Flame form stacks up
You have to feel for connections of last weekend's Arc runner-up Orfevre, who looked to have the huge pot at his mercy until almost trying to pull himself up once he hit the front, but although the best horse in the race probably didn't land the prize we knew looking at the recent trends that having to come from a wide draw in the first place was not ideal.
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Yes, I also don't suspect many of you were on the winner, but we did highlight that a massive 8 of the last 10 winners came from stall 6 or lower, and although that still left Camelot in I'm hoping some stats lovers out there took the advice with the shock 50/1 winner, Solemia, who started the race from the 6 berth!
Anyway, onto this week and the feature contest is the ultra-competitive Cesarewitch Handicap on Saturday - the second-leg of the Autumn double - and with 14/1, 16/1, 25/1 and 50/1 winners in the last 5 renewals then this is another race that can often throw up the odd surprise result.
At the time of writing John Quinn's Countrywide Flame, last season's Triumph Hurdle winner, is at the forefront of the betting and after a recent win on the level at Chester then this four-year-old will surely be popular should he make the final line-up on Saturday.
The yard have also been in cracking form of late and with the horse he beat at Chester last time, Ardlui, running really well at Ascot last Friday then the form looks rock solid.
Of course, it will be best to wait until later in the week when we'll know more about the final line-up, but it's also interesting that leading Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who won this race back in 1992 with the globe-trotting Vintage Crop, has two entered at this stage - Hidden Universe and Olympiad.
Both are very decent on their day and also not that exposed, while we all know that this shrewd trainer doesn't send horses over to England unless he thinks they've got a real chance - we'll just have to wait and see if both (or one) are in the final declarations later this week.
In terms of key stats this contest is another race that often throws up some big repeating trends, so here are the main things to look out for....
Winning Distance: With all of the last 10 winners having won over 1m6f on the flat before then although most of the field will fit the bill here it's still worth noting. However, if you want to take this trend a bit further then you can with 7 of the last 10 winners having previously won over 2m on the flat.
Age: Darley Sun won the race as a 3 year-old in 2009, but since 1999 he's been the only horse in that age group to land the spoils with 4, 5 and 6 year-olds winning 8 of the last 13 renewals.
Recent Run: Let's make no mistake; this is a tough race to win, so coming here off a break is not ideal. In the last 10 years 80% of winners had run within the last 2 months.
Recent Form: As per the previous trend, coming into this race in form is also another huge plus with 8 of the last 10 having finished fourth or better in their most recent race.
Betting: I've already mentioned this race can throw-up the odd shock and with 8 of the last 10 runnings going to a horse at a double-figure price this further backs this up. In fact, the last 10 runnings have seen the first three home all return a double-figure price six times.
Weight: Being a handicap that's run over 2m2f on the flat then the weight of your fancy can play its part. Yes, you might still need a horse with a touch of class, but with 7 of the last 10 winners carrying 9-1 or less then it could pay to focus on the horses in this weight bracket.
Draw: With over 2 miles to travel then many will feel that the draw is not that important, but don't forget that we are likely to get 30+ runners here - meaning the start of the race, and getting a good early position, can be very important. In the last 10 years 7 winners have come from stalls 12 or lower.
Last Time Out: Two of the last 10 winners won their previous race, but also check what track your fancy ran at last time as 7 of the last 10 winners had their prep race at Chester, Ascot or Doncaster.
Winning Distance: Being over 2m2f then you might think there have been plenty of wide-margin winners of this race - think again, as 60% of the last 10 races saw the winner cross the line just 1 length or less in front of the rest.
Track Form: Newmarket looks a fairly straight-forward track with its wide open spaces and long straight, but there are quite a few undulations entering the final furlongs and when horses are tired this can sometimes impact the race. Therefore, with 50% of the last 10 winners having run here on the Rowley Mile track before this is something else to take into account.
Trainers: I've already mentioned Dermot Weld, but in recent years this race has been a firm target for trainers better known for their jumpers. 5 of the last 10 winners hailed from a NH stable, while Nicky Henderson, who will be hoping to run Sentry Duty, is the most successful trainer in the last 10 years with two wins (2003 & 2008). Also keep an eye on any Pipe runners, as although David is yet to win the race his father, Martin, targeted this contest with success in 2000 & 2002.
Cesarewitch Key Betting Trends
10/10 - Had won over at least 1m6f on the flat previously
9/10 - Aged 4 or older
8/10 - Had 3 or more previous flat runs that season
8/10 - Finished 4th or better in their most recent race
8/10 - Had raced within the last 2 months
8/10 - Returned a double-figure price
7/10 - Won from stall 12 or lower
7/10 - Aged 5 or older
7/10 - Had won over at least 2m on the flat previously
7/10 - Carried 9-1 or less in weight
7/10 - Ran at either Chester, Ascot or Doncaster last time out
6/10 - Had won 4 or more times on the flat previously
6/10 - The first three home returned a double-figure price
6/10 - Winning distance - 1 length or less
5/10 - Raced at the course before
5/10 - Won by a National Hunt yard
2/10 - Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/10 - Won their previous race
2/10 - Favourites to win
2/10 - Mare winners
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 16/1
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