The Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch Handicap 2m2f Newmarket Tips

cesarawitchWhile last year saw the welcome return of the market leader getting his head in front, it has been a poor contest for favourites, Withhold, (Oddsguru’s selection) being only the third Jolly to collect since the great Vintage Crop prevailed in 1992, and in the past decade we have seen winners returned at 66/1, two at 50/1, and another at 25/1 so don’t be put off by a long price. The race uniquely is run over 2 counties, (starts in Cambridgeshire and finishes in Suffolk) and has only the one slight change of direction, a gentle turn around the 10f marker, giving the 35 runners a nearly straight 2m2f to contend with. Always run at a furious gallop from flag fall, stamina is at a huge premium, so contenders without very solid staying credentials are best ignored. Irish yards, with just 2 wins in the last 50 year’s have a very poor record, but Willie Mullins, (3rd last year with Lagos To Vegas) is mob handed at the time of writing, and he’s making a determined effort this term to improve the Celtic record. He trains the  current market leader, Stratum, and this son of Dansili certainly shouldn’t fail on the stamina front.

A 5yo gelding, he is out of the stoutly bred Galileo mare, Lunar Place, and demonstrated his ample stamina credentials in this year’s 2 1/2m Ascot Stakes, keeping on strongly for 3rd place, 2 1/4L behind the winner, stablemate, Lagos To Vegas. He followed up with a comfortable Newbury victory in the 2m1/2f JLT Cup in July, and was then sent off favourite for the 1m6f Ebor Handicap at York last time where he looked unlucky. Held up in the rear by pilot Robert Winston, he was left with an awful lot to do, but still looked a real danger, impressively weaving his way through the field only to be badly hampered 1 1/2f out where he lost all chance. He should be well suited by the step back up in trip and looks fairly treated on his York mark of 102.

williemullinsConnections of the second Mullins runner, the 7yo mare, Limini, have had to be very patient as she was off the course for 503 days prior to making her comeback in a 2m1f Handicap for Qualified Riders at Galway in July, where she finished a commendable 2nd. Bought from France by the Ricci’s in May 2015 she was campaigned exclusively over hurdles in 2016 and 2017, with considerable success, winning three of her 7 starts, including a Cheltenham Festival victory over 2m1f in 2016, and she looked a tad unlucky the following year, again at Cheltenham, when beaten 1 1/2L by the top class Apple Jade over 2m4f, where presumably she sustained that injury that kept her off the racecourse for 503 days. She started a 5/1 shot for the very valuable Petingo Handicap at Leopardstown over 13f, 4 week’s ago, and under a super ride from Saturday’s pilot, Oisin Murphy, led at the furlong marker, and kept on strongly to hold her stable companion, Law Girl, by a head. Racing off the same mark on Saturday, and with Murphy again doing the steering, she has plenty to recommend her.

Ian Williams who trained last year’s ill fated runner up, London Prize, (Oddsguru’s E.W. selection) produced his 7yo, Stars Over The Sea, to win the trial for Saturday’s contest over course and distance by 10L three weeks ago. However he was allowed his own way out front and the time was slow so may struggle with another 8lbs on his back.

The Neil Mulholland trained Vis A Vis looked well suited by the step up in trip when winning a 2mile handicap on the Kempton AW last time (Aug 8) and had previously won a Class4, 14f Sandown Handicap, 53 days earlier on his debut for the stable. By the strong influence for stamina, Dansili, out of the Rainbow Quest mare, Pretty Face his pedigree is all about stamina and could be very well suited by Saturday’s trip. Neil has secured the services of last year’s winning rider, Silvestre de Sousa and looks fairly treated on his mark of 90.

The Aidan O’Brien trained 3yo, Southern France would be only the third 3yo to prevail in the last two decades, but that said, you don’t get many horses from the Classic generation, with the class to finish 3rd in a St Leger competing in The Cesarewitch, and as a son of Galileo, sire of the Ascot Gold Cup winner, Order Of St George and plenty of other staying types, it wouldn’t surprise to see the Ballydoyle colt play a leading role on Saturday.

The Ralph Beckett trained 4yo, Here and Now has won 3 of his 12 starts and was quite impressive in his penultimate race, the valuable Sky Bet Handicap over 2m1/2f at York in August. He stayed on strongly to beat the useful, Davy’s Dilemma by 5L off a mark of 91. Dropped back to 1m6f in a Chester Listed contest 6 week’s ago, he was slow coming out of the gate and never got into a challenging position, but did stay on well and was only 1 3/4L adrift of the winner, Duretto at the line. Well bred, Here And Now is By Dansili out of the top class Hernando mare, Look Here, ( won The Oaks in 2008, 3rd St Leger 2008, Btn Shd when 3rd Coronation Cup 2009) so on breeding should find Saturday’s trip right up his street, and only 4lbs higher than York looks good value at current odds of 20/1.

Selection  : Vis A Vis
EW.            :  Here And Now. (If abs. Stratum)

John Gray

Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap Tips

betfred-cesarewitch-handicap-tips

John Wootton: Racing on the Round Course at Newmarket c 1750

Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap 2m 2f Newmarket Saturday – The Cesarewitch isn’t the longest flat race in the Calendar but is certainly one of the most stamina sapping. Starting in Cambridgeshire, the 2m2f contest takes a sharp right hand turn, and the large field then has to endure a non-stop relentless gallop up the Rowley Mile, to finish in the neighbouring county of Suffolk. Faced with such a challenge it comes as no great surprise, that almost invariably, the winner boasts previous winning form at two miles on the Flat or over hurdles. Surprisingly for such a long race the draw has proved significant, with thirteen of the sixteen winners this century starting from a berth lower than nineteen. Another relevant statistic is that half the winners in the same period have come from yards predominantly National Hunt in character, a stat which makes David Pipe’s 5yo, Starchitect, of definite interest.

Pipe Junior has never won the race, (has gone close on two occasions) but his father Martin hit the back of the net twice, (Heros Fatal, 2000 and Miss Fara two years later) so they certainly know what is required down at Nicholashayne. Starchitect is a beautifully bred animal, by Sea the Stars out of a Sadlers Wells mare, and he is better known for his achievements as a hurdler. He came second in the hugely competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in Febuary, and put up solid performances at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals. He demonstrated his stamina credentials for this when winning over 21f in his last outing over hurdles, earning the impressive NH rating of 150. He won the last of his five flat starts, a 14f Salisbury handicap in May, earning a rating of 89 and virtually assuring himself of a place in Saturday’s contest. In the light of his NH rating he looks really well treated, and it will come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

Read the Oddsguru’s 2015 race preview.

Sir Mark Prescott’s 3yo colt St Michael, ran a fine race to finish 3rd in a truly run, 2m2f Doncaster Cup, twenty nine days ago, finishing 3rd, a nose and 2 1/4L behind Sheikzayedroad and Quest for More, and, as the latter won the Group1 Prix du Cadran at Chantilly last Saturday, the form looks pretty impressive. As St Michael stuck on well at Doncaster, and had won his two previous races authoritatively, with only 8st6lbs on his back at the weekend, he certainly looks well treated, and is a worthy favourite. However he does need four above him in the handicap to come out if he is to get a run, so a waiting brief is advised.

Horses who have performed well in The Cesarewitch often do so again, so connections of last year’s hero Grumeti, must be hoping that at least three above him drop out, and he gets a run. He hasn’t exactly been setting the world alight following last years triumph, but he has had a nice break since June and is only 1lb higher than last year. A repeat of last years 50/1 victory is not just a forlorn hope!

Tony Martin won this with Leg Spinner in 2007 and attempts to bring home the bacon for the second time with the very useful Pyromaniac. The 6yo looks well treated on a mark of 87, and he ran a sound race last time, going down by a neck to stable companion, Quick Jack over 14f at Leopardstown four weeks ago off the same mark.The question is will he stay, as he has been campaigned mostly at distances shorter than 2m. However he did win his only race over two miles, a highly competitive Curragh handicap back in May 2015, and more recently was seen finishing to some effect in a strongly run Killarney 17f handicap hurdle, to take third place. He has been finishing his races off well, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that his uber-shrewd handler thinks that his contender might well be suited by this step up in trip. Another for the shortlist!

David Simcock runs his strong stayer, The Cashel Man, and the 4yo gelding did his prospects no harm at all when coming home in second place in the trial for this three weeks ago, which was run over the course and distance. He was beaten 3L off Saturday’s mark of 89, but as the race was very steadily run, in a time more than 15 seconds slower than standard, and the horse suffered interference 4f out, he can only benefit from a much truer run contest at the weekend. Worth considering!

The 9yo Irish mare, Jennies Jewel has won three of her seven flat races, including this year’s Ascot Stakes over 20f at the Royal Meeting. She showed courage in abundance that day, making all, and holding on to deny Qewy by a neck. She was beaten early on in a heavy ground 2m Curragh handicap three weeks ago, but after more than three months off the racecourse she is easily excused. This admirable Grade3 winning chaser, and Grade1 placed hurdler, racing on Saturday off a mark only 5lbs higher than Royal Ascot, could make her presence felt, particularly if we get some rain.

Selection: Starchitect

E.W. : The Cashel Man