Past Winners » Open Eagle


I am backing Open Eagle for Saturday’s November Handicap this morning (at 12/1, or the 16/1 that is available in a place).

We had David O’Meara’s horse on side when he finished fourth in a good handicap over Saturday’s course and distance 10 days ago. He travelled well to the three-furlong pole that day, but just couldn’t match Latenightrequest’s finishing surge, and he lost two places inside the final 100 yards.

He is a horse who likes soft ground, but the ground was heavy that day according to Timeform, and it may be that heavy ground and a mile and a half just stretches him a little beyond his limit. He handles soft ground well, and he stays 12 furlongs, but he just appeared to get tired inside the final furlong that day.

He actually ran at Redcar yesterday, and he won, which was a little frustrating. Yesterday’s race was over 10 furlongs, and he needed every yard of it, even on good to soft ground, to get the better of Maven. David O’Meara said after the race that the November Handicap on Saturday was the plan, that there was nothing else for him this season, and the step back up to a mile and a half should bring about further improvement.

The Montjeu gelding was third in the November Handicap last year, and horses who do well in the race and return the following year tend to do well again. An ability to act on the track and on easy ground and at this time of year are key factors.

All the reasons for backing him in the race 10 days ago hold true for Saturday’s race. He remains a well-handicapped horse. He will get a 5lb penalty for yesterday’s win, but he won it off a mark of 86, 9lb lower than the mark off which he finished third in last year’s November Handicap, so he will still be 4lb lower than he was when he ran so well in last year’s race. Also, he needed to get a penalty if he was to guarantee himself a place in Saturday’s race, if he wasn’t going to be relying on other horses above him dropping out, so his trainer surely had one eye on Saturday in running him yesterday. He is nicely progressive again going into this year’s race, and he is handicapped to go close again … I think that he could go off a fair bit shorter than his current odds on the day.

OPEN EAGLE WON (ADV 12/1, SP 15/2)