The Cesarewitch (3.35pm, Saturday) is the major staying handicap of the season and one of the biggest betting races of the Flat racing year.
This year’s renewal has attracted a maximum field of 36 runners, who’ll compete over 2m2f on the Rowley Mile course.
The favourite for the big race is John Quinn’s progressive 4-year-old Countrywide Flame (8/1), who was a game winner over two miles at Chester on his seasonal debut last month. Countrywide Flame has never won beyond two miles on the Flat, but the way he drew away from his rivals when winning the Triumph Hurdle, over 2m1f, at Cheltenham in March suggests his stamina is beyond reproach.
Although he’s on a career-high mark on the Flat, he carries just a 4lb penalty for winning at Chester and may still be improving, so he looks primed for a big run under veteran jockey Jimmy Quinn. He’s won on good to soft and soft going, and run well on heavy going, so he shouldn’t be inconvenienced by any rain on the Rowley Mile.
Mark Johnston’s four-year-old Hurricane Higgins (12/1) is another with stamina in abundance, as he demonstrated when winning the Goodwood Stakes, over 2m5f, four starts ago. He has run respectably on all three starts since, including when third, beaten just 1½ lengths, in the Group 2 Stobart Doncaster Cup last month. However, he remains 4lbs higher in the weights than at Goodwood and has never won on going softer than good. His record of two wins from 16 career starts hardly inspires confidence, so while he may go well, especially if the rain stays away, his current odds don’t appear overly generous.
Olympiad (12/1), trained by Dermot Weld at the Curragh in Ireland, has been the subject of strong support in the week leading up to this Cesarewitch. The four-year-old son of Galileo has raced just once beyond a mile and a half, but was well supported when winning the Betvictor.com Stakes, over an extended two miles, at York in August. The horses that finished third, fourth and fifth in that race have all run poorly since, but it would be dangerous to write off Olympiad on the limited evidence available. He’s 7lbs higher in the weights and has an absence of 52 days to overcome, but he’s unexposed as a stayer, seemingly acts on any ground and is definitely one to keep on the right side.
Newmarket trainer David Simcock was responsible for 2009 winner Darley Sun, the only three-year-old to win the Cesarewitch in the last 10 years. The fact that he’s entered another three-year-old, Montaser (12/1), this year is interesting. Montaser was a decisive winner of the John Guest Brown Jack Stakes, over two miles, at Ascot in July and that form entitles him, once again, to beat Montaff (50/1) and Dark Ranger (40/1), who finished six lengths and 18 lengths behind.
However, form lines involving the placed horses atAscotsuggest that he has plenty to find with the likes of Countrywide Flame and Olympiad. Furthermore, he remains 7lb higher in the weights than atAscot, he hasn’t won on going softer than good to firm and his stamina beyond two miles must be taken on trust. All in all, there are enough doubts about him to suggest to that he’ll struggle to finish in the first half a dozen, never mind win.
Obviously, in a race as competitive as this there are plenty of others to consider. Of those prominent in the betting market, Sir Mark Prescott’s four-year-old Motivado (14/1) can be given a chance on his respectable fourth in the Ebor at York in August, although it’s worth noting that he’s 6lbs higher in the weights and ran poorly on his only attempt beyond 1m6f, albeit on heavy going.
Of the others, Aidan O’Brien’s 3-year-old I Have A Dream (14/1) has similar stamina doubts. George Baker’s seven-year-old Martyr (16/1) has to prove that he retains ability after missing the whole of last season. Jonjo O’Neill’s 5-year-old Tominator (16/1) has switched stables since finishing an excellent fourth in the Mallard Stakes at Doncaster last month.
Cesarewitch Betting Tips Conclusion
If you’re looking for a horse that could run well at a big price, we recommend an each-way bet on William Haggas’ four-year-old Lordofthehouse (33/1). The son of Danehill Dancer blotted his copybook when refusing to race here just over two weeks ago, but was in great form earlier in the season. His jockey, Adam Beschizza, has a 23% strike rate on William Haggas’ older horses over the last five seasons and our big-priced Cesarewitch tip has winning form on the soft. He looks ahead of the handicapper on his best form.
- Back Lordofthehouse @ 33/1 each-way with Blue Square or Paddy Power. It is only 16/1 with Ladbrokes.