Flat action for us at Newmarket and York this week-end
It might seem odd that the draw has proved such a big influence in the two and a quarter mile Cesarewitch, but 14 of the last 16 winners of the Newmarket marathon have started from stall 15 or higher, including our very own Grumeti, who sprang a 50-1 surprise three years ago.
We are three-handed in the second leg of the Autumn Double at HQ tomorrow, and, while the draw for both Coeur de Lion (34) and Top Tug (20) would satisfy the statisticians, Just In Time, seemingly the pick on recent form, has to buck the trend by defying stall number two.
In 14 months Just In Time’s rating has climbed from 60 to 94 following six successes, and his recent Doncaster victory incurred a 4lb penalty for this £500,000 showpiece.
“We are stepping into unknown territory trip-wise, but you won’t find out unless you run,” was Alan’s realistic summing up, and, while Top Tug stayed well enough over hurdles, he, too, has never run this far on the Flat, though stamina is not a worry for the versatile Coeur de Lion, who was the only one to try and keep tabs with the trailblazing Stars Over The Sea in the Cesarewitch Trial over the course and distance last month.
We have three runners on the Flat today, with Chatez being accompanied by Peckinpah on the trip to York, while Princesse Mathilde makes her debut at Newmarket.
Chatez has suffered so many injury problems, which means he has raced only three times in the last three and a half years, but there was plenty of encouragement from his belated 2018 debut at Ayr last month, when he was beaten less than three lengths, so, hopefully, he’ll again be competitive.
The other two are both unraced juveniles, Princesse Mathilde being a home-bred filly from Philippa Cooper’s Normandie Stud, and she is a half-sister to Pantaar, who won in Listed company for Jim Bolger, while Peckinpah, an Excellebration gelding, was a 15,000gns purchase at the Breeze-Up Sales.
Declaration time for Chepstow tomorrow is still two and a half hours away, but I hope to be able to mark your card on our prospects before close of play today.