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Pricewise: Ebeneezer no mean bet from his high draw.

Byline: Tom Segal

Let's be honest, plenty of eyes will be on The Belfry this afternoon, and I can't imagine too many will be switching channels for another impossible six-furlong handicap if Monty's got a five-footer to beat Tiger down the 18th.

However, we don't have to watch a race to have a bet in it, and Jonny Ebeneezer does look worth a nibble at 14-1 for the Brunswick Handicap at Ascot (3.45) this afternoon.

Obviously, this is a very difficult race in which luck is going to play a huge part, but don't go worrying about any draw biases because, while a low number might ideally be preferable, competitive sprint handicaps are nearly always won by horses obtaining clear runs rather than those having any discernible draw advantage.

Think back to the Wokingham at this track at the Royal meeting. Yes, Capricho was very well-handicapped at the time, but surely the biggest assistance he had was that his high draw meant he could come with a sweeping late run up the outside, while his major rivals got in each others' way up the inner.

That could well be the downfall for hold-up, well-fancied horses like Mr Toad, Greenslades and Green Line, who are all drawn in single figures.

Stick with Jonny Ebeneezer, who is proven in big handicaps and who came back from a summer break better than ever when winning a competitive sprint at Goodwood last time on ground much faster than officially advertised.

He seemed to win with plenty in hand that day and the form is working out well, so don't worry about his 5lb rise, and with the top 5lb claimer Ryan Moore renewing the partnership, he should run a big race.

The worry is sure to be the ground as he is known to prefer a bit of cut, but he didn't seem inconvenienced on the downhill Goodwood track last time and the reports are that the watering at Ascot this week has been quite extensive.

He may well get away with it on the first day of this three-day meeting, and as already suggested, his draw in stall 15 isn't a problem at all.

Pic Up Sticks could be the biggest danger, having run well on every single start this season. That includes last time in the Ayr Gold Cup when he surprisingly raced very close to the pace. He has always seemed better when held up.

Prior to that he had comfortably seen off Green Line, despite a possible draw hindrance, and quite how he's five points bigger than that same rival today makes no sense to me. The problem with him is not his ability to win a race like this or his handicap mark, it is whether he has had too hard a season.

The one for the big money this morning could well be the unexposed Greenslades, who beat Green Line earlier in the season and could well have got in here lightly. His stable has finally come out of the doldrums and nearly always has a top sprinter in its midst. However, there is a chance he'll want softer ground and he really is very inexperienced for a race of this nature.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2002
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