Flat racing aficionados may be dreading the day that marks the end of the season, but the November Handicap provides an excellent way to see out the campaign.
The mile-and-a-half contest at Doncaster was won last year by David O’Meara’s Open Eagle in excellent fashion, scoring by a breathtaking 12 lengths, after forging a route all alone down the stands side.
This year’s renewal is unlikely to be quite so clear cut, but punters are already beginning to pin their colours to the mast.
Five of the current 40 have come in for plenty of support in the Ladbrokes antepost market as they bid to end 2015 with a bang.
Argus – 6/1 from 8/1
A victory over course and distance took this three-year-old’s record to three wins from five runs last month, and only saw him go up 3lbs in the handicap in the process.
Of his 10 opponents that day, nine are currently entered to reoppose him on Town Moor, but with so few runs under his belt, one would expect even more to come from Ralph Beckett’s charge.
Plenty of support has made the unexposed type outright favourite.
Zand – 16/1 from 33/1
Mark Johnston got so close to landing the Cesarewitch after a massive market move when Oriental Fox was just touched off at Newmarket. Could he go one better at Doncaster?
Also owned by Markus Graff, Zand has, on the whole, fallen down the weights since arriving at Johnston from Germany.
A Listed winner last year, he has only run in five handicaps so could yet take advantage of his falling mark, while this step back up in trip looks just the ticket.
Esteaming – 16/1 from 25/1
David Barron’s horse was a whopping 90 lengths back in 14th behind last year’s runaway winner, but comes into this year’s event off just 5lbs lower.
He hasn’t won since April last year, and while has placed a few times since, has shown little to suggest his mark is low enough to make it count.
He’s got two-and-a-half lengths to make up with Argus and could be set to struggle again.
Latenightrequest – 16/1 from 25/1
While he has a bold record in his base county of Yorkshire, Richard Fahey has yet to have a horse place in this race from 13 runners.
Support for his four-year-old is intriguing with the son of Major Cadeaux beating no more than two rivals home in his four races after finishing 11th in this last year.
He is however now 12lbs lower in the handicap and hinted at a revival when beaten three lengths at Catterick last time out.
Storm Force Ten – 16/1 from 20/1
Well beaten on return from a five-month break over course and distance at the end of October, the Robert Waley-Cohen-owned gelding bumped into some useful types during a winter hurdling campaign.
Back on the flat he got within two lengths of subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip to Paris and triumphed at Chester’s May meeting.
If leaving his last race behind him, he could be bang there on Town Moor.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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