Low-grade handicap races – can we really trust any of the horses in this type of race?

I am talking about horses who are rated between 0-50, 0-60 or 0-65. Simply put, these horses will be wearing Kiss Me Quick hats very, very soon!

Below is a race I want to show you which should form a template for all future race types you might come across:

7 January 09

350 Wolverhampton

wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk Handicap (Class 6) (0-50, 4yo+) (1m141y) 1m?f Standard £2,047.20, £604.50, £302.40

The first thing to note here is the class of the race. We see this above in bold. This is the information you will generally see at the top of a standard Racing Post race card.

The next key element for this system is to look at the ratings of the horses, particularly as this is a handicap (see the underlined italics above).

Horses rated in the following categories are of particular interest for us regarding this type of bet.

0-50 as seen above, signifies horses rated between 0 and 50. This is their official rating, or mark (please refer to the Patriarch’s article in this regard for a fuller explanation).

Other races of interest for me would include handicaps for horses rated 0-60 and 0-65, as these are low class affairs.

The next key to the jigsaw is my close showbiz pal the price gap.

As you should know by now, the price gap is found within the betting forecast at the base of the standard race card in the Racing Post OR at http://www.racingpost.com/.

Let’s look at the betting forecast for this particular 0-60 handicap along with the Spotlight Verdict:

BETTING FORECAST: 10/11 Joe Jo Star, 8/1 Mocha Java, 10/1 King Of Cadeaux, 12/1 Dushstorm, Hi Spec, 14/1 Casablanca Minx, Maddy, Moorside Diamond, 16/1 Anduril, 25/1 Gifted Heir, The Graig, 33/1 Ridgeway Jazz, 50/1 Fish Called Johnny.

SPOTLIGHT VERDICT: In a weak handicap the obvious one of interest is four-time course winner JOE JO STAR who is on a fair mark on what he showed for Brian Baugh but looked an improved performer when making a successful debut for Richard Fahey over hurdles at Musselburgh last month.

Can you see this eye-popping price gap? Joe Jo Star is 10/11 in the betting forecast with Mocha Java 8/1 2nd favourite. That’s not a price gap – that’s a price chasm!

Now I know what you’re thinking. Would you trust these low rated horses to run to their prices?

Ordinarily I wouldn’t, but I have found that when there is a significant price gap favourite in a 0-50, 0- 60 or 0-65 handicap, then they tend to win.

We have the glass half full argument – this horse must be a standout to be priced odds-on. IN THIS LOWLY COMPANY, he must have an outstanding chance.

We have the glass half empty argument – yes, but why is this favourite running in a 0-50 handicap? He’s no Dubai Millennium!

The result?

Joe Jo Star wins.

And there you have it. SO when you next stumble upon a lowly handicap and there’s a very noticeable price gap, consider a win only bet on that favourite.

This is, as you can guess, not a stand alone system – rather a system to be used when the opportunities arise.