King of Stats: It could be (Big) Easy for Hobbs in the Cesarewitch
With 34 runners going to post for the second leg of the ‘Autumn Double’, cracking the Cesarewitch is a tall order, especially with 66/1 winners in both the last years.
Even with Ladbrokes paying out on the first SIX home, it looks tough to find one to deliver at HQ.
However, we have cranked the numbers and applied the stats and think that it could be one of the more fancied runners that claims glory on the Rowley Mile this time round.
The first criteria we can narrow down the field with is that nine of the last 10 victors finished in the first four last time out, hinting that being in top order on the track is of vital importance.
We can then discount around half the field with this in mind, in theory, making the winner that little bit easier to spot.
Furthermore just one of the victors in the previous decade had failed to win over 2m.
Rather surprisingly for a race over 2m2f, eight of our remaining 17 have yet to triumph at a distance a full quarter of a mile shorter than they will experience at HQ.
This puts paid to the chances, by our reckoning, to some well fancied charges such as Ray Ward (16/1), De Rigueur (20/1) and Communicator (14/1).
So we are down to nine, including favourite Quick Jack (6/1) and Chester Cup winner Suegioo (16/1) and it is at this point it gets quite tricky.
Another surprise for a race this long, is that there seems a distinct draw bias in the contest.
Seven of the last 11 winners were drawn in the first 12 stalls, while 25% of the placed horses in the last 10 years have come from stalls 1-5, despite making up less than 15% of the runners.
Of our remaining octet, only three are drawn in single figure berths.
Moidore (11/1) finished in mid-division in the race last year, and returns here in a similar vein of form, and is set to carry 4lbs less than 12 months ago. However, it is questionable whether he has the quality to land such a race, having never got his head in front in a race better than a Class 4.
Instead we plump for BIG EASY (8/1), who was runner-up in a trial for this race over course and distance last time out. That was a decent effort, coming after four months off, and he will surely come on for the run.
Philip Hobbs trained one of just two winning favourites in the past 20 years in 2006 with Detroit City for the same owners, so could well bag himself a second Cesarewitch, from the plum draw of stall 2.
But those looking for a big priced runner could do worse than looking near the bottom of the handicap. Argent Knight (33/1) hasn’t got his head in front since August last year, but that incidentally was over 2m at Newmarket, off the same mark he will run off here.
He warmed up with a respectable fourth in the aforementioned trial for this race, and wasn’t far behind some decent types when fifth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot. He could be one to add another big priced a winner at HQ.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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