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Thursday, 5 November 2015

3:30 Doncaster, Saturday, November 7th

The Betfred November Handicap, run over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Doncaster, has produced winners at 20/1 (twice), 14/1 (twice) and 10/1 in the last ten years and, with a maximum field of 23 runners going to post on Saturday, is the perfect way for us to bid farewell to the Flat racing season.

Litigant (16/1) has already done this column a favour this season, when returning from a 16-month absence to win the Betfred Ebor, over 1 mile 6 furlongs, at York in August at odds of 33/1. Joseph Tuite’s 7-year-old has run just once since, when ninth of thirteen, beaten 9¼ lengths, behind Flying Officer in the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Cup at Ascot three weeks ago, but hardly had the run of the race on that occasion. He should be suited by Town Moor, especially on soft going, and it’ll be fascinating to see how he goes back at 1 mile 4 furlongs off his revised mark. Oisin Murphy, who won on him at York, has been claimed by Qatar Racing for Argus, but George Baker, who won on him twice for previous trainer Seamus Durack, is an able deputy.

Storm Force Ten (16/1) ran inexplicably badly when last of eleven, beaten 7¾ lengths, behind Argus over course and distance two weeks ago, but was entitled to have needed that run, his first since May, and may be capable of much better. Certainly, his early-season form with subsequent Chester Cup and Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris entitles him to respect and he was, frankly, just too bad to be true last time.

Seamour (12/1) doesn’t really fall into the ‘outsider’ category in race where the major bookmakers bet 6/1 the field and 12/1 bar two, but Brian Ellison’s decision to run him here, rather than in the Cesarewitch, over 2 miles 2 furlongs, at Newmarket in September could be a shrewd move. The Azamour gelding weakened in the closing stages of the Doncaster Cup when last seen in September and, although his recent wins have come over 2 miles, he may not be unduly inconvenienced by dropping back in distance, especially on soft going.

So, there you go Flat racing fans, in our final ‘tilt’ of the 2014/15 season, our three against the field are, in no particular order, Litigant (16/1), Storm Force Ten (16/1) and Seamour (12/1). Good luck!

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