking a cork for his bottom! I presumed then all the food and champagne must have upset his stomach at Aintree but I didn’t want to ask.

Dan was cracked up laughing because they will have to share a twin room – he thinks he ‘s sorted because him and Seamus are travelling up to Ayr together after Southwell – again, finding accommodation en route and he was happy to tell me that Seamus always stays in a decent place.

I was quick to agree with him, Yes Seamus does always stay in a decent place but when I spoke to him this week the only four poster bed you have in mind Dan will be an upturned park bench somewhere on Southwell High Street!

Dan quipped back that was untrue because he had his passport packed to get into Scotland!

I told him the Boss also added that he hoped you liked Scotland because if you don’t ride a double on Saturday on both Chesterfield and Somchine you won’t be getting a lift home and it’s a damn long walk!

All good fun and looking forward to a memorable weekend ahead. We are a professional yard! Good luck Reg and if I don’t see you again Dan please send us down some shortbread!

Regards to all, Paul