A Group 1 to relish and the big betting race that is the Cesarewtich – seven races on the main ITV network from Newmarket and York gives us all something to relish.
The 14.20 at Newmarket that opens the show is the Group 3 Zetland Stakes for two-year-olds over a stamina-sapping 1m 2f. Hard to know which of these will improve most for the trip, but VOLKAN STAR looks very decent for Godolphin and I hope it will be him. Charlie Appleby’s runner was odds-on for his debut suggesting he was highly thought of, and despite getting beat he put everything together at Goodwood last time. Bred to stay well.
Next at Newmarket is the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over 1m for two-year-olds at 14.55. Another event where all the runners could improve massively. Watch the market as the same owner has Persia, but I’ll have a few quid each-way on CHEROKEE TRAIL, who is unbeaten in two starts for John Gosden.
My selection battled well to score at Newbury last time.
The Group 1 Dewhurst for comes up at 15.30 over 7f. All eyes on PINATUBO who is already rated higher than Frankel was as the same stage of his development, after a demolition job in the Group 1 National Stakes in Ireland. That day Pinatubo stretched nine lengths clear of Group 2 winner Armory, who last weekend was only a length off winning the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere in France that was taken by Victor Ludorum. It’s sizzling form.
Pinatubo has already scored five times this season, and some of his eight rivals are now less exposed, including Positive, who is the apple of trainer Clive Cox’s eye. The handler went close to landing the Middle Park the other day, and his Sandown victor is tough and talented. Aidan O’Brien, who has Armory in his barn, now relies mainly on Wichita, who started off in a big field at the Curragh scoring narrowly.
The son of No Nay Never was then defeated in just a Listed event at Doncaster, but then hacked up by seven lengths in a Group 3 at Newmarket suggesting he is now improving fast. He could be anything.
But the Dewhurst is all about one horse – and that horse is Pinatubo.
And finally at Newmarket the Cesarewitch is over 2m 2f at 16.10. One horse who looks sure to stay strong is GREAT WHITE SHARK, who has been making mistakes over hurdles but was a winner on the Flat at Galway for Willie Mullins in July.
She has a good draw to work from under William Buick and a lovely racing weight.
Meanwhile, over at York ITV show a 6f Listed sprint at 14.40. The one to beat here is LAMPANG, who looked very useful for Tim Easterby at Ripon last time. Well built and open to all kind of improvement.
A handicap over an extended 1m 2f follows at 15.15 on the Knavesmire where the tough JOHNNY DRAMA has a decent chance here for Andrew Balding. He flopped last time at Newbury, but prior to that had run a fine second at this track. Silvestre de Sousa rides.
We finish up at the northern tracks with a sprint handicap over 6f at 15.50. GULLIVER is a course and distance winner and deserves a win after a fine third in the Ayr Gold Cup.
He’ll be thrusting home strongly for David O’Meara and Jason Hart.
*Prices correct at time of publishing