One of the biggest betting events of the flat season kicks off at Newmarket on Saturday as the 2 mile 2½ furlong Cesarewtich tests out over 30 runners on the Rowley Mile.
Betting has been hotting up all week and picking out three against this field is tough enough, let alone one, however we have 8 of the best listed here with a couple of value each-way bets to get stuck into.
Andrew Balding may have expected a better season, especially with Beat The Bank, though he could yet land a big one for the same owner with this Cleonte who beat the strong favourite for this race (Stars Over The Sea) in the Shergar Cup at Ascot in the summer and has since been laid out for this.
There are no trip or ground concerns and as a 5yo from a top stable more improvement can be expected.
Here And Now
Chester was far from ideal for Ralph Beckett’s charge last time out but his win at York in the summer marked him out as a leading contender for this and the ground has come right just in time.
The only doubt would be how different Newmarket is from the layout of his previous winning locations but as a 4yo there is plenty of improvement to come from him and Harry Bentley is more than capable up top.
Two things you can guarantee with a Mark Johnston runner are that it will be tough and it will be trying, so when you throw in the possibility of improvement off a current handicap mark into the mix you are onto a potential winner.
A scorer over 1m6f at Haydock back in July, he didn’t quite appreciate the trip when stepping down to 1m4f at Glorious Goodwood but wasn’t beaten far at all before failing behind Ghostwatch at York.
The trip and ground are ideal for the young son of Pivotal and he has a proper chance in this at a real price. Joe Fanning rides.
Being a 3yo filly would normally be a distinct disadvantage in this race, however this classy type (rated 107) getting plenty of weight from the rest is quite simply well-in given that’ll have been trained to perfection by her world class handler and wouldn’t be in this unless she was tough enough to compete.
Third in the St Leger last time of all things, Aidan O’Brien’s charge continues to improve and is likely to love this fast ground along with the marathon trip.
Stars Over The Sea
The likely favourite cleared right away to win the Cesarewitch Trial easily over course and distance last month and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest fast ground is fine for him. He’ll be popular, but I think others are just better handicapped.
Other than when tackling the rather extreme Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot it’s been a season of constant improvement for Jane Chapple-Hyam’s 4yo who was just ridden out to score a tiny bit cosily last time at Yarmouth.
There will be plenty more to come after that race although he’ll need to prove Newmarket is to his liking.
Vis A Vis
A very interesting contender. The ex-French horse will be having only his third start in this country for Neil Mulholland and has been handled very sensitively having won on his British debut at Sandown in June before following up in August with an easy success over two miles at Kempton.
He’s been off the track since then and should be raring to go in this, another chunk of improvement being expected with top jock Silvestre de Sousa on board – every chance.
It would be no surprise to see Aidan O’Brien’s filly Southern France go well, however she is a risk in this sort of race and so is therefore short enough in the betting.
Uber Cool is an improver and will appreciate the conditions so could go well at rather a large price, but the two to concentrate on each-way may turn out to be VIS A VIS and MAKING MIRACLES.
The ex-French runner has been carefully laid out for this and has been well backed all week while Mark Johnston’s horse has flown under the radar somewhat and should be a huge price. Backing them both to small stakes each-way could pay dividends.