Take it to the Bridge!
Richard Dunwoody processes the key numbers as he looks to end the turf Flat season with the winner of the November Handicap.
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The jumping action stepped up a notch again last weekend and there's already plenty to look forward to on that front in the coming months, but this Saturday's Betfred-sponsored November Handicap on the Flat looks it's usual competitive race and I'll be hoping to end the turf Flat season with a winner.
The 1m4f handicap has been a punters nightmare in recent years as you have to look back to 1995 to find the last winning favourite - in fact 8 of the last 11 winners have returned a double-figure price in the betting with the average winning SP in recent runnings around 13/1.
With that in mind John Gosden's Lahaag, who's the favourite with most firms at this stage, might be worth swerving. However, in contrast to the bad favourites record many punters will be willing to overlook that stat based on the fact trainer John Gosden has a cracking record in the race.
He's landed the decent prize five times since 1991, most recently in 2011 with Zuider Zee, and with Paul Hanagan booked to ride he's sure to be popular after a recent York win. He's also gone well with cut in the ground before and doesn't look too harshly treated on just a 4lb higher mark.
Those against him will , however, note that he's finished out of the frame on both occasions he's been to Doncaster.
The draw has played it's part in recent years too with 9 of the last 11 winners hailing from stall 9 or higher, so take that into account when we know the draw later in the week.
Also keep horses that have run 5 or more times on your side as this trend has been a plus for 10 of the last 11 November Handicap winners, while 9 of the last 11 had won between 2 and 4 races during their career.
Previous Doncaster form is a huge plus too with 9 of the last 11 having run here before (6 has won on Town Moor), and I've already talked about the poor favourites record, but actually 9 of the last 11 market leaders also failed to even hit the frame - again, more possible good news if you are against Lahaag.
The final big trends to note are the age as 9 of the last 11 renewals have gone to horses aged 3 or 4, plus look at the weight of your fancy as 8 of the last 11 have won with 8-13 or less - again a possible negative for Lahaag, who looks set to carry 9-7.
A lot will depend on the draw (we'll know that on Thursday), but at this stage Luca Cumani's AJMAN BRIDGE and Roger Charlton's BORDER LEGEND look interesting and tick a lot of trends pluses!
November Handicap Stats
10/11 - Raced at least 5 times that season
9/11 - Unplaced favourites
9/11 - Winners that came from draw 9 or higher
9/11 - Winning distance - 2 ½ lengths or less
9/11 - Won by a horse aged 3 or 4 years-old
9/11 - Won between 2 and 4 races previously
9/11 - Raced at Doncaster previously (6 had won)
9/11 - Won over 1m4f previously
8/11 - Priced a double-figure price in the market
8/11 - Carried 8-13 or less in weight
7/11 - Placed in their last race
4/11 - Raced at Newmarket last time out
2/11 - Won their last race
2/11 - Ridden by jockey Martin Dwyer
0/11 - Winning favourites
The last winning favourite was in 1995
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