A big field of 34 runners contest the Club Godolphin Cesarewitch Handicap at 15h40, this Saturday.
Run over 2 miles on the Rowley mile course at Newmarket, this feature looks a tricky puzzle to solve.
Last year’s runner-up Vino Victrix is on a 2lb lower mark now, and his last start at Goodwood was a fair effort behind the progressive Novel Legend. However, the soft ground is a concern.
The Irish raiders look more appealing with jumps trainers Gordon Elliott, Noel Meade and Emmet Mullins all having lively chances in this famous heritage handicap. Pied Piper was a winner at this course before making a successful switch to timber with Gordon Elliott.
He was third in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham before narrowly beaten in a Gr1 at Aintree. The five-year-old then ran a fair 6th of 19 in the Ascot Stakes at the royal meeting, when unlucky in running up the straight.
Another decent jumps campaign included a close second in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Pied Piper looks tailor-made for the Cesarewitch, and the booking of Ryan Moore shows that connections are confident of a big run.
The Shunter, trained by Emmet Mullins has been well backed in the ante-post market over the last couple of days as the ground has eased. A Cheltenham festival winner, the gelding had a “pipe-opener” over a mile and a half at Gowran Park in mid-August and is expected to make a race off it now going up in trip.
Finally, the seven-year-old gelding Jesse Evans deserves a mention. Noel Meade’s stable is in fine form at present. His runner ran a credible fourth last month in the Irish Cesarewitch, beaten only a length by the winner.
Earlier on the card, the Aidan O’Brien trained City Of Troy is expected to justify favouritism in the Gr1 Native Trail’s Dewhurst Stakes (15h00).
This son of Justify created a huge impression when romping home by six and a half lengths in the Superlative Stakes on the July Course, with subsequent Goodwood Gr2 victor Haatem back in second.
If the rain continues, exactas with Iberian, an impressive winner of the Gr2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month should be included. He looked good on the soft ground, coming away from his field over the final furlong with ease.
The third placed runner Rosallion secured Gr1 glory at Longchamp on his next start to confirm the form.