Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster Preview
The 2017 Flat turf season draws to a close on Saturday afternoon with the highlight being the Betfred November Handicap, the final major betting contest on the level. Thirty eight horses have been entered at Monday’s declaration stage so with a maximum permitted field of 23 the one mile four furlong contest looks sure to attract the full contingent, a situation which will please bookmakers who go 10-1 the field in the ante-post market.
Run at Doncaster since 1964 due to the closure of it’s original home of Manchester the previous year. The stable of John Gosden will be hoping to win the race for a record sixth time courtesy of the lightly-raced Royal Line but in a wide-open contest it is the 16-1 available about the Keith Dalgleish-trained Mixboy who makes most appeal with conditions looking ideal for the grey son of Fragrant Mix.
Despite being a seven-year-old the gelding is still lightly-raced, having just the three starts on Flat Turf, winning two and finishing unplaced at Ayr when racing on heavy ground over a trip of 1m 7f. Saturday’s distance of 1m 4f and less testing conditions should prove ideal for Mixboy who needs just a couple to drop out in order to make the cut.
Successful in three of his five starts over fences Mixboy ran well for a long way in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before making a bad mistake at the third-last when still bang in contention. An 11lb rise for hacking up on the Flat at Catterick on his most recent start looks harsh on the face of it but anything less would probably have seen the horse missing out on the final field of 23.
As the betting suggests, many of the entries can be easily fancied with Towerlands Park from the Michael Bell stable the most respected following a highly promising seasonal reappearance at Newbury recently. The Danehill Dancer gelding was having only his fifth career start at the Berkshire track and should come on plenty for that creditable effort, making the 12-1 offered by bet365 a worthy saver alongside Mixboy in a typically open renewal.