The November Handicap, run over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Doncaster, is the last major handicap of the Flat turf season (3.30pm Saturday at Doncaster, live on CH4 TV).
Last year’s winner Open Eagle was the first winning favourite since 1995 and, at the time of writing, Penhill (6/1) holds the dubious honour of heading the market. Penhill won a 0-100 handicap over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Haydock when last seen in September and has gone up 5lb in the weights as a result.
It is worth noting that Luca Cumani’s four-year-old was beaten at 2/1, 4/1 and 6/4 off a lower handicap mark on his three previous starts, so he may not be one to trust. In addition, his form tailed off towards the end of last season, so there are sufficient doubts about him to suggest he is no great value at the odds on offer.
Another to have attracted money is trainer Brian Ellison’s (pictured) Seamour (10/1), who reserves his best form for soft ground. His penultimate start was victory at Ascot on soft over 2m in a hotly contested handicap. On his latest start the good ground was arguably too quick for him and the 2m2f trip was too far. In the conditions he encounters here, he could be a major player.
Mistiroc (14/1) was an unlucky loser behind Argus (a late non-runner in this race). Mistiroc stumbled in the closing stages so it would be silly to write him off. However, he has never won beyond 1 mile 2½ furlongs or on properly soft going, so he is probably not one to go overboard about either.
Of course, there are number of viable alternatives, as you might expect in a soft ground handicap at this stage of the season. Litigant (14/1) is 7lb higher in the weights than when winning the Ebor over 1 mile 6 furlongs at York in August, but shouldn’t mind the ground and is far from fully exposed, even as a seven-year-old. He had little luck in running at Ascot three weeks ago, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run well, even under the steadier of 9st 10lb.
Villa Royale (33/1) has not been seen in public since finishing eighth of 33, beaten 9¼ lengths, behind Big Easy in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket over a year ago, so it’s interesting that Mick Appleby has decided to reintroduce her at this very late stage of the season. She is only 2lb higher in the weights than when winning a 0-90 contest over an extended 2 miles at York 18 months ago and has winning form over 1 mile 4 furlongs, so could get involved in the finish if fit and ready to do herself justice.
November Handicap Review Betting Tips Verdict
With reservations about current favourite Penhill, who actually appeals as more of a lay, this November Handicap preview is quite attracted to 14/1 shot Litigant, who has been aimed specifically at this race. The only factor that puts us off making him our betting tip is lack of winning form on soft going.
- But one horse who is best on this surface and who will not lack for stamina is SEAMOUR, and he is our selection. He should be backed each-way at current best odds of 10/1 with BetVictor.