11th - 14th September 2019

Ante-Post Focus

Gary Nutting has a selection online for the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday.

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Published 15 October

BIOMETRIC may have been undervalued in the Balmoral Handicap market as a course-and-distance Britannia winner on easy ground.

Ralph Beckett’s colt made quite an impression on his handicap debut at Royal Ascot, coming from a long way back to cut down clear favourite Turgenev well inside the final half-furlong and score by a length and quarter going away.

That performance was even more meritorious given he had made his debut just two months earlier and his previous efforts - two wins and a second - had come in smaller fields over shorter trips on faster ground.

Blessed with a Group-class pedigree (he’s a half-brother to Lockinge-Eclipse-Prince Of Wales’s runner-up Phoenix Tower and closely related to Gordon Richards-St Simon winner Day Flight), he remains a horse of some potential despite two subsequent defeats.

Both have come on quick summer ground, which perhaps is not his ideal now he’s operating at a higher level, and though his Group 3 effort at Goodwood was too bad to be true (beaten a long way despite going off 5-1 third favourite), his York run last time suggested a mark of 101 (up 9lb from Ascot) is not beyond him granted more favourable circumstances.

Drawn widest of the 16 runners over the round mile that day, he did a lot of early running to gain a prominent position yet managed to stay on well enough to claim fifth place.

Beckett, whose stable in on a high right now, has freshened him up with this end-of-season target in mind and there is enough encouragement in his lineage to think he might handle the very testing conditions - granddam Bonash was a dual Group winner in soft ground in France.

The extreme ground might just produce the five defections he needs above him to get in and a guaranteed low weight is another potential advantage - compare his situation to that of Turgenev, who is only a pound worse off but will have to shoulder 9st 10lb if taking his chance.

Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo.@horsetraderinfo

Ante-Post Focus