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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.
IN SUMMARY: The market has seriously underestimated First Mohican, who came from the clouds to finish second in this race last year and he ran his best race this season at Ascot when last seen. He’s unlikely to be far away but preference is for WITHHOLD, who ran very well on seasonal/stable debut for Roger Charlton over the 1m 4f distance, which was too sharp for him. He’s on the same mark here and with fitness on his side up in distance, he should be very tough to beat under De Sousa.
1 FUN MAC – Third in the Chester Cup back in May but he’s been nowhere near as good since, with his victory two starts coming in a weak Listed race where he had the run of things. Hard to envisage him winning this off 9st 10lb.
2 MAGIC CIRCLE – Drawn in Stall 30 which sounds the alarm and although he arrives here on the top of his game, a career best by some way is needed off this mark. Likely to miss out from his horrendous draw.
3 WATERSMEET – Hasn’t been seen since finishing sixth in the Chester Cup, only weakening in the final 50 yards after being headed. A strongly run race at this distance should find him out and the handicapper has his number on speed dial.
4 LAWS OF SPIN – First horse for Willie Mullins who won well at Leopardstown in September, holding on gamely. He stays two miles and two extra furlongs aren’t of concern, so he holds strong each way claims.
5 TAWDEEA – Extremely well treated on the best of his 2016 form but he’s been soundly beaten the last twice, with stamina to prove at this distance. Looks massively up against it.
6 ENDLESS ACRES – Lightly raced four year old who has been steadily progressive, second in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot. No stamina doubts and he arrives here fresh, but he’s drawn out in the car park which makes him risky.
7 FIRST MOHICAN – Second in this race last year after coming from miles back and he’s one pound lower this year. He didn’t run badly when last seen and a strongly run race at this distance is what he wants. Strong each way candidate.
8 SNOW FALCON – Smart hurdler who has been running well on the flat this season, second in the Irish Cesarewitch when last seen. Only five pounds higher and this distance will eek out more. Poorly drawn but shouldn’t be far away.
9 MIRSAALE – Useful hurdler whose been in great form in that code, winning at Kelso last month. He’s not handicapped out of things now returning to the flat and he should run well at a bigger price.
10 WHO DARES WINS – Won the Cesarewitch Trial in decisive fashion and has been raised seven pounds as a result, but he looks well suited to this course and distance and won’t be far away.
11 SHREWD – Second in the Ebor of 2016 and he was only three lengths behind Who Dares Win in the Cesarewitch Trial last month. Jamie Gormley takes off seven but a reversal with that rival looks unlikely and he’s best watched.
12 LONDON PRIZE – Has won three of his last five starts under both codes, winning the Northumberland Vase when last seen on the flat. This is tougher tough race and he’s up six pounds, so others do look better handicapped. Poorly drawn.
13 GETBACK IN PARIS – Weighted above his best at present and he was well held at Haydock when last seen with the emphasis on stamina. He isn’t sure to stay this far and others are readily preferred.
14 BYRON FLYER – Has finished second on his last four runs and isn’t a hearty battler, having every chance at Doncaster when second to Time To Study. He stays this far and beyond but he’s likely to find one of these too game for him.
15 DIGEANTA – Ten year old for Willie Mullins who ran well three starts ago before two poor runs the last twice. He showed almost nothing at Killarney when last seen behind Snow Falcon and couldn’t be put forward.
16 OCEANE – Well held on two course and distance runs including on his latest start and he’s drawn out in the car park in stall 32. Georgia Cox takes off three but he makes little appeal.
17 TIME TO STUDY – Smart three year old who has a willing attitude, winning a handicap at Doncaster when last seen gamely. He’s up four pounds and could improve markedly for the step up in trip. Likely type.
18 LAGOSTOVEGAS – Another for Willie Mullins who won a Grade B hurdle on his latest start, running well on the flat in July. His current mark is fair on the best of his form and he’s unlikely to be far away.
19 EUCHEN GLEN – Has run well the last twice over the two mile distance, third at York when last seen when doing his best work late on. Should appreciate the step up in distance and is considered.
20 STAR RIDER – Solidly out of form this season and he has plenty to prove in the first-time tongue tie. He is drawn widest of all and is best watched.
21 SWAMP FOX – Second in the Galway Hurdle back in August and was second on the flat one start before that. Not handicapped out of this and he’ll see this out strongly, so he holds each way claims.
22 SWASHBUCKLE – Stays this far but is weighted to his best at present and he was well beaten on his latest handicap start two runs ago. Hard to see him taking this against some improvers.
23 DUBAWI FIFTY – Arrives on a hat-trick, doing his best work late to win at Nottingham in August. This is much tougher and he’s up five pounds, but he should stay this far and has a small each way claim squeak.
24 TAWS – Ran respectably in the Cesarewitch Trial when last seen, finishing sixth but she has plenty to find with a few of these. Couldn’t be ruled out for each way terms but vulnerable for win purposes.
25 JOHN CONSTABLE – Last flat run came back in 2014 but he’s posted some very smart hurdling form this year, winning a Listed handicap easily when last seen. Potentially very well handicapped back on the flat and is respected.
26 POYLE THOMAS – Well beaten in two runs for Michael Madgwick, down the field in a Class 3 Handicap last month. Readily passed over with how poor he’s been this year.
27 FREDERIC – Excuses on his latest flat start and he was in good form prior, not beaten far over hurdles when last seen. Stall 35 is a huge negative though and scuppers his each way chance.
28 DUKE STREET – Won on the flat at Chelmsford in February, his last run on the level and he ran well over fences when last seen. That will have opened the pipes and he stays further than this, so he does hold an outside chance of placing.
29 CAPE CASTER – Hasn’t run on the flat for three years and his recent form over fences isn’t particularly inspiring. Hard to fancy on balance as he’s unsure to stay this far in such a strongly run race.
31 ARTHUR MC BRIDE – Stays further than this but he was brushed aside in the Cesarewitch Trial and he’s only a pound lower. He clearly wasn’t at his best but others make far more appeal as he won’t be getting a soft lead here.
32 WITHHOLD – Ran well on seasonal/stable debut for Roger Charlton with a third at Newbury over an inadequate trip. He’ll be much happier at this distance and his current mark is more than fair, so he should take plenty of stopping.
33 FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHT – Runner for David Pipe who has been absent for 353 days, which is of huge concern and it’s impossible to gauge his form from France. This looks a bridge too far on British debut.
34 AURORA GRAY – Has held her form well, finishing second on her last three runs, on the same mark as the latest of those. That was a weaker race than this though and she’s unlikely to be good enough here.
35 ROLLING MAUL – Sneaks into the race as first reserve, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Ffos Las last month. This sort of race is an unknown and he’s best in smaller fields, so he couldn’t be put forward.
30 LANDSMAN – Four year old for Tony Martin who arrives here on the back of a good eighth at Leopardstown, not badly handicapped at present. Very poor draw and his stamina is a question mark. Watch the market signals as this yard are very shrewd.