Groovejet the value option in ultra-competitive Cesarewitch
A COUPLE of winners last week saw this column's recent good fortune continue - and having suffered a barren spell for a few weeks during the summer, such successes certainly give a welcome boost to the betting coffers at this late stage of the flat season.
I must admit though, it's going to be very difficult to continue that momentum in this afternoon's Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket (3.50) with as many as 34 runners set to go to post.
For the past two years the race named after Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who donated £300 to the Jockey Club in the 1830s, was won by a 66/1 outsider and no less than twelve winners since the turn of this century were priced in double figures.
That's hardly surprising considering the large size of the fields over the years but unlike some other big handicaps, there doesn't seem to be a particular type of horse that wins this regularly so trying to come up with a profile of the most likely winner is difficult. As such, stakes will be kept to a minimum here; although the fact that some bookmakers are paying out six places makes an each-way bet at a big price attractive.
When I first had a look at the card this week, the one that stuck out immediately was Tony Martin's Quick Jack with Richard Hughes booked to ride but now at 6/1, the bookmakers are taking no chances on one of Ireland's shrewdest trainers. Quick Jack is rarely out of the frame on the flat and over hurdles and the five-year-old looked like he had more to come when readily taking the Connacht Hotel Handicap after six months off at the Galway Festival last time, having stepped up in trip to two miles.
You get the feeling he's been laid out for this but as I say, the price is just too low in such a large field. Instead, a tentative each-way vote goes to the three-year-old filly Groovejet, which should go off in the region of 25/1 under Franny Norton. A daughter of Cockney Rebel, she's never raced beyond one mile and seven furlongs, so a step up to 2m2f today is certainly not a given although she's been improving with each increase in distance, and I've a feeling Peter Chapple-Hyam's charge is still under-rated off a mark of 96.
A three-time winner on the all-weather, she went off as a 40/1 outsider in the Group Two Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster last month and while never a threat to the winner Silk Sari, it was a reasonable achievement to finish second in a pattern race which looked fairly competitive on paper beforehand.
Earlier on the same card, I'm surprised to see Strong Chemistry chalked up as high as 6/1 for the opening Group Three Autumn stakes. Charlie Appleby's colt got off to a promising start when runner-up on his debut at Kempton last month and he absolutely bolted up to win a maiden at the same venue two weeks later.
He looks an exciting prospect and it's well worth taking a chance with him in a Group race this afternoon. Solario Stakes runner-up Future Empire is also one for the notebook but is a little too short today at 5/2.
WITH just two places up for grabs, the seven-runner Willie Park Trophy Handicap at Musselburgh (4.50) is not normally the type of race I'd recommend for an each-way bet, but I can't resist a punt on 33/1 outsider Jammy Moment even though she's running out of the handicap.
She was fourth in a handicap at Ayr last time for new trainer Linda Perratt, and the word on the grapevine is that a change of scenery has done some good.
2.05 Newmarket: Strong Chemistry
3.35 Musselburgh: Dhaular Dhar
3.50 Newmarket: Groovejet (e/w)
4.45 York: Deepsand
4.50 Musselburgh: Jammy Moment (e/w)
7.50 Wolverhampton: Illogical