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Olympiad the Pick to Win Gold in Cesarewitch

Sponsors Betfred have reported plenty of money this week for the Dermot Weld entry, Olympiad, ahead of the Cesarewitch, which takes place on the Rowley Mile course, over 2m2f at Newmarket on Saturday afternoon. The four year old son of Galileo was last seen winning the Stakes over 2 miles at York in August when going off as the 9/2 favourite and the trainer expects him to improve again on that run. Available at odds ranging from 9/1 (Bet Victor) to 14/1 (Paddy Power), it would suggest that opinion is split amongst bookmakers on the chances of the Irish Raider and with 36 going to post, they cannot be blamed.

Countrywide Flame
© Racehorse Photos

Countrywide Flame

Weld has not won the Cesarewitch since 1992 when Vintage Crop won before going "Down Under" just a few weeks later to become the first ever Melbourne Cup winner from Europe. There are no such plans to send Olympiad to Flemington next month with Galileo's Choice the leading Weld entry but Olympiad is certainly a horse that Weld thinks very highly of and he is fully expecting a big run on Saturday and given his age, could be one for future renewals of the "race that stops a nation" in Australia.

The favourite for the Cesarewitch is the John Quinn trained Countrywide Flame, who is generally an 8/1 chance with most Bookmakers in the market for the race. He came to prominence at the Cheltenham Festival in March when he won the Grade One Triumph Hurdle after performing consistently well in top class Juvenile Hurdle company throughout last year's National Hunt season. He is a hugely consistent sort over hurdles and should easily adjust to the flat as he did last time when winning handicap on the flat at Chester last month. He comes to the race with a great racing weight and will have Jimmy Quinn on board. However, it is worth noting that favourites have won only two of the last ten renewals of this race and no horse has every won the race twice, which suggests the 2010 winner, Aim To Prosper, has an uphill task off top weight to re-write the history books.

The other entry that has attracted plenty of support in the past couple of weeks is the Mark Johnston trained Hurricane Higgins who finished in third place last month behind Times Up in the Group Two Doncaster Cup and has been subsequently backed in from 20/1 to as short as 9/1 second favourite. Despite an official rating of 99 in the weights, if he repeats that Doncaster effort then he could be well in at the weights. Darley Sun finished second in the 2009 Doncaster Cup before winning the Cesarewitch and with Johnston having saddled two Cesarewitch winners in the past, the Yorkshire trainer will be well aware of what is required to win the race and as such, Hurricane Higgins must be respected.

The Cesarewitch is one of those few races on the Flat Calendar that attracts National Hunt trainers and over recent years they have enjoyed considerable success in the race. Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin, the Pipe yard and Philip Hobbs have all won the race in the past decade with Henderson boasting two winners in that time frame and this year, the Seven Barrows trainer will be represented by 40/1 shot, Sentry Duty. However, the pick of the National Hunt entries is Tominator, who is in theory still a flat horse but has been recruited by the Jonjo O’Neill’s yard for a campaign over hurdles this coming winter and is rated a 16/1 shot.

The pick though is Olympiad, a light raced horse that looked hugely progressive when winning at York in August. The time before that, he was third in the Guinness handicap at the Galway Festival over 1m 4f but with more likely to come over longer distances, it's worth risking a few quid with Paddy Power at 14/1.


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