Newmarket holds sway this afternoon, with a card containing a Group 1 and, of course, the annual stay-fest called the Cesarewitch Handicap at 3.40.
Just 21 are due to line up for this marathon test, eleven less than last year, so the car park is not being used today.
Joint favourites at around the 9-2 mark are two classy hurdlers, Run For Oscar and Ahorsewithnoname and this type of beastie has a great record in this race.
Of the two, we give the nod to the Irish challenger Run For Oscar, last seen in August running away with a two mile handicap at Haydock. 8lbs higher this afternoon, but still well handicapped on its lofty hurdles mark, drawn well and with the rejuvenated David Egan booked to ride.
In the hope that there might be an ease in the price, we’ll squeeze in an each way bet on this one.
We also recommend an each way bet on Prince Imperial at 20-1.
Richard Hughes always targets this race and, although he has never won it, his runners usually go close and this 5-y-o came back from a break to run a very close second in the Trial for this race three weeks ago. Any improvement will see Big Jim there at the business end.
Televised action begins with the Group 3 Zetland Stakes at 1.50 which looks at the mercy of Charlie Appleby‘s runner Flying Honours. However, 4-5 does not appeal, so let’s move on to the Emirates Autumn Stakes at 2.25.
When Epictetus won on racecourse debut in July, the aforementioned Flying Honours was well back in fourth, making it an impressive performance.
Wrapped in cotton wool since then, the Gosden‘s colt could clearly be anything and we take the Mad Italian to guide him home at 9-4.
The Darley Dewhurst Stakes at 3.00 sees Nostrum attempt to win the race for Sir Michaelafter a gap of 36 years(!).
This unbeaten Kingman colt, who carries the Frankel silks, has done everything asked of him thus far, winning a Group 3 comfortably on this course last time out and the step up to a mile can only help.
We recommend a win bet at 2-1 and also suggest a reverse forecast with the perceived danger Aesop’s Fables.
Three races from York make up the televised coverage, starting with the Coral Rockingham Stakes at 2.05.
Willie‘s Alpha Capture is the 9-4 favourite for this race and will almost certainly run well, but we were most taken with the debut win of Bay Of Plenty and think a bet on this one is the value.
Johnny Murtagh‘s charge was stopped in its run twice at Naas, but when in the clear and given one tap with the Pro-cush, it quickened up impressively and disappeared into the sunset. With loads of improvement almost guaranteed, 7-2 could look generous come 2.07.
The Coral Handicap at 2.40 has just six runners and, this time, we think Willie will win it.
Protagonist was last seen running on the wrong side of the track in the Cambridgeshire, finishing second in its group, but before that came two wins at today’s trip in good quality handicaps. Looks a solid bet at 6-4.
The ‘impossible’ handicap called the Coral Sprint Trophy is at 3.15, with a field of 20 spread right across the 6f course.
Yesterday’s racing gave few clues about the draw, but luckily, our two darts are drawn on opposite sides.
We suggest each way bets on Laugh A Minute at 9-1 and Lucky Man at 8-1.
The former was an unlucky second in this race last year while the latter is a tough-as-old-boots 3-y-o having a love affair with York.
Here endeth the Preview.
Run For Oscar 3.40 Newmarket 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (6 places)
Prince Imperial 3.40 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (6 places)
Epictetus 2.25 Newmarket 3pts win @ 2-1
Nostrum 3.00 Newmarket 3pts win @ 2-1
Nostrum/Aesop’s Fables 3.00 Newmarket 0.50pts RFC
Bay Of Plenty 2.05 York 2pts win @ 7-2
Protagonist 2.40 York 3pts win @ 6-4
Laugh A Minute 3.15 York 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (6 places)
Lucky Man 3.15 York 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (6 places)