Sir Mark: Tough for St Michel
View from connections ahead of Saturday's Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
St Michel has a tough task according to his trainer
Sir Mark Prescott believes ante-post favourite St Michel is facing a tough task from a high draw in Saturday's Betfred Cesarewitch, despite being 15lb well in on the official ratings.
Prescott has a lamentable record in the race and has been trying to win it since his first year with a licence some 40 years ago, having seen plenty of favourites beaten in that time.
However, St Michel's claims are there for all to see after he supplemented victories at Newmarket and Goodwood with third place in the Doncaster Cup last time.
He is so well handicapped he only scraped into the race by one and that fact is offering Prescott a little solace.
He said: "It's a relief that St Michel got into the Betfred Cesarewitch. He's been fine since his Doncaster Cup run, though he's a pretty fit horse so I haven't done much with him since.
"It's comforting that he is 15lb well in on official handicap figures, but I think that Sweet Selection is just as well treated and I wish St Michel was drawn a bit lower – the records suggest that it is pretty hard to win from out there (stall 32).
"He wants fast ground and, if he did win, however pleased I would be for myself, I would take even greater pleasure that he is owned and bred by Mr (John) Pearce, who is 97 years old and lives in Newmarket."
Prescott also runs Sea Of Heaven who is another with a progressive profile.
"Sea Of Heaven has been running excellently all year and had excuses the last twice – nothing went right for him in the Shergar Cup and then he was sandwiched coming out of the stalls at Chester," said Prescott.
"Conditions on Saturday should be fine for him, he has just got to settle and I'm very lucky to have secured Andrea Atzeni to ride him.
"It's a race that I have a bad record in, especially when compared to my good record in the Cambridgeshire.
"St Michel has followed the same path as Alleluia did (back in 2001) but she won the Doncaster Cup and would have probably won the Cesarewitch too but for fracturing her pelvis during the race."
"Ennistown is still unexposed as a stayer on the level and Starchitect proved one of the best handicap hurdlers around before winning on the level. They are in good order and I am hopeful of a big run from both."
David Pipe on Ennistown and Starchitect
Hughie Morrison was left cursing his luck after all three of his runners were handed unfavourable draws.
Unfortunately for Morrison, who saddles second favourite Sweet Selection along with top weight Fun Mac and Star Rider, they were handed stalls 23, 33 and 27 respectively.
All is not completely lost, though, as Frankie Dettori proved when making every yard on Never Can Tell in 2011, coming down the centre of the track from stall 36.
"None of them have been done any favours by the draw, it will be very hard for them," said Morrison.
"It might actually suit Fun Mac being wide, but it will be hard.
"My view is the race always suits the hardened, older horses, even those that have been hurdling, but St Michel has already proven he's a Group horse.
"Sweet Selection might be better off with him from Doncaster but I don't think that will make too much difference, it's if they act on the track and get luck in running.
"Fun Mac has run well there in the past while Star Rider has won there too."
Another trainer with two good chances is Iain Jardine, who saddles Shrewd and Nakeeta.
Both have come close to winning major prizes already this season with Nakeeta second in the Chester Cup and Shrewd filling the same spot in the Ebor
"Nakeeta finished second first time out in the Chester Cup from a wide draw, that was a massive run," Jardine told Betfred TV.
"Last time he got there far too soon at York, he just got collared close home. He needs holding up and I think this will be run to suit him.
"Shrewd ran a fantastic race in the Ebor, he came from a long way back but he is a hold-up horse as well and the winner (Hearbreak City) was quite well handicapped.
"I would like to have seen him a wee bit closer to the pace, but it was a big field and hard to get a position. He proved he was good enough at that level.
"I think both will be suited to the race and I find it difficult to split them."
"First Mohican ran a smashing race to finish third at Doncaster and, though he can be unpredictable, he seems to be in a good place just now and he has really clicked for Hollie Doyle, who is a super young rider."
Alan King on First Mohican
National Hunt trainers have a terrific record in the race and David Pipe is aiming to emulate his father Martin who won it with Heros Fatal in 2000 and Miss Fara in 2002. He runs Ennistown and Starchitect.
"It is a race that my father won on a couple of occasions and I have finished second and third in the race before but would dearly love to add a success to my CV," Pipe told his official website, www.davidpipe.com.
"We have booked former champion jockeys Ryan Moore for Ennistown and Jamie Spencer for Starchitect, so they should certainly get maximum assistance from the saddle.
"Ennistown posted an improved effort when an impressive winner of a valuable handicap hurdle at Cartmel last time and he is still unexposed as a stayer on the level having never tried beyond a mile and a half on the Flat.
"Meanwhile, Starchitect proved one of the best handicap hurdlers around last jumps season before winning on the level at Salisbury. They are in good order at home and I am hopeful of a big run from both."
Alan King's Grumeti caused a 50-1 shock 12 months ago and is back again, along with stablemate First Mohican.
"We were pleased that Grumeti made the cut, and it would be fantastic if he could win it again for Max (McNeill) and his family," the trainer told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"He has not really fired since, though he did run well on his return to the Flat at York in May, and we are hoping that seeing the Rowley Mile again might rekindle his flame.
"He has a decent draw and he certainly has the ability and he is also only a pound higher than last year, so who knows?
"First Mohican ran a smashing race to finish third at Doncaster's St Leger meeting and, though he can be unpredictable, he seems to be in a good place just now and he has really clicked for Hollie Doyle, who is a super young rider.
"She has not been out of the frame in three attempts on First Mohican, so, hopefully, she can keep that record intact."
Tony Martin runs two in Galway winner Golden Spear and Moonmeister.
"Moonmeister has been running over shorter trips but he's got the trip well over hurdles and we're giving him a shot at it. He will really appreciate the ground – the quicker the better," said Martin.
"The draw is not a help in 25 but he has plenty of time to try to get in.
"Golden Spear won over a mile and a half at Galway and has also got the two miles well over hurdles. He will be fine on good ground as well, and his draw (15) is not too bad."
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