The £250,000 Cesarewitch completes Newmarket’s Autumn Double of major betting handicaps, these six stayers being the ones we think are the group to concentrate on:
Being drawn 25 of 34 would usually be a huge disadvantage, but previous Cesarewitch Handicaps have shown that stalls position isn’t usually a major factor and Burning Victory should be high on anyone’s list.
It was noticeable at the beginning of the week that the usually dominant jumps trainers had already snapped up nearly all of the big-hitting flat jockeys for their entrants, including William Buick who rides here for Willie Mullins.
Just as we’d want to see, Burning Victory’s best National Hunt form is his most recent. That’s not to say we don’t know how he’s handling the flat either since he won at Deauville over two miles in August this year.
We know the son of Nathaniel will have been prepared meticulously for this outing, Buick is on fire, the horse is lightly raced and nowhere near his best so with conditions looking likely to suit he stands out at the prices.
Oisin Murphy has been booked by Nicky Henderson for this seven-year-old Motivator gelding and he’s been a little tricky to assess.
In his eight hurdle races he’s been proven at up to Grade 1 level, and given that he hasn’t raced on the flat since 2019 we can assume he’s a much better horse now than when earning his handicap mark of 96.
With that he has to have a live chance you’d think, but there’s no guarantee that his improvement over the sticks can be replicated on the level and so given that he’s a shorter price than Burning Victory he is just about passed over for the win.
Live Your Dream
Elbowing his way through a crowd of jumps horses is flat handicapper Live Your Dream. He represents the once again powerful yard of Saeed bin Suroor, who is doing wonders in big handicaps this season, while the horse is proven in the conditions having run second in the Cesarewitch Trial three weeks ago.
He has plenty going for him, including the booking of Adam Farragher who appears to be worth all of his 5lb claim at present, though it’s likely that some of the jumpers are simply better handicapped for this fiercely competitive affair.
M C Muldoon
Ryan Moore rides this gelding once again for Willie Mullins, but while that fact is a tick on paper the truth is there’s nothing hidden about his ability or his chances.
He was only beaten a short head at Royal Ascot, though he was a well fancied 11/2 shot that day and has been just as well backed this time with his price skewing what chance he really holds. He’s solid, but not as well off at the weights as some stablemates.
Another for Mullins, this time with Colin Keane on board. Similarly in a sense to Burning Victory, he’s lightly raced over hurdles and so is yet to show his best. He has also won on the flat recently, taking a 1¾-mile race with ease at Galway in August.
He’ll be fresh and well, but 104 may be a tough handicap mark for him and so he’s retained on the list but with place chances in mind.
Ben Curtis is a rock-solid flat jockey and is another important booking for the Willie Mullins team, who really are going all-out for this event.
Whiskey Sour was a solid fourth at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals over jumps, while on the flat he has already won four times at up to two miles and one furlong.
He has run 17 times on the flat however and we know what we’re getting with him, so once again he appears to have a solid place chance but doesn’t stand out.
The best regular flat horse on show for our money is Live Your Dream who can kick on following his second in the trial race, though he may have to improve plenty to actually win.
Buzz is an obvious candidate, but the major improvement we’re looking for on the level may or may not be forthcoming. That leaves us with BURNING VICTORY who is the ultimate selection.
Burning Victory is three from 6 on the flat, is improving all the time over both codes, has the in-form jockey up top in Buick and will relish this trip.