WE’VE been spoiled with some top-class racing over the last couple of weeks.
And this weekend’s offering is no exception, with stunning action at Newmarket and York.
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The ‘Future Champions Festival’, or the Cesarewitch meeting between you and me, is always a great punting card.
I backed a couple at Newmarket earlier in the week, and I reckon both horses hold strong claims on Saturday.
In the Dewhurst, WEMBLEY (2.55 Newmarket) looks overpriced and he can enhance Aidan O’Brien’s ridiculously good record in the race.
The ground is going to be on the slow side at HQ, which could inconvenience several of those at the head of the market.
The son of Galileo opened his account at the fourth attempt with an easy win on testing ground at Roscommon in August.
And he took a huge step forward when a never-nearer second behind Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh last time.
He was still last approaching the final furlong, travelling well and looking for room, before he was switched to the wide outside and finished with a wet sail.
He stays 7f strongly, and with a big field and the likelihood of a strong gallop, I doubt there will be anything finishing as well as him. I’m under no illusions that he needs to step up, but his trainer has had horses run huge at long odds in this race in the past.
The Cesarewitch is next up and NOT SO SLEEPY (3.35 Newmarket) can bag his connections another valuable pot.
Hughie Morrison’s eight-year-old had a great time of things over hurdles last year and ran out a ready winner of a hot little race at Pontefract last time out.
Saturday selections and advised odds
Ground conditions will be right up his street and he is 2lb well-in under his penalty.
I have no doubts whatsoever that he stays the 2m2f trip, for all he weakened late to finish fourth in the race here last season (ran too free early). He lines up this year nice and fresh – last term he’d had a busy summer – and he has a confidence-boosting success behind him.
The Coral Beaten By A Length Free Bet Handicap at York is a brilliant race, and SPIRIT DANCER (2.35 York) can come out on top.
He would’ve pushed the favourite Ilaraab very close on the all-weather at Wolves earlier in the summer (if you pause the race at the top of the straight he actually looks the likeliest winner) but he was badly hampered and lost all chance.
He was getting 7lb that day and today he is getting 10lb; on that previous clash there is no way he should be more than three times the price.
That rival has gone on the win his next two starts, while Spirit Dancer himself was a dominant winner at Ripon on his next start. The selection then went down with all guns blazing in a hot race at Ayr, where he tried to make all and only gave way inside the final 50 yards.
Ground conditions are perfect for the progressive, Sir Alex Ferguson-owned son of Frankel, and there is no doubt in my mind he is better than an 85 horse. I just hope they ride him a little more conservatively – he doesn’t have to blast off in front.
One of my horses to follow Matthew Flinders is also in here, but I find it absolutely mental that they’re running him over 1m2.5f on soft ground – he’s very classy but a keen goer who is best-suited to a strongly-run mile (cue a wide margin, dour-staying win!).
He’s one to follow next year when they run him over the right trip (2021 Royal Hunt Cup, here we come).
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