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Betfred Cesarewitch (Heritage Handicap) (Class Two)
Always a huge puzzle for punters, the second leg of the autumn double is one of the most fiercely contested handicaps of the season. With two 66/1 winners and a pair at 50/1 in the last nine years, it has not been the kindest race to punters, though those who like to throw a couple of darts at huge each way places may have enjoyed this race. Our expert preview for the 2017 Cesarewitch is below.
The market is currently headed by a horse that has not been seen on the flat since August 2014 in the shape of John Constable. He has been much improved over hurdles in 2017, climbing twenty-seven pounds in the handicap over the course of a pair of smart wins. That leaves his flat mark of 88 some sixty eight pounds below his hurdles rating, using the standard forty five pounds rating gap between the pair, he appears to be a very well handicapped horse back on the level. He was placed from as high as 93 on the flat when he was trained in Ireland at up to two miles. This is going to be a new test for his stamina, but it is easy to see why he heads the market.
Paul and Clare Rooney are better known for their jump horses, but in Dubawi Fifty they have a rapidly progressing flat stayer on their hands. He has travelled with menace into a pair of races over fourteen and fifteen furlongs this season, staying on strongly to be well on top at the line, shaping as if this further step up in trip is within his reach. They were at a lower level than this but Karen McLintock who has the horse in her care said after his most recent win “The Cesarewitch would suit him particularly well if he gets in.” With this the plan and his unexposed profile particularly appealing from a handicapping perspective, he is sure to be well supported.
A huge Ebor gamble on Flymetothestars was only denied by a head in Yorkshire, the Sir Mark Prescott horse performing with huge credit on his turf debut. He was a little disappointing when stepped up to Group 3 company in France the next time, but that came off just a two week break and with multiple Group winner Vazirabad in opposition so is easily excused. Until then he was rapidly progressive, going under by just three-quarters of a length in the Northumberland Plate, a huge performance for a horse with so little experience. Connections are surely harbouring hopes that he will turn into a cup horse in 2018 so this could be his last hurrah in handicap company.
We haven’t seen Endless Acres in competitive action since a runner-up effort in the Ascot Stakes in June. He had a poor draw to overcome on that occasion, but produced a career best chasing home the well treated Thomas Hobson. He is eight pounds better off for a two length beating from Flymetothestars on the Newcastle Tapeta the time before so is fully entitled to be right in the mix with that rival once more on these terms. He has been given a lengthy break to get over his exertions at Royal Ascot but he won first time up this season after more than a hundred and seventy days off so arriving fresh should be no problem for him.
Rapidly progressive last season at up to two miles was the Willie Mullins trained Laws Of Spin. He rattled off a hat-trick of wins in 2016, getting himself back on the score sheet last time out at Leopardstown over a mile and five furlongs. That was a smart effort given that the trip is insufficient to see him at his absolute best these days so he would be an interesting raider on a U.K handicap if he were to come to take part. Mullins said in the aftermath “at the end of last year I thought he could be a Melbourne Cup horse. He’s only coming now and maybe he is a real autumn horse” which should send a shiver down the spine of his rivals if he takes his place in the final line-up.