Steve Hughes previews a superb Saturday of racing
The 2yo’s take centre stage at Newmarket with the Dewhurst the premier race for juveniles in the British calendar. However for betting purposes the Cesarewitch is the race to concentrate on. Chepstow’s ever improving October fixture marks the start proper of the winter jumping season. Rock Eagle was a winner for us at Newmarket on Friday (advised 7/2).
Newmarket 3.40: Stratum & Coeur de Lion
Strong winds means getting cover will be important in this stamina test and jockeyship important. Given the size of the field I am taking two horses here.
Stratum is an obvious choice given his fine record in these valuable staying handicaps this season. A highly promising third in the Ascot Stakes (over 2f further) he built on that to land a comprehensive 3l win at Newbury in the inaugural JLT Cup. His run in the Ebor at York can safely be disregarded. Cruising at the 3f to go stage, he simply got no run up the rail and came home on the bridle. Expect jockey Robert Winston to take his time, but the stamina is proven and he can give owner Tony Bloom a second consecutive Ces.
Coeur de Lion is a horse I just keeping backing in these sort of races. An out and out galloper, this long finishing straight will allow him to get into a strong rhythm. True he was comfortably beaten in the trial race here three weeks ago, but that was a strange contest in which he effectively made the running way behind the tearaway winner. Far better and coming through beaten horses late, he was a slightly unlucky third in that Newbury race won by Stratum and he ought to get luck in running on this wide and seriously long finishing stretch.
Chepstow 4.10: Nayati
I am hopeful of an Alan King win in the Cesarewitch and the trainer as strong claims with Nayati in this valuable 4yo hurdle.
His first season in hurdling ended underwhelmingly but there is reason to believe he will improve for some better ground. He was a strong traveller on the flat in France and raced only in the mid-winter deep going last season.
He did win on his first two starts, winning despite running green at Newbury and then taking advantage of his rivals jumping errors to win fortunately at Ascot. He was then well beaten against more experienced rivals at Market Rasen, but there is ability there and in a race lacking an obviously unexposed rival, I think Nayati might enjoy the faster ground today.
Chepstow 4.45: Theclockisticking
An excellent field for this good prize and with fitness on his side Theclockisticking will surely go close.
He was heavily backed for a listed handicap at Market Rasen two weeks ago, but found the sharp 2m on fast ground too quick a test. That said, he showed great resolution in storming home for second place from way behind. Last season proved his best trip though was around this 2m3f distance.
Of most note was his second place at Cheltenham’s April meeting on good going, only just giving best to the classy Diese des Bieffes. He was then badly baulked when only fourth at Aintree, but that recent outing in Lincolnshire will have put him spot on for today.
Chepstow 5.20: Rock the Kasbah
The stats are all in favour of a Rock the Kasbah win at Chepstow this afternoon.
He won this race last year when well backed – continuing a fine record fresh and an excellent run at this track. His Chepstow record now reads 22111 – winning all three starts over fences. His first time out record reads 21211.
Trainer Philip Hobbs definitely seems to have come into better form since a shocking second half of last season, but this horse did run a super race when second in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of term. The cheekpieces he wore that day are retained and might help him mid-race when he does often hit a flat spot.
1pt win – Stratum – 3.40 Newmarket – 15/2 Paddy Power, Totesport
0.75pts each-way – Coeur de Lion – 3.40 Newmarket – 50/1 Bet365 (¼ odds first 6)
1pt win – Nayati – 4.10 Chepstow – 11/2 William Hill
1pt each-way – Theclockisticking – 4.45 Chepstow – 11/2 William Hill
1pt win – Rock the Kasbah – 5.20 Chepstow – 5/2 general