Starchitect takes aim at Ces
David Pipe is hoping that he can make it three successive Betfred Cesarewitch wins for jumps trainers when he saddles a strong team in the £250,000 heritage handicap at Newmarket's Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, 8th October.
Starchitect could head straight to Newmarket
The Somerset trainer is represented by Starchitect, Low Key and Ennistown among the 91 horses that remained engaged in this two and a quarter mile heritage handicap following Tuesday's scratching stage.
The entry includes each of the first four home from last year's edition of this historic 177-year-old event – namely Grumeti, Oriental Fox, Quick Jack, and Renneti – plus St Michel, the Sir Mark Prescott-trained colt who finished an excellent third in last week's Group Two Doncaster Cup but, as a three-year-old, is far from guaranteed to gain a place in the 34-strong field off his handicap mark of 97.
Irish trainer Tony Martin notched the only overseas victory in the last 23 runnings of this prestigious event when Leg Spinner plundered the prize in 2007. He is again set to mount a strong challenge with Quick Jack, third in its last two renewals, heading his nine entries alongside the easy Betfred Ebor Handicap winner, Heartbreak City.
Pipe's trio all have solid credentials. Starchitect ran with great credit without winning in three of Britain's most competitive handicap hurdles in the spring and proved himself a more than capable flat performer when landing a 1m 6f handicap at Salisbury when last seen back in May.
Low Key was beaten less than seven lengths when favourite for this race last year. And Ennistown is a recent acquisition from the John Ferguson yard who bounced back to form last month with an easy victory in a Cartmel hurdle.
"The intention is for Starchitect to go straight to the Betfred Cesarewitch without another run," said Pipe.
"He did it well at Salisbury and then got balloted out at Royal Ascot, so he has had a nice break.
"Low Key will go for the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket on Saturday – which he won last year – and we will see how he gets on there before committing him to the big race itself."
"Ennistown was impressive at Cartmel and though his flat rating of 100 means that he will definitely get in the Cesarewitch it is a tough mark for him to win off. But he has never run over extreme distances on the flat and we thought that it was worth a go."
"It is a big prize and us jump trainers love to have runners in it as it fits the profile of our horses well. I have been second and third in it with Mamlook and would very much like to win it one day."
Sponsors' spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: "The Betfred Cesarewitch remains the one big staying handicap to have eluded Sir Mark Prescott but the betting strongly suggests this could be the year he breaks his duck.
"If the talented three-year-old sneaks in at the bottom of the weights, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him sent off as one of the shortest-priced favourites in the history of the race."