fighting-fifth-2022

BHA handicapper Andrew Mealor highlights the main rating changes following the weekend’s big fixtures at Newbury and Newcastle…

Hurdlers Ascot’s loss was very much Newcastle’s gain as Constitution Hill produced another sublime performance in landing the Grade 1 Betfair Fighting Fifth on his delayed reappearance. Last season’s outstanding novice enhanced both his form (up 3 lb to 173) and standing with an easy twelve-length success over the 2021 Fighting Fifth dead-heaters Epatante (154) and Not So Sleepy (158). As the table below shows, Constitution Hill is already close to the top two-milers of recent times after just four career starts and the firm expectation is that he’ll rate higher himself in due course.

Highest-rated performances in handicap chases 2022-23 (up to 26/11/22)

Champ and Jonjo O’Neill Jr

Newbury’s Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle provided a much closer finish courtesy of a stirring battle between Champ and Paisley Park who both ran right up to their pre-race figures of 161 and 160 respectively. Proschema was a notable disappointment among the beaten horses and the form of his Grade 2 win at Wetherby has been eased back to 153.

It was a good weekend all round for the Nicky Henderson yard who had a further four winners on Friday and Saturday, including promising hurdling debutants Jet Powered and Luccia, and Gerry Feilden winner First Street. The last-named was placed in both the Betfair Hurdle and County Hurdle last term and he progressed a bit further on his return in defying top-weight, earning himself a 4 lb rise to 150.

Chasers Constitution Hill wasn’t the only top-class performer on show at Newcastle where L’Homme Presse put himself firmly in the Gold Cup picture with an excellent performance off top-weight in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase. The winning margin was only a length over the progressive Into Overdrive (up 4 lb to 142) but he looked to have something left in the tank at the finish and a 6 lb rise to 170 has him level with Betfair Chase winner Protektorat among the GB staying chasers at this early stage of the campaign. It was also another notable performance by a highly-rated chaser in a handicap this season.

Highest-rated performances in handicap chases 2022-23 (up to 26/11/22)

No8 Le Milos and -Harry Skelton

Newbury’s big handicap – run for the first time as the Coral Gold Cup – went to favourite Le Milos (151), who made the most of being 4 lb well-in under a penalty having won well at Bangor since the weights were published. Recent hurdle winner Remastered was clear of the rest in second and he’s gone back up to his previous peak figure of 146 (+3 lb).