Ashforth’s Angles: One of them has to win!
Mick Easterby: would clean up in a race for horses trained by the over 70s
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) Ashforth's Angles: One of them has to win! By David Ashforth 17:50pM 22 AUG 2016
CONSIDER, if you can be bothered, the maiden handicap; a race for horses that haven't won one yet but – HEY – one of them's about to win one now!
At Yarmouth at 3.00pm seven serial losers are due to line up for the totequadpot Maiden Handicap. A few minutes later one will no longer be eligible for maiden handicaps or maiden races of any kind. It will have become a winner.
The horse that stands out is Ali Bin Nayef but only because he's been trying to win a race since he was two and, now a four-year-old, has had 15 tries without success. There are a lot of horses like him and it's a pity there aren't some more imaginative races on offer for them.
I'd like to see a maiden handicap where the weight to be carried is based on the number of races they've lost. Admittedly, the 15 races Ali Bin Nayef has lost has something to do with the fact that he's the lowest rated horse in the Yarmouth race but horses could get a weight concession for having lost 10 races, a bigger one for having lost 15 and an enormous one for having lost 30. Their long suffering owners deserve no less.
There are lots of other races I'd like to see. I'd like to see a handicap over one and a half miles for horses that have run at least eight times but never beyond one mile. And I'd like to see a similar race over five furlongs for horses that, since their juvenile days, have never raced at shorter than one mile. I think it would be fun, at least for me.
I'd also like to see races confined to horses trained by trainers aged over 70, with horses getting a llb allowance for every year of age over 70. Mick Easterby would clean up. The fields might be small but then they often are already.
Two horses draw the eye in the Yarmouth race. Both Notice and Alsacienne are appearing for the first time in a handicap, having run the statutory three times. How the handicapper has alighted on 67 as Notice's rating is a mystery, Notice having been beaten 11.5 lengths, 13 lengths and 17.5 lengths in successive maiden fillies' races.
Most recently, David Simcock's filly finished fifth of six, 16 lengths behind another three-year-old rated 78, on level weights, and 12.5 lengths behind a five-year-old rated 92, claiming 11lb. The rating of 67 may not have been plucked out of mid-air but where has it been plucked from?
Then there's Alsacienne, unraced since last autumn. From a family familiar to trainer Sir Mark Prescott, Alsacienne is rated 62. Against this unprepossing lot, it would be disappointing if she can't be involved at the winning post.
Life's full of disappointments, as anyone who has been backing stablemate Monjeni will know. At Newbury (7.20) he's having his ninth go at not being a maiden. Favourite for three of his last five races, good luck Rosie Jessop, be careful everyone else.