Ascot preview: Balmoral Handicap (15.45)
David Metcalf | October 16, 2015
Sacrificial has a progressive profile and looks the answer to a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of the Balmoral Handicap on British Champions Day at Ascot (15.45).
Trained in Ireland by Ger Lyons, the gelding has won three of his six starts this season and finished in the frame in the other three.
Sacrificial ran a blinder when third of 28 to War Envoy in the ultra-competitive Britannia Stakes over course and distance at the Royal meeting back in June, and then defied top weight to easily land a 12-runner handicap at Galway by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 98.
The three-year-old got put up to 106 for that success but showed he could be competitive of his revised rating when staying on strongly to be beaten just one length into third in a Listed contest at Killarney when last seen in action.
Sacrificial is a huge player judged on that effort now returned to handicap company, and his proven form in big field contests is a massive plus.
The son of Showcasing also looks the type who may have even more to offer, and with Colin Keane in the saddle everything points to a big run.
There are plenty of potential dangers, and Gabriel’s Lad is undoubtedly one of them.
Trained by Dennis Coakley, the gelding has won twice and finished in the frame twice in seven starts at the venue, and his last success came over 7f when landing the 2014 running of the ultra-competitive 25-runner Victoria Cup.
The six-year-old ran on strongly to beat Glen Moss by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 102, and went on to round off the campaign with a cracking fourth to Absolutely So in a Listed contest at York off an official rating of 109.
Gabriel’s Lad is able to race in this off the same rating as in the latter having returned to form last time out when a cracking short-head runner up to Buckstay in the Challenge Cup over 7f at this venue.
That run suggested that Gabriel’s Lad’s time was near, but this will be his first attempt over 1m.
If he does get it, then Gabriel’s Lad has the ability to go very close.
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