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2019 Cesarewitch Stakes tips - 12/1 and 20/1 tips for Newmarket's premier staying handicap

Great White Shark (centre, grey) winning a big handicap at the Galway Festival earlier in the season

Our expert takes a look through the list of runners set to contest this year's Cesarewitch and picks out two horses to back in Newmarket’s feature handicap on Saturday.

While there are two prestigious Group Ones taking place at Newmarket this weekend, the big betting race – and the namesake contest of the entire meeting – will be the Cesarewitch Stakes. First staged back in 1839, the Cesarewitch has become an integral component during the second half of the flat racing season. This 18-furlong handicap has also drawn some of the biggest names in the National Hunt world to Newmarket during October, with the names of Martin Pipe, Philip Hobbs and Nicky Henderson featuring on the recent roll of honour.

Our expert has taken a look through the 35-strong list of runners set to take part in Saturday's Cesarewitch and highlighted his top two ante-post punts.

2019 Cesarewitch Stakes Tips

Only one three-year-old has managed to win the Cesarewitch in the past 20 years. Since Sun Darley’s triumph in 2009, only one three-year-old has even managed to place in this staying handicap. So, while I was very taken with Ranch Hand's victory at Haydock, I’m going to stay away from the youngest age group in this year’s Cesarewitch.

All of the previous 20 Cesarewitch winners had previously recorded a victory over two miles, so confirmed staying power is a must. Experience running in high-profile handicaps – either on the flat or over jumps – is important too, as is form on soft ground, as the going at Newmarket this weekend is expected to be soft, maybe good-to-soft at best.

Willie Mullins trained the first two past the post in last year’s renewal and his leading contender, Buildmeupbuttercup brings some excellent form with her to Newmarket, having won comfortably at Galway and lost out by just a neck to a future Group Three winner in a handicap at Leopardstown. Although Mullins’ five-year-old saw out two-and-a-half miles well when second in the Ascot Stakes, I’m not convinced she really wants a hard-slog on soft ground, so I’m going to side with her stablemate, GREAT WHITE SHARK (12/1 Unibet) as my first bet.

Formerly trained on the flat here in England by James Fanshawe, Great White Shark won twice over hurdles during the first half of the year, beating a decent sort of Gordon Elliott’s in Poli Roi by eleven lengths at Wexford. At the Galway Festival, Mullins dropped his mare back to flat racing and, under an excellent ride by Paul Townend’s little sister Jody, Great White Shark ran out a convincing winner of the £65k Connacht Hotel Handicap.

Two third-placed finished over hurdles have followed since then and they will have helped keep Mullins' six-year-old limber for a tilt at the Cesarewitch. Great White Shark is proven over three-miles, clearly enjoys some extra cut in the ground and, rated just 89, looks to be running off a workable mark. She looks a solid each-way proposition sitting on 12/1.

Mr Everest was also victorious at Galway and John Egan, who travelled over to Naas to win on AJ Martin’s handicapper back in November, has already been confirmed in the saddle. Another runner I feel is overpriced is Eddystone Rock, who has improved considerably for the step up to two miles and could have another big run left in his legs.

While both hold appeal, one who I feel has been severely overlooked is COEUR DE LION (20/1 Betfred). Alan King’s handicapper may have only finished 16th in this race 12 months ago, but the ground that day was unfavourably quick and King has clearly laid his six-year-old out with this race in mind since running well at Newbury in July.

King’s six-year-old has never been in better form on the flat. Following a good second on his reappearance, Coeur De Lion fair bolted up in the Chester Plate, beating some capable rivals by five lengths on bottomless ground. A decent fifth followed in the Ascot Stakes, after which King’s charge recorded strong placed efforts in both the Northumberland Vase and the Marsh Cup, where he crossed the line third behind the impressive Withhold.

All of Coeur De Lion’s best form has come on soft ground and he has run well at Newmarket in the past, losing out to Who Dares Wins in the big trial for this race back in 2017. King won this handicap with Grumeti in 2015 and he’s already secured the services of multiple Group One winning ride, Shane Foley. I’m all over Coeur De Lion at 25/1.

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2019 Cesarewitch Stakes tips - 12/1 and 20/1 tips for Newmarket's premier staying handicap

Our expert takes a look through the list of runners set to contest this year's Cesarewitch and picks out two horses to back in Newmarket’s feature handicap on Saturday 12th October.

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