There has been only one winning favourite of the Sportingbet.com Handicap in the last ten years but today’s race sees plenty of support for the 11/4 favourite Mijhaar.
Having finished fourth in Group company last time out – ahead of today’s rivals Fulgur and Glencadam Gold – there are many who believe Roger Varian’s progressive three-year-old has the class to destroy this field today.
The rain might be pouring over Ladbrokes Towers, but over at Newmarket the going remains good to firm and having done all her best work on ground with cut in the ground, Mijhaar will be hoping the elements hit Newmarket pretty sharpish.
Mijhaar also has to overcome an awful draw in the middle of the 19-runner field and as the negatives pile up, the favourite has to be overlooked for this race.
Punters are looking for a horse rated at least 89, is withing 6lb of top weight, is drawn either very high or very low and has a top-six finish in a handicap.
Had the draw not been against Well Sharp (12/1) we would be strongly behind Michael Dods’ horse, but because she is drawn in stall 10, alongside Mijhaar, preference is with Labarinto (10/1) and Glencadam Gold (25/1).
There are no excuses for Glencadam Gold’s ninth place finish behind Mijhaar at Royal Ascot, but the soft ground wasn’t to his liking and a return to faster ground today will benefit Sir Henry Cecil’s three-year-old.
His win in a Class 3 handicap at Newmarket in May suggests he has the potential to trouble the market leaders and while he may not be the winner, 20/1 looks a big each-way price.
Labarinto is yet to do anything spectacular in his five career starts, a win at Warwick last Spetember is the highlight, but his second place behind Al Kazeem in the London Gold Cup at Newbury last time out is worth considering.
He has been raised 5lbs for that performance and the weight is a worry, but he finished strongly over the same distance as today’s race and there’s plenty more in him than that run suggests.