Apprentice handicaps are not often the most reliable of contests as far as form goes, but in the 4.05 Class 6 handicap at Kempton, Gracious George just looks too big at odds of 6/17.00+6006.006.00-0.17, and looks like a decent each-way bet.
Gracious George is trained by the shrewd operator Jimmy Fox. The 5 year old gelding has an affinity for the all-weather, and had a productive winter campaign last year. The son of Oratorio won two Class 5 handicaps last December/January, and then went very close in a Class 4 contest over the same course. Was rated as high as 74 and looked a fair all-weather performer. The summer has been less fruitful for Gracious George, which comes as no surprise as he is less at home on turf, and as a result of a few moderate outings, his rating has dropped to 65. The benefit of a sub-par season is that Fox’s runner can now contest Class 6 contests – a nice drop in grade.
Gracious George is likely to drop in from stall 9 and should be travelling well turning for home under promising apprentice Gary Mahon. He has the potential to go back up in grade this winter and looks to have a great chance.
6.10 Kempton – Oceanographer
Oceanographer bounced back to form in no uncertain terms last time out, bolting up by 8 lengths in a Class 4 handicap at Chelmsford, and despite racing off a 14lb higher mark, he looks like a high quality animal who may very well progress to pattern company next year.
After a solid debut run and a subsequent victory at Pontefract, Oceanographer went off a strong odds on favourite for his first start of the turf season in April. Bombed out that day, and there was clearly an issue as the horse was not seen again until last month at Chelmsford. That problem has clearly be resolved as the horse showed enthusiasm and ability when bounding clear on comeback run at the Essex track.
The main danger looks to be the Michael Appleby trained Lahayeb. Michael Appleby’s filly was a strong improver on turf this season and she went off favourite for a Listed contest at Nottingham. The ground was very heavy that day and she did not perform, but cannot be discounted on her previous endeavours. The off-putting fact is that she really seems to prefer turf (0/4 on the all-weather compared to 3/6 on turf).
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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