Our racing expert marks your card for the three Newmarket races being shown live on ITV.
2:00 1m2f (Row) International Stud Book Committee Handicap (Class 3) (3yo 0-95)
A couple of these, Crowned Eagle and Apex King, could improve for a gelding operation since they last run and both are dropping in class. But preference is for Sir Michael Stoute’s CITY OF JOY whose latest fifth (of 15) at the York Ebor meeting needs upgrading as he completely blew the start and then ran on late over the mile trip without any hope of catching the winner. That was at least an improvement on his two previous disappointing starts, having won back-to-back races at Doncaster and Chelmsford earlier in the season, and he looks ready for 1m2f now (plenty to stamina on his dam’s side to back that up). The forecast cut in the ground is fine for him too as while both his turf wins have come on fast ground, he showed he could handle slower conditions when chasing home Swiss Storm in a Newbury maiden last September. With question marks over the rest, I rate him a good bet at bet365’s 9/2.
2:35 1m4f (Row) ebfstallions.com Bentley Cambridge Fillies’ Handicap (Class 3) (3yo+ 0-95)
Likely favourite Lady Bergamot enjoyed the run of the race when scoring at Goodwood last time, though to be fair she was has now won three of her last four starts. She’s just preferred over Cribbs Causeway, who is up another 7lb to a career-high mark and has never won on ground as soft as today’s. But it could be worth taking a chance on the fitness of STAR ROCK as Hughie Morrison’s filly is potentially thrown in on a mark of 80 given the horse she beat over course and distance (good to soft) when last seen out in May has won three times since and is now rated 105. That run also showed she handles cut in the ground and only a big drift in her current bet365 price of 9/2, suggesting she might need the run, would put me off her.
3:10 2m2f (Row) Betfred Cesarewitch Trial Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
This race has a daunting look about it with 21 runners set to go to post, most of whom have something to recommend them, so it was a bit galling to see that my eventual pick, the Alan King-trained COEUR DE LION, had been put in as 6/1 favourite by the sponsors Betfred – he’s 16/1 with the same firm for the Cesarewitch proper in a couple of week’s time. But I’m going to stick with him as he could be very well treated indeed on a mark of 79 considering he was a useful hurdler last winter and ended the season rated 144 having finished seventh in the Triumph on his final outing. In hindsight, he was a good thing when hacking up at over 2m at Nottingham in May off 6lb lower and this stiffer test run on soft ground is going to be right up his street as he’s an out-and-out stayer. While King might have left a little to work in after his 123-day absence, I suspect he’ll be fit enough and the penalty he will pick up for winning is probably required if he’s to be guaranteed a run in a couple of week’s time.
King also runs Who Dares Wins, who has form claims on his third in the Ascot Stakes, and Oceane, who was only ninth when 5/2 favourite for this year, but neither are as well handicapped as the selection, who also benefits from Hollie Doyle’s 3lb claim.
Cesarewitch ante post: Coeur De Lion each-way @ 20/1 Ladbrokes (1/4 odds 184.108.40.206)