Past Winners » Sweet Selection
St Michel is high-profile, and he is higher now than he was, since his run to finish third in the Doncaster Cup last time. He is a progressive three-year-old who is trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who has history with the Cesarewitch, so he was always going to be fashionable for this race. Also, lots has been made of the fact that he is now 19lb higher than he was when he ran in the Doncaster Cup.
He has a big chance in the Cesarewitch, no question, but he is very short. And while he is a progressive three-year-old, there is a chance that he will lack the toughness that is required for a Cesarewitch. Also, he is 15lb well-in, not 19lb, he does have a 4lb penalty for his previous win at Goodwood.
Of course, he is still 15lb well-in, and he is progressive enough to be possibly even better than his new mark. And he will probably get into the race now, he only needs four horses above him in the handicap to come out. He will be a big player if he does get in, but he is very short at 6/1.
By contrast, Sweet Selection is over-priced in my book at 10/1. Purely from a handicapping point of view, that is too big. She also ran in that Doncaster Cup, she finished fifth, two places and five and a half lengths behind St Michel. The handicapper raised her 17lb for that win but, as with St Michel, because the Cesarewitch is an early-closing race, she gets to race off her old mark. So she is 17lb well-in, and she doesn’t have a 4lb penalty, so she is better-in than St Michel, and she is almost twice his price.
There is more to her chance than just the weights and measures argument. She is four, she is a year older than St Michel, but she also still has lots of scope for progression, especially over this extreme test.
Hughie Morrison’s filly is a seriously improved filly since she moved up to staying trips. A winner over two miles at Chelmsford last November on her first attempt at a distance in excess of a mile and a half, she won three on the bounce during the early summer, over two miles and two and a quarter miles, seeing out the trip well on each occasion.
She does have five and a half lengths to make up on St Michel from Doncaster, but that race was not run to suit her. George Baker was allowed dictate a nice pace on Quest For More, and Sweet Selection got outpaced when they picked up at the top of the home straight. Also, she was hampered by St Michel as Sir Mark Prescott’s horses moved to his left three furlongs out.
The Cesarewitch is run over the same distance, two and a quarter miles, but it is a much stiffer test. The Doncaster Cup is run on the round track, with a four-furlong straight. The Cesarewitch is run on an L-shaped track, with a 10-furlong straight. They start racing from a long way out in the Cesarewitch, it is a thorough examination, and that should suit Sweet Selection well.
A half-sister to Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder, she goes on all types of ground, and it looks like Silvestre de Sousa has been booked, which is a big positive. De Sousa rode just four horses for Morrison last year, and two of them won.
I am also taking a chance on The Cashel Man at a big price. David Simcock’s horse has threatened to win a big staying handicap for a while now, and it could all come together for him on Saturday.
He is another who relishes a test of stamina. A progressive stayer last year, he shaped really encouragingly on his debut this season in finishing second to Saigon City in a two-mile handicap at York in May.
He failed to build on that immediately however, he was disappointing on his next two runs, but he shaped much better behind Oceane back at York at the Ebor meeting.
He stepped forward from that last time in the Cesarewitch Trial two weeks ago, over Saturday’s course and distance. With first-time blinkers replacing his usual cheekpieces, he had no answer to Penglai Pavilion, who made all and ran out an impressive winner, but he stayed on well to take second place, with good stayers Shrewd and Champagne Champ and Oceane behind him.
The handicapper raised him 3lb for that, but he gets to race off his old mark on Saturday, so he is 3lb well in. More importantly, however, he is proven over the course and distance, and he should step forward again for the faster pace that they should go compared to the Trial, and the extra premium that that will place on stamina. It is worth having him on side at 25/1.
SWEET SELECTION WON (ADV 10/1, SP 7/1)
THE CASHEL MAN 4TH (ADV 25/1, SP 9/1)