The Cesarewitch is the second leg of the Autumn Double and is one of the most prestigious staying handicaps in Europe.
Ran over 18 furlongs and with a maximum of 34 runners it is often referred to as the ‘Grand National of the flat.’
Favourites have won just three of the last 20 renewals and in fact there have only been four winners in that time that started at single figure prices. That is bad news for current favourite Countrywide Flame and Hurricane Higgins and Olympiad, who are likely to be well supported on the day.
Seven of the past 10 winners have been drawn in stall 12 or lower which would appear to rule out the majority of the runners including fancied horses like Olympiad, I Have A Dream, Montaser and Hurricane Higgins.
However, last year’s winner Never Can Tell came from stall 36 and her success may pave the way for jockey’s to be more adventurous with their mounts, reducing the draw bias.
There are no real trends towards a certain age group and Carracciola won as an 11-year-old in 2008 so 10-year-old veterans Sentry Duty and Blue Bajan shouldn’t be disregarded out of hand.
Only two three-year-olds have won in that time though, so Montaser and I Have A Dream look to be up against it.
All of the last ten winners had either won over at least 16 furlongs on the flat (five) or further over hurdles (five).
Newmarket hosts the inaugural Future Champions Day on Saturday with four Group races for two-year-olds, as well as the marathon handicap, the Cesarewitch.
The Dewhurst is widely regarded as the best 2,000 Guineas trial and Frankel won it last year before producing his scintillating performance in the Guineas. The win of Sir Henry Cecil's stable star stopped Ireland winning the race for a fifth straight year and Jim Bolger won the race three times between 2006 and 2008. He relies on Parish Hall, who is a general 16/1 shot, but it is always unwise to write off a Bolger contender in this race.
The Middle Park Stakes has also produced Guineas winners, but it tends to go to young sprinters, as proved by last year's winner Dream Ahead who went on to take both the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup this season.
The Cesarewitch is the second leg of the Autumn Double and the draw can count for plenty over this marathon 2m2f race. Six of the last ten winners have come from a single-figure stall, so there will undoubtedly be plenty of interest in the likes of Beyond (stall 3) and Sentry Duty (stall 1).
John Gosden has won two of the last four runnings of the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, and three times in total, so he is the logical place to start when analysing the race. Halling and Pipedreamer were both three-year-olds when they won this and they went on to prove themselves to be Group class.
Gosden relies on Questioning this year, who ran a blinder behind King Torus in a Listed race at Haydock last month. However, the son of Elusive Quality has only won one of his six career starts and it takes a really decent three-year-old to win the first leg of the Autumn Double. Only two have won since 1999 and there are plenty in this year's line-up, including Dare To Dance, Cry Fury and Sagramor.
The last two winners have been more exposed handicappers and experience often counts for a lot in this race.
There have been two winning favourites in the past six years, but the last three victors have been priced between 14/1 and 16/1.
The Champion Stakes is one of the top middle-distance races in the world and Twice Over could make it a day to remember for Henry Cecil. The son of Observatory won this contest last year and will attempt to emulate Alborada, who won it for Sir Mark Prescott in 1998 and 1999. There have only been two winning favourites in the past decade, but six of the past ten winners have been 8/1 or shorter.
Three-year-olds have a decent record in the race, winning four of the past six renewals, and France have won the race twice in the past four years. New Approach was the most impressive recent winner in 2008 when he powered clear to win by 8 lengths. That said, it can also produce a tight finish as when Literato came home a short-head in front of Eagle Mountain in 2007.
There will be added media interest in this month’s Champions Day fixture at Newmarket, as it will be re-directed to Ascot next year for Britain’s richest ever raceday. HQ will continue to hold some of the key juvenile contests and this year’s Dewhurst Stakes looks absolute fascinating.
Frankel’s performance in the Royal Lodge at Ascot last time was breathtaking, but he could face similarly impressive recent winners, Dream Ahead and Saamidd, at Newmarket. Spread punters may find it difficult to separate these three hugely promising individuals, but may also be interested to learn that Irish-trained horses have won the last four runnings of this race and that the last two winners have been priced at 20/1 and 33/1.
Henry Cecil has gone on record as saying that Frankel is the best two-year-old he has trained since Wollow, who won the Dewhurst in 1975. Most spread bettors would associate the master of Warren Place with fillies, but he has won this classic trial twice and Frankel has won his last two races by a combined 23 lengths. Dream Ahead won the Middle Park by 9 lengths and Saamidd has won his two career starts by a combined 9 ¼ lengths.
The winning distance market in this race will be very interesting and if any horse wins comfortably they will be a very short-priced favourite for the Guineas. However, distance buyers won’t be encouraged by the last two winning margins – a neck and a nose. In fact, there has only been one winning margin of more than 2 lengths in the past decade – Shamardal in 2004.