We are heading towards the end of the flat season in the UK but there is still some excellent racing to enjoy before the campaign comes to an end, including a couple of decent meetings in the UK on Saturday afternoon. The Cesarewitch is the main race on show. We have found a couple of bets for that and one elsewhere across the Saturday cards as we look to back up a stellar weekend last week.
3.50 York: Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap
The last big sprint handicap at York this season sees 22 runners on the straight track over 6 furlongs for the Sprint Trophy, a race that has seen the last 10 winners all go off at 14/1 or less.
Aplomb is a 3 year old and the current favourite but he’s up 4lb for a narrow defeat last time out so will need to find improvement. Summerghand looks to be David O’Meara’s main hope and he’s been running well, including when 4th behind Kynren at Ascot a week ago. However, his hold up style isn’t ideal here. Danzeno is a likeable type but 6 furlongs on soft ground may just stretch him nowadays.
Instead, we’re plumping for Hey Jonesy from a stable that has an exceptional record in the race; they’ve saddled the last 2 winners which would have been the last 3 had it not been for a neck back in 2016. The yard rely on just 1 runner this time around. You could argue he doesn’t have the greatest profile having won just 1 of his career starts but his mark and conditions now look ideal. He’s down to a mark of 101 having been campaigned almost exclusively in pattern company. Last time out, he was well backed in the Ayr Gold Cup but lost a shoe and now comes here on a 2lb lower mark and with soft ground in his favour. His best form has been over this trip on this ground with 2 of his best 4 RPRs being the only times he has encountered these conditions; RPRs of 107 and 112 were recorded. He also likes this track and won his only race (as a 2 year old) here before finishing 3rd in the nearly £200K Premier Yearling Stakes. Last term he was a neck 2nd in a Listed race here whilst this year he finished 5th in the Group 2 Duke Of York on unsuitably firm ground; the 4 in front of him and the 2 immediately behind that day are all rated at least 107 so you could say a mark of 101 is on the lenient side of average. He looks a cracking each way bet.
Back Hey Jonesy (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
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4.10 Newmarket: Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes Handicap
Just the 31 runners for the Cesarewitch, a handicap over 2 miles 2 furlongs so where to start in narrowing down this field? First up, in the last 6 runnings, no horse has carried over 9st2lbs, there’s been no 3 year old winner, no last time out winner, no horse has gone in mark from their last run and all 6 winners had finished in the first 6 last time out. That rules out all bar one of the front 7 in the market, those 7 being the only horses at odds of 20/1 or less.
Amongst them is Ranch Hand, a 3 year old who won last time out at Haydock and is up 4lbs for this. However, he did beat a horse who was mightily impressive here yesterday in Trueshan. Sir Mark Prescott runs 2 progressive types in Timoshenko and Land Of Oz; between them, they have won 12 of their last 14 handicaps but this is so much tougher.
The one exception on the stats is our main selection and that’s one of the joint favourites in Buildmeupbuttercup. This selection may seem obvious but she has exceptional claims. After moving to Ireland, she was campaigned over hurdles but she’s been transformed since running on the flat. She was 2nd to The Grand Visir in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting off 3lb over a couple of furlongs further; that was on similar ground to this. Since then, she’s gone over shorter and hacked up in a Galway maiden before finishing a neck 2nd to progressive 3 year old Kastasa in a Premier Handicap at Leopardstown. She gave the winner 15lbs that day and runs here off the same mark. The form took a real boost when the winner went in again in a Group 3 next time out by 7 lengths; what’s even more impressive is that Kastasa beat 111-rated Capril by 11 lengths that day when in receipt of 13lbs, 2lbs less than our selection gave in that handicap. Taking that form literally, she’s arguably 19lbs well in although we know it doesn’t quite work like that.
At bigger odds, we can’t leave out Coeur De Lion who finished midfield in this last year but has more suitable ground conditions this time around. This season, he’s been 2nd on soft before winning on heavy, both off 5lbs lower. Since then, he’s run 3 times off this mark and performed with great credit on each occasion; 5th on good to soft in that Ascot Stakes, 3rd in the Northumberland Vase and 3rd again in the Marsh Cup on good to soft again. He needs to improve again but should be in the mix at a big each way price.
Back Buildmeupbuttercup (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 Sky Bet BOG (⅕ odds 1-8)
Back Coeur De Lion (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 23.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-7)