Benatar Interesting Back in a Handicap at Ascot
The Gary Moore trained Benatar has ran six times over the bigger obstacles, winning three races. He has only been seen in handicap company once out of those six races and that was on his chasing debut, a race which he won by nearly four lengths. Since then he has been running in better quality races, finishing behind some very good horses and winning two more events. He returns to handicap company on Saturday at Ascot for the first time since that debut chase run, and he looks handicapped to have a great chance of winning.
He won his debut chase race off a mark of 142 and while that may not have been the strongest race, and certainly nowhere near as strong as this one, you could argue using that form line alone that he is more than capable of winning a handicap off his current mark, which is 149. However, since that he has done even more to prove that he is well handicapped, and on much of his form a case can easily be made for him to be rated in the 150s.
After winning a novice chase at Plumpton, he won a Grade Two novice chase this time last year at this course over three miles. He had Finian’s Oscar and Dolos in behind him on that occasion, two good yard sticks to measure him by. He went onto the Cheltenham Festival after that and finished third in that race, running really well.
He has ran twice so far this season, finishing fourth on both occasions. The first run of the season was a little disappointing but he pulled very hard and didn’t settle which is something to excuse him for. His second run was much better, finishing fourth behind Politologue here at this course in a Grade Two.
He will need to settle better like he did last time if he is to have any chance in this race, but assuming that Jamie Moore can do that, he appears to have a fantastic chance here. The field of 12 will help him find plenty of cover, and expect Jamie to do all he can to switch him off for the first circuit.
On many pieces of form there is little doubt that Benatar should be rated in the 150s, and that gives him an excellent chance of going close at Ascot on Saturday and he looks to be one of the main bets of the day.