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Ponsoby sitting pretty with enviable Cesarewitch double-hand

| 07.10.2013

Henry Ponsonby is no stranger to big race success and the syndicate-owner has two potential winning tickets to this year’s Cesarewitch lottery.

Ante-post favourite Tiger Cliff, 7/1 and 12/1 shot Lieutenant Miller are both owned by Ponsonby and with both arriving in rattling good form, it’s hard to envisage that at least one of the pair won’t be in the reckoning as the leaders envelop the Rowley Mile.

Lady Cecil’s Tiger Cliff assumes his position at the head of the market following an emotionally charged recent victory in the Ebor and if able to reproduce that standard would surely make it four wins from eight career starts.

However, despite the good will brought by the son of Tiger Hill there are genuine concerns about the viability of such a big race follow-up. After his two previous victories he has twice lost decisively when well fancied, and although connections have allowed a longer break than usual, that record has to be concerning.

Furthermore, there has to be some doubts about the suitability of the trip. Cecil’s charge has performed well over shorter and beyond the 2m2f, but there is always a risk that compromising the distance will also compromise the horse. Admittedly, the fact that he has winning course experience dilutes these worries.

Ponsonby’s second chance has become one of the most dependable stayers and it’s no surprise that he is under the care of one of the most reliable trainers. Nicky Henderson has shown the dexterity only the great handlers possess in switching codes so successfully with Lieutenant Miller, and at the prices arguably represents more value.

Since moving jobs to the level, the engaging seven-year-old has not finished outside the frame in seven appearances and a valuable win at Doncaster under Graham Lee at the end of April proved his trainer right once more.

A half-length defeat to Broxbourne in an 18-runner Goodwood Stakes last time was ideal preparation for this type of test and backers can be confident that Henderson has given him every opportunity to bring one of the oldest contests back to Seven Barrows for a third time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster