Friday, February 11, 2011

Moore hoping for more Totesport glory

Many serious punters like to consider trends when assessing the relative merits of horses ahead of major races. Anyone looking at the results of the Totesport Trophy at Newbury over the last few seasons will see instantly that trainer Gary Moore has landed two of the last three renewals of what is undoubtedly one of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the whole National Hunt season.

In 2007, Moore sprang something of a shock when his 50/1 shot Heathcote won in the hands of the trainer's son Jamie. Just to prove that win was no fluke, Moore senior and junior repeated the feat just 12 months later when their Wingman won at horse racing betting odds of 14/1, running off bottom weight of 10 stones.

This year Moore is represented by another bottom weight Sircozy, a horse who will run from 4lbs out of the handicap having a true allocated weight of 9st 10lbs. Because the minimum weight for the contest is 10 stones, then effectively the five-year-old is 4lbs 'wrong' at the weights. Is the horse a complete no-hoper then, (as his odds of around 66/1 suggest) or could he spring another major surprise in the way that Heathcote did four years ago?

On the face of it Sirkozy has a great deal to do having run only moderately after a winter break when sixth of seven runners at Taunton in a run-of-the-mill handicap. His two earlier efforts this season when third at Huntingdon and then when second at Sandown in a fair event, suggest that here is a horse who is best suited by two miles, who goes on decent ground, and who is probably best suited by a big field where he can be covered up and produced late.

The Celtic Swing gelding is likely to encounter most, if not all of the above, so don't be surprised if Gary Moore's charge runs far better than his bare form might suggest in a race his handler knows exactly how to win.

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