Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with nine to follow on Saturday at Chepstow, York and Newmarket. View selections below
The second leg of the autumn double the Cesarewitch is the big betting race of the day and St Michel has been the antepost favourite for the race since finishing a close third in the Doncaster Cup over today’s 2m 2f trip last month.
The 3-y-old is obviously a progressive stayer and if the handicapper could reframe the weights he would give BetVictor’s 6/1 favourite another 15lbs! Never Can Tell did win this corresponding race five years ago from stall 36, but a low draw is considered an advantage and the favourite has it all to do from stall 32.
Sir Mark Prescott saddles the favourite but he also has a second string to his bow courtesy of Sea Of Heaven (12/1 at BetVictor each way five places) who has drawn stall one and gets the each way vote; Andrea Atzeni takes over in the saddle as regular pilot Luke Morris rides the favourite, but the selection is himself a progressive sort. Atzeni faces a dilemma in that the horse has improved for being held up in his races but he wouldn’t want to get too far back from stall one.
As soon as Defoe (4.45) crossed the line at Epsom, when runner up over a mile, I thought he might be aimed at today’s Zetland Stakes over 10f for Roger Varian as he looked sure to improve for the step up to 10f. John Gosden’s once-raced filly Coronet looks a worthy favourite having been touted as a Fillies’ Mile horse after she won at Leicester on debut, but the Varian colt gets the vote in a vintage renewal of this listed contest.
The Dewhurst is the best juvenile race seen in Europe so far this season and the winner will certainly go into winter quarters as the favourite for the 2000 Guineas in the spring. Churchill is the 4/6 favourite for the race and has won his last four starts in the manner of a classic winner (7/2 for the Guineas at BetVictor) but the Frankel colt Seven Heavens is drawn next to the stands’ rail and at 7/1 gets an each way vote in what is a vintage renewal of this Group 1 contest.
Chepstow stage the best jumps card of the season to date and all six-runners in the novices chase over 2m 4f could easily be re-opposing in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March such is the quality. Our Kaempfer is a personal favourite but lurking at the foot of the weights is the four-year-old Clan Des Obeaux (3.15) who has always been considered potentially top class when going over fences by champion trainer Paul Nicholls and the youngster gets 11lbs and more from his five rivals.
Nicholls won the 4-year-old handicap hurdle three years on the spin from 2010-12 and Diego Du Charmil (3.50) is only 5lbs higher than when winning the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.
Thomas Cheesman takes off a valuable 5lbs aboard Braavos (4.25) for Philip Hobbs and the selection will appreciate the forecast good ground. Hobbs saddled the winner of this corresponding race back in 2011 and 2012 and at 11/1 with BetVictor Braavos might be slightly over-priced.
In the finale Golden Milan is one of a number of potentially well-handicapped sorts and a market move for the locally trained horse would be worth noting. Caspian Piper has done us a favour in his last two starts and his young conditional takes off 10bs, but the vote goes to Kim Bailey’s Silver Eagle (5.35) who starts the campaign from a lowly mark; first time out might be the time to catch him although the Bailey yard could be in better form.
At York Weekend Offender (2.00) looked an unlucky loser at Haydock a couple of weeks ago and Tom Eaves takes over again on the Kevin Ryan gelding who has kept his form all season and could still be improving.
I am loath to desert Lord Ben Stack in the 10f handicap but I think Great Order (2.35) can return to winning ways stepped back up to 10f although he is 5lbs higher than when a fast-finishing second at Newmarket over a mile last month.
I’m not convinced Sir Dancealot (3.10) quite got home over 7f at Newmarket last time when third in the Gp 3 Tattersalls Stakes and I’m pleased to see him drop back a furlong for David Elsworth. The once-raced Lost At Sea looked a potential superstar when winning at Doncaster on debut (16/1) and he is the obvious danger for Karl Burke.