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Ascot preview: Balmoral Handicap (15.45)

| 17.10.2015

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.

Ger Lyons, trainer of Bear Cheek The Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann 22.08.2015

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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Coral’s top tip: Sacrificial looks decent value to take another step forward and land the spoils for Ireland. Gabriel’s Lad can go well at a track he likes



David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.