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Thursday 20 June 2013

The Wokingham Handicap - Facts, figures and early thoughts.

This Saturday sees the competitive Wokingham Handicap take place at Royal Ascot and it looks a very competitive race as always and the runners will be spread right across the track.

Looking at the field there would appear to be only one confirmed front runner in the 31 (3 reserves) and that is Poole Harbour, who is currently the first reserve, drawn in stall 8. Secret Witness, Ancient Cross and Mass Rally, all hold up horses, are drawn close by so if he does run then he looks likely to have an uncontested lead on the far side. If this is the case then Poole Harbour would give a toe into the race for the likes of Hitchens, Nocturn and Mass Rally and we may see the high drawn horses moving over to join up.
Over on the stands side ie in the top half of the draw we have a total of  9, possibly 10, hold up horses with jockeys such as Moore, Queally and Dettori closest to the rail and Hughes, Spencer, Fortune and Fallon drawn 17, 22, 23 and 24 so it's going to be competitive as to who gets what run and there may be some hard luck stories if the field splits into two groups like last season and many times before.
At this stage I feel it is vital to the whole shape of the race whether Poole Harbour runs or not because if he doesn't and there's no real front runner in the race it may all come down to who has got the best finishing kick. With that in mind the way Duke Of Firenze finished at Epsom and that he is positioned bang on the stands rail for this you would have to give him a real chance of winning.
Still it may be prudent to wait until we know the exact field before staking any money.
There is also first time hood for Ladyship and visor for Our Jonathan.

History : First run on 21st July 1813 it was named after the town near the course. It was in this race that Lester Piggott recorded his first Royal Ascot win on Malka's Boy in 1952. 
Draw Record last 5 years :
2012 : 15, 23, 16, 6 (28) Good
2011 : 11, 16, 15, 3 (25) Soft
2010 : 31, 20, 28, 18 (27) Good to Firm
2009 : 4, 5, 7, 24 (26) Good to Firm
2008 : 1, 26, 6, 23 (27) Good to Firm
Age of Winner : 6, 4, 5, 4, 4
2012 Result - 1st Dandy Boy, 2nd Waffle, 3rd Hawkeyethenoo, 4th Morache Music
2011 : 1st Deacon Blues, 2nd Waffle, 3rd Pastoral Player, 4th Anne of Kiev
2010 : 1st Laddies Poker Two, 2nd Striking Spirit, 3rd Palace Moon, 4th Knot in Wood
2012 Review - The field unsurprisingly soon split into two, with 15 going far side and 13 coming stands´ side. Although there didn´t seem to be that much between the two groups, the far-side were always just ahead and five of the first six home raced on that flank. The winning time was 0.23 seconds faster than Black Caviar took to win the Diamond Jubilee.
The winner raced on the far side, held up, he made headway 2f out, he switched left over 1f out and ran on inside final furlong to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
17 of the last 19 winners had run no more than 4 times earlier in the season. Dandy Boy was the second 6 year old to win in the last 10 years the other being Baltic King in 2006 and the race tends to go to a progressive 4 or 5 year old. Since 2002 six winners have been in the top 2 in the betting.
Time - 1 min 13.87s