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23 Dec 2016

The Victoria Cup (Heritage Handicap)

First published on a previous Key Racing News blog, 7th May 2016.

This century in renewals which took place at Ascot, there have been 21 runners in the first 5 who went off at prices ranging from 25/1 to 50/1, including winners at 25/1 (3 times) and 33/1. The most recent was Excellent Guest at 25/1 in 2013. Last year Lincoln was 2nd at 33/1 and Hawkeyethenoo was 3rd at 25/1. The year before Belgian Bill was 3rd at 25/1 and so it goes on. This is a race where it pays to look beyond the obvious.

All bar 20 of 21 were aged between 4 and 7yo and ridden by a jockey claiming no more than 5lbs. The clincher though are entries who last ran between 150 and 250 days ago. Most people would instinctively veer away from such types in a race like this, but when fishing for a price in this particular race, that's actually where your best chance lies. Under the above criteria; 10 win or placed (to 5 places) at SP's of 25/1 to 50/1 this century, from just 24 qualifiers - that's a 41.67% strike rate in the frame - including the winner in 2000, 2009 & 2013. Horses carrying 8-12 or less have done particularly well, but nothing can be excluded that qualifies.

If you're prepared to sit and fish year on year, over time you stand to do very well indeed. This year we have 2 possibles; Miracle Of Medinah and Red Avenger. The latter has no winning form at Ascot or on synthetics but will like fast ground and is back down to a competitive mark (former winner of the valuable Betfred Mile at Goodwood), and claims 5lbs. In truth this shapes like a pipe-opener to go back to Goodwood at some stage, but nevertheless he fits the profile.

Miracle Of Medinah will also enjoy fast ground and has form on synthetics. He's also a former winner of the Group 3 Tattersall Stakes at under today's rider (who has ridden 3 of his 4 victories). These all came as a 2yo, but since his mark became more workable he's twice gone close in valuable races at Chester in this grade or higher. He'll need a little support to come in to a 50/1 SP (currently trading 40/1 to 80/1).

Regardless of whether these yield anything in 2016, this approach turns the tables on the bookies and changes this to a race to savour where the enhanced terms play into the hands of patient players.

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:

Visit WWW.KEYRACINGNEWS.COM

** Feedback: No qualifiers this year; Red Avenger was non-runner, Miracle Of Medinah stayed unsupported at 66/1 SP. Looking forward to next year... **

Excellent Guest wins the 2013 Victoria Cup, returned at 25/1
Excellent Guest wins the 2013 Victoria Cup, returned at 25/1

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