This week sees us tackle the Cesarewitch – an historic flat handicap open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Newmarket over a distance of 2m 2f and finishes on the famous Rowley Mile. One thing that sets this race apart is its unpredictability. Two of the last three winners came home at 66/1, highlighting just how tough a race this is for punters to call. But try and call it we shall, and this year boasts the usual number of fascinating form angles which we’ll examine below.
LOW KEY: Rated 86 (Current best odds 8-1)
If bookmaker opinion means anything, we should be taking the hint about Low Key. David Pipe’s runner was impressive in winning the trial for this race and appears dangerously low in the weights with apprentice Tom Marquand taking another 3lbs off his back. It’s been clear in the build-up that Pipe is very sweet on the chances of his charge and, on form alone, it is hard to argue the case. Three wins on the spin have put him cherry ripe for this and he evidently knows the way to the winning post, so it would be a huge surprise if he wasn’t in the mix.
QUICK JACK: Rated 101 (Current best odds 10-1)
The talking horse of the race ever since the words “Tony Martin” and “Ryan Moore” appeared in the same sentence. The form of his run at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year, in which he lost nothing in defeat to Wicklow Brave, would make him the clear choice here. When you add the Moore factor, it’s not rocket science to work out why he’s shortened up so much in the betting. He is very consistent and knocks around the highest grade, making him another for the shortlist. Martin is a master of readying horses for this type of handicap assignment and the fact he’s gone for Moore suggests it’s a case of serious business here.
WILLIAM OF ORANGE: Rated: 97 (Best Price 12-1)
The first string of Sir Mark Prescott and a horse that has somewhat flattered to deceive thus far. Would be nowhere near on the basis of his last run at the Leger meeting when trailing in more than 10 lengths behind Pallasator and clearly has something to find. As much as I want to believe the horse has improvement to come, I don’t see enough being found to win this race.
BAYAN: Rated: 84 (Best Price 20-1)
A very dangerous runner. Anything coming from the Gordon Elliot yard needs a second glance and some of Bayan’s form stands up to serious scrutiny at the highest level. He has a lot to find with Quick Jack after trailing in 19 lengths in arrears at Galway in July but Bayan has been off the track since then and comes here fresh – sneaking in off an eyectaching low weight of just 8st 2lb. It’s screaming to me that Elliot has targeted Bayan at this race and there are few better trainers than him when it comes to readying a horse for the occasion. Like his chances a lot.
MOSCATO: Rated: 93 (Best Price 25-1)
A horse who knows the way to the winning line and, at just four, has plenty of improvement left in him. Has to step up on previous efforts to win this (and that has been factored into the price), but was far from put in the shade by Low Key in the Cesarewitch trial and Luke Morris is a jockey I have a lot of time for in this type of hurly burly contest. He was already won four times on the horse and clearly gets on very well with him and it would be no surprise to see him making the frame at a big price.
MONTEFELTRO: Rated 92 (Best Price 33-1)
Came to hand beautifully at this time a couple of years ago when racking up a hat trick of wins. Has never quite reached those heights since but Brian Ellison is a very canny trainer and if anyone can get a tune out of the seven-year-old, it is him. Was only seven lengths behind Low Key in the trial race last month and 33-1 would appear to underestimate his chances of improvement here. In a race where big priced winners have enjoyed such success in the past, he is definitely not one to be ruling out easily.
Verdict: One look at the recent form of this race tells you that we, as punters, are up against it. As easy as it would be to head for the top of the market (Low Key and Quick Jack make obvious appeal), I am far more drawn to the chances of BAYAN for Gordon Elliot. As stated above, he is a master at laying out a horse for this type of handicap and comes here fresh having not raced since July. I think he rates a real danger at 20-1 and is worth a small investment.
Stake: 0.5pts each way @ 20/1
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