FOLLOWERS of Sir Mark Prescott will be hoping ante-post favourite St Michel makes the cut for the Betfred Cesarawitch, as the master of Newmarket’s Heath House has made no secret of how much he would like to win this race for the first time in an illustrious career.
Sir Mark has suffered some painful past failures, including in 1993 when Hasten to Add went off the shortest priced favourite in the history of the race at 3-1.
Stanley-born jockey George Duffield was carrying just 7st 13lb and sat motionless on the huge grey three out, but despite still leading at the two pole, weakened badly to finish fourth.
But Prescott’s charge is a hothead and likely to lose the plot either before or during the race, so I’m sticking with my previously advised Sweet Selection.
Trainer Hughie Morrison has a great record with stayers and his mare has won three times this year and was a strong fifth in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup.
The four-year-old is well in hand, the handicapper agrees she would be given another 17lb if he framed the race again- and a strong pace on dry ground will further suit.
In the Dewhurst at 3.30pm, Prescott’s former assistant William Haggas, who hails from Yorkshire, sends out Rivet with definite each-way claims.
Aidan O’Brien has the favourite in Churchill, with South Seas and Seven Heavens also likely to be in the mix, but Haggas is very sweet on his horse who made it two from three in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes last time out.
I tipped up Frankel’s top drawer colt Swiss Storm before his win in a maiden at Newbury where he galloped on relentlessly to beat Sir Michael Stoute’s well-backed favourite City of Joy.
He’s still learning his trade and is likely to continue to progress in Newmarket’s Group 3 mile race at 2.55pm
At York’s final day of the year on Saturday, Lee Westwood will be hoping Hoof It performs better than the Worksop golfer did at Hazeltine in last week’s Ryder Cup when he failed to get a point from three matches.
Westwood and his agent ‘Chubby’ Chandler have seen the Mick Easterby-trained nine-year-old enjoy something of a renaissance this year and he is likely to be on the premises having won two valuable handicaps over the Knavesmire in the past.
This Coral Sprint Trophy (3.45) is a fiercely competitive affair where claims can also be made for Another Wise Kid, the in-form Normandy Barriere, and the Michael Dodds trained Get Knotted.
If the ground softens a big each way price about Ocean Sheridan is worth a look at a horse jointly owned by local prawn importer Andy Turton.
Hibou, a former Godolphin horse who won at Redcar last Saturday for new trainer Iain Jardine, could be too good for the rest in the opening Coral Stakes over a mile, or could have a tilt at 1m 2 closing race (5.35). Either way I will be with him.
Les Eyre, who embarked on his training career from a yard in Mirfield, will be looking for a big run from Cote d’Azur in the Download The Coral App Stakes (2.35) over 1m 2 furlongs.
Pontefract-based Billy Parker and his son Steven urged Eyre to buy the three-year-old colt out of Sir Mark Prescott’s yard and it reputedly took £120,000 to prise him away
Eyre, who is best known for winning the Ebor with Far Ahead in 1997, had Cote d’Azur earmarked as a Cambridgeshire horse and he may still be on the up.
He also had a spell at Hambleton atop Sutton Bank and his yard was taken by fellow Barnsleyite Bryan Smart who is enjoying one of his best-ever seasons.
Smart saddles Red Pike in the Coral Sprint Trophy, but his best chance of the day might come later at Newcastle in the 8.15 when he sends out Outfox in this 0-65 nursery.
AUGUR’S TIPS FOR THE WEEKEND: Sweet Selection each way (generally 16-1) Betfred Cesarawitch Newmarket Saturday 4.10pm and Outfox Newcastle 8.15pm.
AUGUR’S ONE TO WATCH: Tundra. Trained by Roger Varian this daughter of Bated Breath ran for the first time at Kempton last week and shaped well when finishing fourth behind Dubai One.
She will come on from this and is one to follow.