The mile handicap at Newbury staged at 2.25pm on Saturday looks a relatively solvable puzzle with 10 runners set to go to post and plenty of reliable form on offer.
There are some top trainers represented here so let’s see how they have performed in Newbury handicaps over the past 5 years:
As you can see, William Haggas and Roger Charlton not only stand out from a win percentage perspective (30.91% and 26.67% respectively) but they are also the top trainers with representatives in this race when it comes to P&L (48.63 and 22.38 respectively). They are the only two of these trainers to have been profitable to follow blindly in handicaps.
Looking at class 2 handicaps specifically now:
Roger Charlton now jumps ahead of William Haggas with a 38.46% strike rate which is almost 3 times as strong as that of Haggas. Charlton is the only one of these trainers producing a profit in class 2 handicaps at Newbury and a very healthy profit at that (31 win profit).
The data is a bit more limited here but it certainly seems Roger Charlton is sending his better handicappers to Newbury whereas Haggas is mopping up some of the lower grade handicaps.
Let’s take a look at the runners from the Haggas and Charlton yards in this race. William Haggas runs Jahbath whilst Roger Charlton saddles Tempus.
Jahbath is 4 from 5 on the all weather and 0 from 2 on turf but that doesn’t tell the whole story. His turf runs have bookended his career to date with his debut effort coming at Salisbury in a race where he only narrowly lost out to Clara Peeters who would go on to rate in the high 80s. He was conceding experience and 6lbs on that day so it was clearly a strong effort.
His most recent turf run came after a 476 day break and although beaten more than 5 lengths, he was a creditable enough 4th on soft ground at Haydock over this one mile trip. How much he’ll improve with that run under his belt on slightly better ground is difficult to gauge.
Tempus hasn’t run for 302 days which is an unknown so it’s worth comparing Roger Charlton’s record with fresh horses in handicaps with his overall handicap record.
Since 2009 Roger Charlton has had 294 handicap runners returning from a 60+ day break and they have produced a 16.67% win rate and a 50.18 win P&L. Comparing that to all his handicap runners in this time, the strike rate is slightly improved at 17.95% but the P&L is –48.43. The market is clearly underestimating Roger Charlton horses after a break. It’s worth noting of course that a 302 day break is pretty extreme and the horse has obviously had some issues keeping him off the track.
Tempus has only had one run in handicap company and that was a slightly disappointing 4th, beaten 1.5 lengths at Wolverhampton over their extended mile. He had previously beaten Lyndon B, subsequently rated 97, giving that horse 6lbs. Given Tempus only has a mark of 91 it’s probably a fair assumption that the most recent run wasn’t his best form and whatever issue caused him to miss 10 months of racing probably affected him during that race.
Roger Charlton’s record in Newbury handicaps, and Newbury class 2 handicaps in particular, are quite enlightening. The fact that the market seems to be offering value on his runners after a break adds confidence to the feeling that Tempus might be underestimated here. His most recent turf effort, in testing conditions, suggests he is well handicapped and he could take all the beating in this race on Saturday afternoon, which is live on ITV Racing.