Cesarewitch Handicap Stakes Preview – Saturday 13th October
Last updated: October 12, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The big betting race at Newmarket on Saturday is the £500,000 Cesarewitch Handicap Stakes over two and a quarter miles at 3.40. The Cesarewitch forms the second leg of the Autumn Double following the Cambridgeshire Handicap and is one of the most prestigious staying handicaps in the calendar.
Bookmakers have certainly come out on top in recent times with two 66-1 winners and two 50-1 winners in the ten years. Two of those were saddled by leading National Hunt trainers in Nicky Henderson and Alan King. Jockey Silvestre de Sousa has ridden three of the last five winners including the well-backed Withhold for Roger Charlton twelve months’ ago.
Stratum all the rage despite Ebor defeat
The ante-post favourite is the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum, an expensive failure in the Ebor Handicap in August. The five-year-old had landed a gamble at Newbury on his previous start and was fancied to defy an 8lbs rise in the weights. Things did not go to plan for Robert Winston at York, his run being stopped with over a furlong to go and eventually finishing in mid-division. The gelding showed that he says extreme distances when third to stable companion Lagostovegas over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot in June.
Limini is a stable companion of Stratum and a high class hurdler. The mare was third to Apple’s Jade at the Cheltenham Festival in March. She was beaten by Uradel when attempting to concede a stone in July. Her most recent victory was in a valuable handicap at Leopardstown over an extended mile and a half. She picked up a 4lbs penalty there but will have the assistance of in-form jockey Oisin Murphy.
Mullins also runs Uradel, brought down in a valuable hurdle at Galway in August. He returned to the flat to finish fourth at Bellewstown and is closely matched with stable companion Limini on previous Galway form. Limini is 5lbs better off for a length and a half and there should not be much between them. Whiskey Sour and Low Sun will also have their supporters with Mullins saddling seven in total.
Cleonte well weighted at Newmarket
Aidan O’Brien rarely has a runner in these big handicaps but saddles an interesting contender here in Southern France. The three-year-old was second to subsequent St Leger winner Kew Gardens in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. He then finished fourth to Flag Of Honour at the Curragh before finishing a respectable third in the St Leger at Doncaster. This is quite a stiff test for a three-year-old and the last to carry more than 9 stone to victory was Centurion in 1978.
Silvestre de Sousa is chasing a hat-trick in the race aboard ante-post gamble Vis A Vis for Neil Mulholland. The four-year-old has very few miles on the clock and has not raced since winning on the all-weather at Kempton in August. That was only his second race since arriving from France and his first at two miles.
Andrew Balding’s Cleonte ran a good trial for this race when beating Stars Over The Sea at Ascot in the Shergar Cup. The gelding had three-quarters of a length to spare over Ian Williams’s gelding who has since won the Cesarewitch Trial by a wide margin. Cleonte will be 3lbs better off with the runner-up on Saturday and is fancied to confirm the form. Balding has snapped up the services of Oisin Murphy for the ride.
Alan King has a good record in the Cesarewitch and relies on the progressive Just In Time and the seven-year-old Top Tug. Just In Time was a narrow winner at Doncaster last month. He lived up to his name when just catching Austrian School over a mile and three-quarters. He had earlier finished third to Vis A Vis at Kempton but is worse off with that rival this weekend. Top Tug is yet to show that he stays this sort of trip.
Cleonte @16-1 William Hill
Each-way 1/4 odds, 1,2,3,4,5
The Cesarewitch Stakes is due off at 3.40 at Newmarket on Saturday 13th October and will be televised live on ITV.