This Weekends Racing Preview
It’s off to Newmarket this Saturday for a decent card that includes the ultra-competitive Cesarewitch Handicap, as well as the Middle Park Dewhurst Stakes.....
Horse racing pundit Andy Newton takes you through the four LIVE C4 races......
1.50 – Dubai Challenge Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) Winner £45,368 CH4 7f
Trainer Richard Hannon took this race 12 months ago and his Libranno, who won last time out at Doncaster, is respected. He’s won on good-to-soft before, but will probably not want it any softer than that, while he does also carry a Group 2 winning penalty here. Edinburgh Knight is interesting in the first-time visor, and he did come good at this time of the year 12 months ago – however, he’s another that I’d be worried if the ground got any softer with all his best efforts to date being on quick surfaces. If Aidan O’Brien’s Reply bounces back from two really poor runs then he’s certainly got the form to take this – especially on his third in this season’s Irish 2000 Guineas.
However, the two I like here are FENCING and SCARF. The first-named comes from the John Gosden team, how took this race back in 2006, and with just 6 career starts there should be more to come. Yes, his last run in the St James’s Palace Stakes was poor, but that was a decent contest and I think this drop back to 7f, and the fact he’s had a break, will see him in a better light this time.
The other fancy – SCARF, was a good winner at Newbury last time out in a Listed race and although this grey clearly needs to step up again he seems to love this 7f trip, while having won on heavy ground in the past then any more of the wet stuff will not hinder him either.
RECOMMNEDED BETS: FENCING & SCARF
2.20 – Vision.ae Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) (Entire Colts) (CLASS 1) (2yo) Winner £85,065 CH4 6f
Aidan O’Brien has won this race four times in recent years and he pins his hopes this time on Parliament Square, Cristoforo Colombo and Gale Force Ten - with Colombo looking their main chance of adding to their good record. However, he needs to recover from slipping-up last time out when clipping heels and, therefore, a lot has to be taken on trust on how that tumble has impacted him.
Blaine was a narrow winner of the Gimcrack at York last time out and puts his two-race unbeaten record on the line, but this is likely to be the softest ground he’s encountered so far and his first time away from York.
Marco Botti saddles Moohaajim – this season’s Mill Reef winner - but he’s another one that is yet to tackle ground this soft and although respected I’d much rather be siding with Clive Cox’s RECKLESS ABANDON. Top French jockey, Gerald Mosse, has been booked to ride this unbeaten juvenile, who was last seen winning the Prix Morny - a race which has been a good guide to the Middle Park in recent years.
Add in that he’s won on good-to-soft ground when landing the Norfolk Stakes then this improving colt can give the Cox team another big payday.
RECOMMNEDED BET: RECKLESS ABANDON
2.55 – Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (CLASS 1) (2yo) Winner £170,130 CH4 7f
Trainer Jim Bolger has taken this race a staggering four times in the last 6 years and it looks like he’s going to do so again. He runs the very exciting DAWN APPROACH, who is already as short as 6/1 for next season’s 2,000 Guineas.
He’s unbeaten now from five runs, but more importantly dotted up in soft conditions last time at the Curragh – and that was also the first time he tried today’s 7f trip. Yes, he’s likely to be short in the betting, but it’s hard to see anything but a sixth career win for a horse that looks set to have a huge campaign in 2013!
RECOMMNEDED BET: DAWN APPROACH
3.35 - Betfred Cesarewitch (Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+) Winner £99,600 CH4 2m2f
Onto the ‘big-one’ and with 36 runners entered then this year’s race looks as tricky as ever to unravel. I’ve listed some key Cesarewitch betting trends below to help you whittle down the field.
Anything Irish trainer Dermot Weld sends over to these shores should always be respected, especially as he’s targeted this race with success in the past. His runner this time is Olympiad, who was last seen winning a decent handicap over 2m at York back in August. He’s gone up 7lbs for that effort, but with this only being his sixth career start then he looks to have more to give. He’s won on soft before, but I know that connections have been a tiny bit worried about the recent rain with his last winning run coming on good-to-firm ground.
For me, the two that I’ll be backing against the field are COUNTRYWIDE FLAME and BEYOND
COUNTRYWIDE FLAME – Won last season’s Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and showed at Chester last month that he’s still not finished improving yet when making all to win a decent 2m Handicap. He’s gone up just 4lbs for that effort, but with that being his first run of the season I suspect there is more to come, while any ease in the ground will also be fine for him.
BEYOND – From the Pipe stable, who generally have a good record in this race. He ran a recent fourth at Goodwood last time after around 9 months off the track and with jockey Conor Hoban taking off a handy 5lbs from the saddle then he looks to be a fair each-way option. He’s a slight unknown on soft ground as all his runs to date have been on quick surfaces, but his breeding (Galileo) suggests he’ll be fine on that score.
RECOMMENDED BETS: COUNTRYWIDE FLAME, BEYOND, EAGLE ROCK
Key Cesarewitch Betting Trends
10/10 – Had won over at least 1m6f on the flat before
9/10 – Aged 4 or older
8/10 – Had run within the last 2 months
8/10 – Had 3 or more previous flat runs that season
8/10 – Finished 4th or better last time out
8/10 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
7/10 – Carried 9-1 or less
7/10 – Drawn in stall 12 or lower
7/10 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat before
7/10 – Ran at either Ascot, Chester or Doncaster last time out
7/10 – Aged 5 or older
6/10 – Winning distance – 1 length or less
6/10 – Had won 4 or more times on the flat before
6/10 – The first three home returned a double-figure price
5/10 – Won by a NH trainer
5/10 – Had run at the track before
2/10 – Winning favourites
2/10 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/10 – Won last time out
2/10 – Winning mares
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 16/1
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