Another sign that the winter jumps campaign is about to gain momentum is Exeter staging its first fixture of the season.
On Friday the momentum gathers pace. Chepstow's two-day ‘Persian War’ meeting is typically seen as the starting point of the winter season.
There’s still plenty of life left in the flat season though. On Friday Newmarket hosts Future Champions Weekend. Highlights of day one includes the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile (3.35), the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes (1.50) and Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes (2.25). Add in the bet365 Old Rowley Cup Handicap (4:10) and you have the makings of an excellent seven race card. ITV are covering five races from Newmarket, two from Chepstow and two from York on a bumper nine race programme.
It's even better on Saturday. All eyes again on the top two-year-olds at Newmarket, this time the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes (2.55). There’s also the big betting race of the week the second leg of the ‘Autumn Double’ the Cesarewitch (3.35). There’s also another day of jump racing at Chepstow and York hosts it final fixture of the 2021 flat season. You can see the best of the action from Newmarket & York on ITV.
The good racing doesn’t end on Saturday either. On Sunday the focus switches to Ireland. There’s action for fans of both codes of the sport. It’s the Ladbrokes Munster National (4.30) at Limerick and the Curragh hosts the Irish Cesarewitch (3.05).
Inside today’s main piece I begin my look ahead to the weekend’s big race action. Plus, I have a selection from Kempton.
Something For The Weekend – Part 1
The weather forecast is suggesting the rest of the week will be mainly dry with above average temperatures for October. If the forecast pans out then it should be decent ground for Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket.
The big race under the microscope is Saturday’s Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
Cesarewitch – Newmarket
You wouldn’t think that the draw would be important in a 2m 2f race with 30+ runners think again. There is just the one bend, about half way in the race, but it’s an important one. Looking at some of the recent race trends:
Since 2008 there have been 427 runners in the race. Of those drawn 25+ they have produced 1 winner from 133 runners with just seven placing. The sole winner was the Frankie Dettori ridden Never Can Tell who defied stall 36 in 2011.
Those horses that finished outside the first 6 on their last start are 0 winners from 141 runners 7 placed. And, beware of horses that have never won the prevailing going. Those qualifiers are 1 winner from 184 runners, although to be fair 19 of them have managed to place.
Trainers more associated with National Hunt sphere: Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Philip Hobbs, Alan King have produced 6 winners from 42 runners +113.5 11 placed. The first two trainers are both expected to have runners in this year’s race.
Six of the last 13 winners of the race were returned between 25/1 to 66/1 so don’t be afraid to have a dart at big priced outsider.
From a shortlisting perspective you could do worse than concentrate on those horses who had finished in the first six on their last start and are not drawn in stalls 25+. That would have found 12 of the last 13 winners but removed 54% of the total runners.
There has been plenty of support ante post for the Willie Mullins trained M C Muldoon who proved his stamina for a marathon trip when a short head 2nd of 19 in the 2m 4f Ascot Stakes Handicap. Ryan Moore has already been booked for the ride. Another well fancied Mullins’s runner is Burning Victory. The 5-year-old won the Triumph Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and has twice been successful in France on the flat over 2m+ since returning from a long absence. The mare will have the added assistance of William Buick in the saddle.
Buzz, trained by Nicky Henderson, is a high-class handicap hurdler who finished runner-up in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle in April on his last start. The 7-year-old is having his first start on the level for the trainer and his first since September 2019. Now officially rated 155 over hurdles. He’s only rated 96 on the flat so looks well handicapped if he can replicate his hurdles mark to the flat. Osin Murphy has been booked for the ride.
Godolphin’s ‘Autumn Double’ Dream
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor won the first leg of the ‘Autumn Double’ the Cambridgeshire and he’s got a live candidate with Live Your Dream. The 4-year-old seemed to prove his stamina for the trip when runner-up in the Cesarewitch Trial over C&D last month. He can race off the same mark here and with Adam Farragher booked to take off a handy 5lb, The Godolphin runner looks well treated.
Elysian Flame has 1 ½ lengths to find with M C Muldoon on their running in the Ascot Stakes. He’s since gone onto finish a 1 ¾ length 3rd of 20 to Calling The Wind at Goodwood. The 5-year-old is a thorough stayer and this track could well play to his strengths than Ascot or Goodwood.
Calling The Wind is a much-improved handicapper. Since his Goodwood win, he’s gone onto finish a head 2nd of 12 at Newbury over 1m 4f. He conceded first run to the winner that day and just failed to get up. He can race off the same mark here and is another big player.
Caltor, trained by Dermot Weld, is likely capable of better over staying trips but could go for the Irish version on Sunday.
Of those at bigger odds. Let Me Be can be a hard ride but he’s won seven times this year. He’s got bottomless stamina and might sneak in at the bottom of the weights. Nicholas T needs no introduction. The 9-year-old won the Northumberland Plate, off 2lb lower in the summer, and promising apprentice Amie Waugh takes 5lb off.
Verdict: I think the winner of the Cesarewitch will come from the first eight horses mentioned and will wait to see how the draw pans out before making my final picks.
Today’s selection is from this evening’s meeting at Kempton.
6:30 – Thaler could well go off odds on here. The 3-year-old returned from a 2-month absence to win impressively here over 6f 19-days ago. He’s open to further improvement over today’s 7f and a mark of 90 for his handicap debut could well underestimate the colt.
Should the favourite under-perform the one to take advantage could be Diocles Of Rome. Twice a C&D winner his form figures at Kempton are 211272. Granted the 6-year-old hasn’t been in great form on his three turf starts but he’s a better horse on the synthetics and has dropped back to his last winning mark.
Wednesday Selection: Diocles Of Rome
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk