Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with four to follow on Saturday at Newmarket and Chepstow. View selections below
The 2nd leg of the autumn double the Betfred Cesarewitch is the big betting race of the day and BetVictor are paying five places on the marathon test due to be run on perfect flat racing ground. The last four winners of the race have been returned at 16/1, 25/1, 66/1 and 66/1 but before that there were also two 9/2 favourites in the last decade and the vote goes to Irish raider Quick Jack currently 6/1 at BetVictor.
The selection ran away with a 2 mile Handicap at the Galway Festival when last seen back in July and, although his stamina must be taken on trust for the additional quarter of a mile, Richard Hughes knows the horse having won a 12f handicap off a 30lb lower mark on the July course last August.
I have long thought there was a big Handicap in Communicator and have also backed Andrew Balding’s runner at 20/1. A bit more rain would have helped but I have had this one down as a potential Cesarewitch winner since the Chester Cup back in the spring.
The 12f Handicap is a wonderful addition to the card and features any number of unexposed types. The winner could easily make up into a Group horse and Connecticut (3.10) fits the bill and gets the vote at 10/1 with BetVictor for Luca Cumani. The colt may not have got home over an additional quarter-of-a-mile at York last time but was cantering two out and gets the vote despite a 5lb rise.
Battersea (13/2) has been raised 10lbs for his Ascot success and that might just be enough to halt his hat-trick bid whilst Rewaaya would have preferred more cut in the ground. The biggest danger might come from the foot of the weights and Stetchworth (20/1 at BetVictor) who is open to considerable improvement after four starts and looks the type to keep finding for Mark Johnston.
An excellent jumps card from Chepstow this afternoon, but no AP McCoy who is sidelined through injury until next week following a nasty fall at Worcester on Thursday. The 2m 4f Novice Chase has been won by Cue Card, Fingal Bay and Balder Succes in the three years it has been run and we have another cracking field this afternoon although the suggestion is that Colour Squadron will miss the race having been engaged at Newton Abbot yesterday.
Southfield Theatre (3.40) will get further in time but was reported in rude health by his trainer at a recent Open Day for the Paul Nicholls yard. He will go to the Rising Stars’ Novice Chase at Wincanton next month but can take this decent prize en route.
The 3m Handicap Chase is a cracker with Grand National seventh Monbeg Dude making his seasonal reappearance for the Scudamores but my two against the field are Trafalgar (love a battle) and Highland Lodge (5.30) with marginal preference for the latter who is visored for the first time. The Emma Lavelle yard are in excellent form and the selection finished fourth in last year’s Hennessy off a 9lb higher mark having run a cracker behind handicap good thing Standing Ovation on his reappearance. The gelding has an excellent record fresh and he must go close if the visor helps him concentrate.
Barry Geraghty has an interesting book of mounts and I am keen on the chances of Dawalan (4.20) for Nicky Henderson in the 4-year-old Hurdle. The selection was a beaten favourite in his last three starts but has always been considered a decent sort at Seven Barrows and he is given one last chance to show he is no Morning Glory.