ALTHOUGH tomorrow’s meeting at Newmarket is called Dubai Future Champions Day, the big race for most punters is the Betfred Cesarewitch (3.50pm), which was won by an eight-year-old 66/1 shot last year.
This is the second leg of the Autumn Double and is always a war of attrition with 34 runners set to go to post for the 2m2f marathon. The draw plays a surprisingly big part with seven of the past 10 winners coming from stall 12 or lower.
Those at the head of the ante-post market haven’t fared particularly well, with only Pallasator securing a single-figure berth. He would be very interesting if the rain arrives, but the forecast is unclear at the moment and Newmarket often misses big downpours. Mikel Delzangles sends over Smoky Hill who was fourth in a Group Three at Longchamp last time and looks undeniably well-handicapped.
However, he is another who needs to get his toe in, so I’d avoid backing him until you have a better idea of the ground.
You need a horse that truly stays this distance as it’s always a brutal test and one such contender is Charles Byrnes’ DOMINATION who landed last year’s Cesarewitch Trial in tremendous style.
The six-year-old has won his last two starts over hurdles and was previously just touched off in a competitive handicap at the Galway Festival. He has been drawn in stall 16 which could be worse and as long as it doesn’t rain too hard he is going to be very hard to keep out of the places at 8/1 with Coral. I also can’t resist having a few quid on Andrew Balding’s CHIBERTA KING from stall one.
The apprentice find of the season Oisin Murphy takes off a hugely valuable five pounds and don’t forget that this seven-year-old son of King’s Best won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He has stamina in abundance, has a good record at this course and goes on any ground. The 25/1 with Coral is a perfectly fair each-way price.
The Dubai Dewhurst Stakes looks a straight battle between War Command and Outstrip so I’m happy to miss that out and instead back SUDIRMAN to land the Vision.ae Middle Park Stakes (2.35pm).
David Wachman’s Henrythenavigator colt was beaten by Toormore in the Group One National Stakes last time, but that was no disgrace and the drop back to six furlongs will suit. As long as the ground stays quick he should be a good value option against Great White Eagle, Astaire and Supplicant.
It’s a real shame that Lancelot Du Lac just failed to make the cut for the Coral Sprint Trophy (3.30pm) at York as Dean Ivory’s charge would surely have gone close. However, that leaves the door open for BACCARAT to land this valuable prize under Tony Hamilton.
The four-year-old won the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon two starts back and then ran a cracker from a bad draw in the Ayr Gold Cup. Take the 8/1 generally available.
There’s some decent action on Sunday, but my one and only bet is David Simcock’s Cafe Society in the 5.15pm at Goodwood. He was strongly fancied at Ascot last time, but blew the start and compensation awaits here.
Arena Racing Company this week announced exciting plans for the brand new All-Weather Championships.
The programme will inject £2m in prize money into all-weather racing, including a £1m Championship Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday next year which promises to be a fantastic day’s racing.
SUDIRMAN 2.35pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
BACCARAT e/w 3.30pm York (tomorrow)
DOMINATION e/w 3.50pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
CHIBERTA KING e/w 3.50pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
CAFE SOCIETY 5.15pm Goodwood (Sunday)