Cesarewitch Handicap Tips: Eagle to fly to shock Newmarket win

Who will win the 2022 Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday?
Who will win the 2022 Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday?

There's an uncharacteristically small field of 23 runners going to post for the 2022 Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday afternoon, but punters will still have a tough task on their hands to try and unearth the winner of the 2m 2f marathon event, and our man Steve Chambers looks to find that contender that will be first past the post here in his in-depth preview...

National Hunt trainers have dominated this event in recent times with Willie Mullins (2018, 2019, 2020) and Nicky Henderson (2021) saddling the winners of the last four renewals, and it's the latter of that pair who will saddle this season's likely favourite as Ahorsewithnoname will look to follow on the in hoofprints of Buzz, who claimed a fine victory for the Seven Barrows team 12 months ago. A clear 4/1 favourite for the event and the mount of Ryan Moore, Ahorsewithnoname was a stunning runner-up in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival when sent off a 50/1 shot and since then she's gone on to claim wins at Newbury and York. She's been upped 10lbs for her most recent victory, but she was way on top that day on the Knavesmire and this sort of event should see her sparkle again and she's going to be tough to beat.

The aforementioned Mullins will unleash a three-pronged attack and the hat-trick seeking Gibraltar appears to be his best contender at 11/1, with both Baby Zeus (14/1) and Scaramanga (12/1) appearing to have it all to do. A winner at Tramore last time out over two miles, Gibraltar will need to defy a notable rise in the handicap here, but off a featherweight here he has to be respected for a shrewd training operation.

Second in the betting at 5/1 is Charles Byrnes's Run For Oscar, who produced a career best on British soil last time out when bounding an impressive staying victory at Haydock in the Sunday Series, and the Irish trained raider is looking to kick on from that here. That success came off a mark of 82 and he runs off 90 here, but the smart hurdler, who appears to have relished the switch to the Flat game could still be capable of more off that mark, so has to be respected at the head of the market.

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Keith Dalgleish's Evaluation racked up a special four-timer in the space of a month during the summer, but has since struggled to get his head in front. Second at Sandown Park last time out in the Sunday Series he will line up off the same mark of 90 here, but that could be a little too high and with this looking such a competitive event the 12/1 makes no appeal.

Jim Boyle's Going Gone (16/1) beat the regular runner-up Hms President (16/1) in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster a few weeks ago, and that pair will lock horns again with the latter dropped 1lb for that outing. Both will need to improve to lay a glove on the leading contenders here, so will find this level a bit beyond their capabilities.

Hughie Morrison trained Sweet Selection to victory in this race back in 2016 and he will saddle two in this year's renewal with Vino Victrix (12/1) an eye-catching runner if he can kick on from a Goodwood success last time over a marathon distance. The top-class dual-purpose performer Not So Sleepy is another Morrison-trained charge here, but at 40/1 he looks to have his work cut out, and this could well be used as a springboard to a National Hunt campaign.

One at huge odds that could run well at 28/1 is the Ralph Beckett-trained ROCK EAGLE, who is having his second crack at the Cesarewitch on Saturday afternoon. Fifth in the 2020 running of the event, Rock Eagle ran an absolute cracker off a mark of 100, and with him lining up off 97 on Saturday then a repeat of that run should see him go very close. That came in soft ground that day, so connections could be benefited by some rain at the track, but he showed when second at Newbury three starts ago that he can run well off a mark of 98, so a 1lb lower mark this weekend could see him run a big race and make the frame at the very least.

2022 Cesarewitch Handicap
Rock Eagle silk

Rock Eagle (EW)

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