The recent OK Grand Challenge race meeting at Borrowdale Park had significantly larger fields than we have become used to.
Personally, I am quite happy with 8 to 10 runners – less reason for bumping and boring – but owners want their horses to race, and punters enjoy the challenge.
Surprisingly, the nominations for the June 23rd meeting number 92, with 24 horses entered for the 1700m MR 65 Handicap. It remains to be seen how many will stand their ground, but assuming we end up with a field of 18, what could we learn from the 2021 OK Grand Challenge, run over 1800m on June 5, with a field of 18?
Prior to that race I agonised over wide draws – something I haven’t been too bothered about of late. However, on the day, the first 10 horses across the line were drawn 9, 1, 6,10, 20, 12, 13, 2, 19 and 3, respectively. Weight was also an issue, but really? Referring to the first 10 again, they carried 55.5, 59, 52, 54.5, 56.5, 56.5, 56,5, 54, 52 and 54.5 kgs.
The Tote favourite for the OK Grand Challenge was Holy Land, drawn 6, and only carrying 52 kgs – which ticked all the boxes – and he finished third – while Finchatton (9) and Peggson (1) finished in front of him giving away 3.5 and 7 kgs. Although Peggson was drawn 1 he lost two lengths at the start which cancelled that advantage.
So, what can we assume moving forward? Be pleased if the horse you fancy has a good galloping weight and is drawn well – but don’t despair when that doesn’t happen because ability also counts a great deal.
One can also put one’s faith in a lucky pin and just carry on punting for fun.
Photograph by Andrew Philip.