horse racing

Six well-handicapped National Hunt horses you need on your side this season (Pt II)…

Today I give you part II of my 6 well-handicapped horses for the 2012/13 National Hunt season.

If you missed part I then you can view the post here.

*Key = Horse name (Trainer) | Dosage Figures

AIKMAN (J Ewart) | 2-0-14-4-4 | (20+) (24) | 0.60 | -0.33

Current handicap mark – 127 (Chase) 137 (Hurdle)

Things didn’t quite go to plan for the Rudimentary gelding last term in his first season chasing. It started OK for him on his seasonal debut when he recorded a thumping and bloodless hurdling victory in a race that was only really meant to blow the cobwebs away. His attentions were then switched to chasing and a 2 mile beginners’ chase at Carlisle. This trip was always likely to be on the short side for him and he simply did not have the pace to go with the front 2, finishing a decent 3rd behind two quality novices’ in Frascati Park and Bold Sir Brian. He then took in a Graduation Chase back at the same track where he finished 2nd to the more experienced 2nd season chaser Sarando. Again this was a credible effort. His 3rd chase start was at Newcastle but he was disappointing that day, finishing a well beaten 51L 3rd of 5. Reports were, however, that he burst a blood vessel that day and as such a line can easily be put through that run. His 4th and final chase start of the campaign came at Newcastle where he finished a decent 3rd of 11 although he never really threatened the winner at any stage of the contest.

For one reason or another things never really got going for him over the larger obstacles but the upside of that is the rather tasty handicap mark he has found himself on. I simply cannot believe that he isn’t some way better than a mark of 127 and as such there has to be handicap options for him this season. In fact I would suggest he is probably better than a 137 rated hurdler and if connections are so inclined there must also be handicap hurdling opportunities for him as well.

If we a look closer at his form we can see that all 4 of his career victories have come when he has been allowed to bowl along at the front of the pack. Interestingly he was never really put to the front in any of his 4 chase starts. Is this the key to him? I would suggest it would certainly be a benefit to ‘give him his head’ and allow him to attack the race from the front, from a mark of 127 he could well prove impossible to catch.

There must also be a thought that he is more comfortable when going right-handed…

Form when racing right-handed – 1-F-2-1-1-3-2

Form when racing left-handed – 7-6-1-3-3

There may not be a great deal in this as 2 of those left-handed runs were in Grade 1 contests but the consensus (from trainer and jockey) has generally been that he is a much better animal going right-handed.

AIKMAN Ideal Conditions – Handicap Chase or Hurdle | Right-handed track | Allowed to front-run

OZETA (N Henderson) | 5-0-8-3-0 |  (16) | 1.29 | 0.44

Current handicap mark – 119

This French bred filly came here with some decent flat form to her name (a Listed victory at Longchamp) as well as a convincing Listed hurdle victory on her only National Hunt start. She was pitched straight into Grade 2 company at Cheltenham for her British debut and actually travelled as well as the eventual winner Hinterland (P Nicholls) for the majority of the contest, only giving way between the final 2 flights and possibly fading as she met the final climb for home. She then disappointed badly on her next start at Sandown before strolling away with a Juvenile fillies contest at Taunton. The Taunton race looked a weakish contest at the time although it has to be said the form has worked out well enough since. She finished her season being well beaten in a valuable handicap at Fairyhouse but as a 4yo filly taking on older horses (and the opposite sex) there is every reason to think she simply wasn’t physically ready for that assignment.

If we go back to her Cheltenham run it is not hard to believe that a mark of 119 is extremely lenient for the filly. She certainly travelled like a horse that was at the very least capable of a mark in the mid 130’s, if not higher. It could well be that she just needed another summer on her back to mature and if this indeed has been the case then she will laugh at her 119 mark.

Her sire Martaline is one that I am extremely keen on. His current crop consists of the likes of Dynaste, Toubab, Barbatos and Pique Sous and I have him marked as a sire to follow in coming season’s. Ozeta’s breeding suggests that she may well be capable of seeing out trips around the 2m4/5f mark although she also clearly possesses plenty of speed and can just as easily make a mark over or around 2 miles.

OZETA showed glimpses last season that she has ability and provided she has summered well I see no reason to believe she can’t make a mockery of her 119 rating.

OZETA Ideal Conditions – Handicap Hurdles | 2 miles although should be effective up to 2m5f | Possibly better on a flat track

TRIOLO D’ALENE (N Henderson) | 2-1-6-3-0 | (12) | 1.00 | 0.17

Current handicap mark – 138

We have seen precious little of this 5yo on these shores but what we have witness is a horse that is clearly talented, if a little rough around the edges. He is a big, well built individual and my initial impressions of him were that he could be done with a summer off filling out his massive frame.

He came to the Henderson yard after winning his first 2 starts in France and lined up in a Novice Handicap Chase at Ascot for his British debut on the 21st of January. Despite more than a few errors he still ran out a fairly convincing winner. His next start was at the Cheltenham Festival in the novice Handicap won by Hunt Ball. He again was less than fluent that day and that run has to go down as a valuable learning experience for the youngster. He rounded off his novice season with a solid 2nd in a competitive Handicap Chase at Market Rasen.

He was far from over-faced last season and all 3 runs will have added vital experience to his chasing CV in preparation for a second season over birch. The signs were that he had learned plenty from his first 2 UK starts and as such his jumping was much more assured at Market Rasen. He looked very much ‘work in progress’ last term and coming into this season on a mark of 138 gives connections plenty to work with.

TRIOLO D’ALENE Ideal Conditions – Handicap chase | 2m4/5f although should stay 3m+ | Possibly better with cut in the ground (Good to Soft or worse)

If you missed Part I of my ‘6 well-handicapped horses’ post then catch up with it at the following link –

Six well-handicapped National Hunt horses you need on your side this season (Pt I)…

If you want to get your hands on an array of FREE NTF Guides then please visit this page – FREE NTF Guides – and drop your name in the ‘signup‘ box.

Joining the FREE NTF service also means you will be able to claim a discount on the NTF 2012/13 National Hunt service.

Ben (NTF)

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