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When a little voice in your head keeps telling you that there can only be one winner in a 32-runner handicap over the rarely raced distance of 2m2f, it is probably time to put down the form book and call for professional help. However, as long as one stares and studies the field assembled for Saturday’s big betting race at Newmarket, the Totesport Cesarewitch, there is only horse the mind’s eye can see coming home in front: Detroit City.
Everything about the profile of this four-year old looks right. He was decent enough on the flat, winning four handicaps up to 1m6f when trained by Jeremy Noseda. But stepped up to longer distances over hurdles he has been a revelation. Detroit City won the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham by a magisterial five lengths before slamming the field at Aintree, becoming the first horse to complete that prestigious and lucrative double since Pollardstown in 1979.
Detroit City gets into this race of his old flat handicap mark of 92. Even the most niggardly would have to concede he has improved by at least a stone over timber. If that form translates back to flat and he stays, the Cesarewitch will be yet another entry on this fast improving horse’s already impressive CV. If you really can’t back the favourite, Finalmente looks the best of the rest.
There are only eight runners in the Group 1 Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes, but this is a tricky puzzle. A stellar cast from France, Ireland and the UK has been assembled and there are more direct and collateral form lines linking these horses than the threads of a spider’s web.
It pays to side with the Classic generation, three-year olds have won 42/ 60 since 1945. Olympian Odyssey isn’t good enough and, with apologies to Sir Percy, you have to go back more than two decades to find a Derby winner who went on to win this. The percentage call is Sir Mark Prescott’s lightly raced filly Confidential Lady each-way. If jumping is your game, Yardbird holds an excellent chance in the big handicap at Kempton.
2:50 Newmarket: Detroit City (win); Finalmente (each-way)
3:30 Newmarket: Confidential Lady (each-way)
3:50 Kempton: Yardbird (win)