Andrew Balding is fancied to win the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday as our gallops reporter rounds up the tips for the weekend.
Ranch Hand (4.10 Newmarket)
Ranch Hand looks one of the more unexposed runners and is worth an interest in the Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes at Newmarket. The autumn rains have made the ground at headquarters soft, and further forecast precipitation is sure to make this marathon an even more demanding test than it usually is. Ranch Hand may be unproven over the trip, but he produced his most important of three wins so far over a mile and three quarters in the mud at Haydock last time, and there is plenty of stamina on both sides of his pedigree. With just five races behind him, he has plenty of score for improvement, and his three-year-old allowance means he gets in here with a relatively light weight.
Positive (3.30 Newmarket)
Positive could be the each-way value in a Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes dominated by the brilliance of Pinatubo. Very highly-regarded by Clive Cox, Positive was quietly fancied to beat Charlie Appleby's star at Glorious Goodwood, but was well and truly put in his place. However, he might have finished a little closer had he got more of the run of the race, and the Beechdown trainer does think the easier ground here, will play to Positive's strengths. He has won the Solario Stakes since, and has been in very good form in his subsequent work.
Tritonic (2.20 Newmarket)
Tritonic is a progressive two-year-old and looks ready for a step up to pattern company in the Group Three Flying Start Zetland Stakes. Alan King has enjoyed a very good flat season and this son of Sea The Moon has looked one of his most promising youngsters. His victory in the Haynes Hanson & Clark's Stakes at Newbury last month looked a very solid staying effort, and his breeding suggests he should appreciate both the step up in trip and the softer ground.
Last Empire (4.45 Newmarket)
The Kevin Ryan camp are still on a high after Last Slippers epic Group One win in the Longchamp mud last weekend, and they have hopes another filly, Last Empire can bounce back to her best form in the Listed Boadicea Stakes. Well fancied to land her fifth win in a row at the Ayr Gold Cup meeting last month, she found the ground a little bit too lively and could only finish fourth to Lady Of France. She had previously hosed up on a testing surface in a Haydock handicap, and connections are sure she can prove a real threat at this higher level.
Yorkshire Gold (2.40 York)
Yorkshire Gold flopped on the fast ground in the Acomb Stakes on his latest start, and he is fancied to go well for Ryan in the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York. This looks a pretty competitive event, but few should handle the testing ground better than this son of Muhaarar, who won on a similar surface at Leicester on his debut. The fact that Ryan decided to run the selection in a Group Three at the big meeting shows the esteem in which he is held, and he is back in very good form after a short break to recharge his batteries. Tim Easterby has a great record in this race and the confidence behind his Lampang compels me to suggest an each-way interest on Yorkshire Gold.
Imperial Aura (4.30 Chepstow)
Imperial Aura can come out best in a fascinating race for the Cotswold Stone Ltd Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow. The winner of his only two races over timber last season, there has been much chat in our local jump circles about the potential of this six-year-old, who has been working with plenty of zest in his pre-season build up. Bailey did consider fences for his first outing of the campaign, but he is keen to see if Imperial Aura is well handicapped over hurdles, and this looks an ideal launch point.
Capeland (5.05 Chepstow)
Paul Nichols is starting to find his stride as the gears start to move up for the season, and he should go close with Capeland in the John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase. The champion trainer believes there is plenty of improvement in this seven-year-old after a successful season last term and a very good summer break, and he may be starting the campaign on a lenient mark.
Reserve Tank (3.55 Chepstow)
Colin Tizzard will be a tad nervous when his much touted young fencer Reserve Tank makes his eagerly awaited debut over birch in the Low Cost Novices' Chase, but stablemate Highest Sun might be a little longer price in the Gent Transport Handicap Hurdle a little earlier on the card. He showed his ability to act on this tricky course when scoring here last season, and should give us a good run with his stable in decent form.