Tag Archive for: Buzz

2024 Cesarewitch Handicap Trends

Run over 2m2f on the Newmarket Rowley Mile course the Cesarewitch Handicap is one of the most popular betting races of the season. Along with the Cambridgeshire Handicap, that is run 2-3 weeks earlier, the two races are generally known as the Autumn Double and both contests are always ultra-competitive.

We take a look at the best stats ahead of the 2024 renewal that will hopefully allow you to whittle down the big field.

Did you know - 15 of the last 22 winners returned a double-figure price in the betting, while we’ve seen just four winning favourites since 1993?

Recent Cesarewitch Handicap Winners

2023 - The Shunter (14/1)
2022 - Run For Oscar (4/1)
2021 – Buzz (8/1)
2020 - Great White Shark (9/2 fav)
2019 – Stratum (25/1)
2018 - Low Sun (10/1)
2017 – Withhold (5/1 fav)
2016 – Sweet Selection (7/1)
2015 – Grumeti (50/1)
2014 – Big Easy (10/1)
2013 – Scatter Dice (66/1)
2012 – Aaim To Prosper (66/1)
2011 – Never Can Tell (25/1)
2010 – Aaim To Prosper (16/1)
2009 – Darley Sun (9/2 fav)
2008 – Caracciola (50/1)
2007 – Leg Spinner (14/1)
2006 – Detroit City (9/2 fav)
2005 – Sergeant Cecil (10/1)
2004 – Contact Dancer (16/1)
2003 – Landing Light (12/1)
2002 – Miss Fara (12/1)

Cesarewitch Handicap Betting Trends

21/22 – Aged 4 or older
18/22 – Carried 9-2 or less
17/22 – Had run within the last 2 months
16/22 – Had won over at least 1m6f on the flat before
16/22 – Finished 4th or better last time out
16/22 – Aged 5 or older
15/22 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
13/22 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat before
13/22 – Had 3 or more previous flat runs that season
13/22 – Drawn in stall 13 or lower
13/22 – Won by a NH trainer
12/22 – Winning distance – 1 length or less
11/22 – Had run at the track before
9/22 – Had won 4 or more times on the flat before
9/22 – The first three home ALL returned a double-figure price
9/22 – Placed favourites
8/22 – Ran at Ascot, Chester or Doncaster last time out
5/22 – Winning mares
4/22 – Winning favourites
4/22 – Won last time out
3/22 – Winners from stall 1
3/22 – Trained by Willie Mullins (3 of last 6 winners)
3/22 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/22 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/22 - Trained by Brian Meehan
2/22 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
The Irish have trained 6 of the last 7 winners
The average winning SP in the last 22 years is 21/1
Just 4 winning favourites since 1993

 

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Hugely popular Buzz heads for long and happy retirement

Cesearwitch and Ascot Hurdle winner Buzz has been retired by Nicky Henderson and owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds.

The popular grey captured the public’s imagination with a string of tough staying performances on the Flat and over hurdles for the Seven Barrows yard.

As a seven-year-old in October 2021 he captured the Cesarewitch under Oisin Murphy and the following month took the Grade Two Ascot Hurdle in the hands of Nico de Boinville.

However, he suffered a fractured pelvis on the eve of the Long Walk Hurdle and while he subsequently recovered to make a comeback after 508 days off in the Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham earlier this month, he finished last of five to Rajinsky.

In a statement, Thurloe Thoroughbreds said: “Our Cesarewitch and Ascot Hurdle star Buzz, who recovered so remarkably from a pelvis fracture last year, has been retired.

“It was a massive achievement getting Buzz back on the racecourse last week after a year and a half off. He was eased down after getting tired in heavy ground and although he was fine after the run he was lame and sore after the next day.

“It was a muscular lameness which flared up as a result of reusing muscles he hasn’t used for such a long time.

“We have discussed with Buzz’s vet Dave Matheson and have agreed that persevering with Buzz in training would be very tough on him as even though he is fit, well and enjoying his training, he does put so much into his work and his racing that he may always be a bit lame and sore afterwards.

“Therefore we have made the bittersweet decision to retire Buzz from racing.

“Buzz brought Thurloe on the most unbelievable journey from day one, throwing his all into every race he competed in.

Buzz and Nico de Boinville (left) took the Ascot Hurdle
Buzz and Nico de Boinville (left) took the Ascot Hurdle (Nigel French/PA)

“It was always going to be a huge achievement to get him back onto the track and we are so grateful for all of those who have been part of the process from Nicky Henderson and everyone at Seven Barrows, Dave Matheson, Charlie and Tracy Vigors at Hillwood Stud, Greta Mason and Matt Buckland and, of course, Reggie Pallas who has been devoted to him as his work rider and loyal partner from day one.

“Buzz’s character has made him a horse to follow but the fact that he has contributed to raising upwards of £150,000 for our charity endeavours, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, has made it even more special.

“We are delighted that Buzz will retire with a happy and long life ahead of him with Reggie, who will be able to have him himself.

“He will have a summer off now and hopefully there will be plenty of wonderful adventures for him and Reggie to discover in their next chapter together. He has been a joy for us in every way to own and we are so happy he can have a long and healthy retirement.

“Thank you for the memories Buzz, you are, and always will be, a horse of a lifetime.”



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Rajinksy registers surprise Listed success for Harry Davies

Harry Davies notched up the first Listed success of his career as Rajinsky pulled off a shock to down Trueshan in Nottingham’s Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes.

Winner of the Cesarewitch Trial last season in the hands of Davies, Hugo Palmer’s seven-year-old made every yard in the testing rain-softened ground at Colwick Park and showed great resilience to pull out extra when pressed by Alan King’s star stayer inside the final three furlongs – knuckling down to hold off Trueshan by half a length at the line.

Although well held in Group One company at ParisLongchamp on his final outing of 2022, his victory at odds of 16-1 now puts him in the frame for some big assignments this term.

“We thought he would be fit enough today,” said the winning jockey.

“The competition was probably the best he’s ever faced really and he’s just improving as he gets older.

“Last year we learnt an awful lot about him and it is a very exciting year ahead.

“I know the horse will always get further and will always hit the line strong – he will never let you down and he will always try hard. When Trueshan came to me, he never let me down.

“I’m just so thankful to Hugo and the owners for keeping me on the horse.”

Rajinsky and Harry Davies (orange) coming home to win the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham racecourse
Rajinsky and Harry Davies (orange) coming home to win the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham racecourse (Joe Giddens/PA)

Palmer may now have to reassess Rajinsky’s targets, saying: “Plan A was to go for the Chester Cup. I thought if he could run between six to eight lengths behind Trueshan and have a blow, that would put him spot on for Chester, but I might have to re-think that plan now.

“He was entered in the Chester Cup this week and the weights come out next week, in which time he will be re-assessed.

“I think it is a bit of a leap of faith to say that was the best version of Trueshan, but he is still a dual Group One winner and that is a hell of a scalp for our horse to take.

“Like Trueshan, he is a ground-dependent horse and we need to find ground where there is cut in it. I can’t believe there is a huge amount of improvement in him at the age of seven, but he will still be very entertaining for us.

“We took him to France for a Group One last year but that came at the end of a long season and he probably left his effort on the Rowley Mile in the Cesarewitch Trial.

“I think there could be a lot of options for him back in France and it is definitely something we will keep an eye on.”

Brian Ellison’s Tashkhan plugged on gamely to take third spot, but there was no trainer happier than Nicky Henderson after Buzz returned from a 508-day injury absence.

The nine-year-old finished last of the five runners, beaten just shy of 27 lengths, but the Seven Barrows handler could not hide his delight about seeing the popular dual-purpose performer back on track.

He said: “We ummed and ahhed a bit this morning about whether to even run him because when it went heavy this morning, I got nervous. He got tired in it, of course he has, but if he’s all right in the morning, on we go.

Trainer Nicky Henderson speaks to jockey Rossa Ryan before the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham racecourse
Trainer Nicky Henderson speaks to jockey Rossa Ryan before the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham racecourse (Joe Giddens/PA)

“He enjoyed himself and Rossa (Ryan) said he came onto the bridle turning into the straight following Trueshan and I thought ‘oh good’ but not surprisingly he got tired.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got him back on a racecourse. We decided we weren’t going to hurdle him this time around and we would stick to the Flat which takes the pressure off a little bit, but if he’s all right in the morning we will be very happy.

“It was lovely to see him back, he’s enjoyed himself and Rossa was great – he’s looked after him. He had a nice time.”



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Buzz to be aimed at Flat return, as Henderson rules Aintree out

Nicky Henderson’s strong team of hurdlers for Aintree will not include Buzz or Steal A March.

The Seven Barrows handler, who took his Cheltenham Festival winners tally to 73 when Constitution Hill gave him a record ninth Champion Hurdle, has ruled both out of running at the Grand National Festival.

Dual-purpose star Buzz won the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and Ascot Hurdle in quick succession in the autumn of 2021, but has been off the track since fracturing his pelvis the day before an intended outing in the Long Walk Hurdle.

Henderson felt a tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle would have been a bridge too far and similarly feels bypassing the Liverpool Hurdle allows the nine-year-old grey more time to return to peak fitness.

“We are working away with Buzz, I think really concentrating on a Flat campaign,” said Henderson. “That would be the most likely scenario.

“He is not quite going to be ready for Aintree, anyway. It would be tough to throw him straight into a Grade One.

“So I think we will be looking, as long as the weather holds on for a bit in the summer, at the Flat.

“But he is in good form and it is great to have him back in action. He’s enjoying himself, anyway.”

Steal A March was well-fancied by the yard to land what would have been a popular victory in the Pertemps Final.

The eight-year-old, who gave Henderson huge satisfaction by winning a lowly Worcester handicap hurdle on June 4, providing the Queen with a winner during her Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations, will similarly not make the team for Aintree.

Now carrying the famous purple, scarlet and gold silks of the King, Steal A March was a narrow runner-up on his seasonal bow in a decent Newbury handicap and then scored at Wincanton on Boxing Day.

However, he did not line up at Cheltenham and Henderson revealed he has met with a setback.

“Unfortunately we had a problem with him before Cheltenham and he is going to have to take a bit of time out, which is frustrating, because I was very, very keen to run him in the Pertemps Final,” he said.

“He’d qualified, he won his qualifier and everything was going really well, but we have bumped into an issue, which is very frustrating and that was literally the week before.

“He won’t go to Aintree or Punchestown, sadly.”



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Buzz given Cheltenham entry as he continues on comeback trail

Buzz has been handed a tentative entry for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as he continues his recovery from a pelvis injury.

Nicky Henderson’s dual-purpose star has won five times for owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds since being bought out of Hughie Morrison’s yard, capturing the racing public’s attention when landing both the Cesarewitch and Ascot Hurdle in quick succession in 2021.

That set up the Motivator gelding for a tilt at the Long Walk Hurdle, but he suffered a fractured pelvis a day before the race and has been on the comeback trail ever since.

Although still in the very early stages of his training at Henderson’s Seven Barrows base, he has been given the option of competing in the Thursday feature at the Festival and James Stafford of owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds says it is a race they will think about if the nine-year-old gives the right signals.

He said: “He’s going through his very early paces. The entry stage was this morning so we had to make the entry for Cheltenham.

“It doesn’t mean Buzz is back, we hope he’s back, but if you are not in today you have no chance of running.

“It’s an entry, which if he tells us in the next two to three weeks he’s getting better, then we will think about it.”

Buzz will have been off the track for over 450 days if returning at Prestbury Park and Stafford believes the horse deserves that opportunity having been the model patient during his recovery.

“It would be fantastic to see him back as he has been the most marvellous patient and has done everything asked along the way,” he continued.

Buzz ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville (left) clear a fence on their way to winning the Coral Hurdle (Registered As The Ascot Hurdle) in 2021
Buzz ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville (left) clear a fence on their way to winning the Coral Hurdle (Registered As The Ascot Hurdle) in 2021 (Nigel French/PA)

“He deserves to come back for the effort, he as a horse, has put into his own well-being. There has been masses of loving people around him who have done a marvellous job helping, but he has been a massive help to himself, which is three-quarters of the battle.”

A percentage of the prize-money earned by Buzz has been donated to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, a factor Stafford thinks is another reason for his popularity.

He added: “The cancer charity link has captured the imagination, he has won a Cesarewitch and a Grade Two and he’s grey. So there’s lots to love about him and he’s a trier – he will never give up for you.”



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Monday Musings: Newmarket Rejuvenation

I had intended writing copiously 24 hours after my first wholly enjoyable, nay rejuvenating, visit to Newmarket racecourse for two years about a brief conversation of which I was the sole observer, writes Tony Stafford. The conversants were those two genial giants of our sport, Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien, but I will leave that until later.

It was in the evening during a catch-up scan through the Saturday results that I noted the 7.30 p.m. race at Chelmsford was called the Tote.co.uk Now Never Beaten By SP Handicap (Division 1).

I’ve noticed that race title before, marvelling that the object of so much ridicule and indeed suspicion in its Betfred-owned days between 2011 and 2019 had been apparently transformed upon its acquisition and operation by the group formerly known as Alizeti Capital but now UK Tote Group.

Their intention, I remembered reading, was exactly that - to ensure the Tote returns were never to be bettered by SP and to help grow its new version to be of financial benefit to the sport.

In its rubric, Tote Group UK says it is “now owned by a group of racehorse owners and breeders who are passionate about the sport, backed by people who own and train over 1,000 horses worldwide.

“We’re united by a shared desire to secure British racing’s finances for generations to come through a revitalised Tote”. Glowing contributions in that notice in support of UK Tote Group have come from Sir Anthony McCoy, John Gosden, Richard Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud, and the Racehorse Owners Association.

I scrutinised all 36 races run in the UK on Saturday and in 24 of them, including the 7.30 at Chelmsford, SP was better than the returned Tote price about the winner. Course and betting shop punters would not have benefited, but I am reassured that online Tote odds backers will have been, according to the publicity (admittedly confusing) blurb to the tune of a maximum £500 per bet. [The race title referred to tote.co.uk, the online arm of the tote]

The three regular backers I know whom I thought might have been able to confirm this as correct all were unable to do so as they all three to coin a theme “had my account with the Tote closed years ago.” They all habitually try to get a few hundred quid on a horse. One big firm, asked for £500 each way on a horse the other day, offered to take £2.80 each way. Still theirs is a happy slogan and I wish anything that might correct the joke level of prize money in the lower reaches of the sport, a potential blessing. But as my three friends I’m sure would say: “Don’t hold your breath.”

I mentioned Charlie and Aidan’s very amicable chat earlier at Newmarket soon after the Darley Dewhurst Stakes victory of unbeaten Native Trail and the Irishman was glowing in his congratulations to his younger English counterpart.

Three wins on the day had already pushed Appleby past Andrew Balding at the top of the trainers’ championship standings for the first time and Aidan admired both Native Trail and the less exposed Coroebus, easy winner of the Group 2 Autumn Stakes.

Where Native Trail was a breeze-up buy for 210,000gns in the spring, able to make his debut in early July and now was making it a perfect four-for-four, there is no Godolphin blood in him, being by Oasis Dream out of an Observatory mare – Juddmonte all the way.

Coroebus meanwhile is Godolphin through and through: by Dubawi, their version of Coolmore’s great stallion Galileo, out of a mare by Galileo’s first superstar, the unbeaten Teofilo.

O’Brien remarked on both colts’ physicality, to which Appleby replied: “Coroebus is 540 kilos and Native Trail is 545, and that’s as heavy as Adayar who you know is a monster!”  Formidable for two-year-olds you would agree!

The wins brought Appleby some elbow room at the top of the table and with a dearth of major and valuable races to come save next Saturday’s Qatar Champions Day at Ascot and the Vertem Futurity (just over £100k)  at Doncaster the following weekend, opportunities are somewhat polarised.

Aidan told me he plans to run his top juvenile Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity and expects that outstanding Camolot colt to go first in 2022 for the 2000 Guineas where he will almost certainly encounter Native Trail and Coroebus.

While Appleby has been inching his way up to and past Balding, who has had a season that must have surprised him with more than £4 million already in the satchel, he will be aware that John and Thady Gosden, who started slowly this year, are still in there pitching.

Balding has ten entries for Ascot, but only a couple, both 8-1 shots – Invite in the Fillies and Mares race, and Alcohol Free in the QE II – have better than outside chances. Appleby’s hopes from six entries centre, should he run, on Derby winner Adayar, about whom 3-1 is probably a little tight after his Arc exertions.

But the Gosden ten, with six in the closing Balmoral Handicap - Gosden senior dearly wants to win that race – include four serious darts at the biggest prizes of the day.

Mishriff, saved from the Arc in favour of the Champion Stakes, is 6-4 favourite for the £680k Champion. Palace Pier vies for favouritism with improving Baeed in the £623,000 to the winner QE II. Additionally, Free Wind is 7-2 for the £283,000 Fillies and Mares, and Stradivarius, should he renew hostilities with Trueshan, is second favourite behind that horse in the similarly-endowed Stayers’ race.

The Gosdens lurk around £500,000 behind Appleby and, unless such as Snowfall and maybe something else can edge out Mishriff, or The Revenant, back with a near miss at Longchamp, could possibly again unseat Palace Pier with Baeed’s help. Otherwise it seems a dominant position for a hat-trick for Clarehaven. It looks theirs to lose.

While that stealthy challenge in the trainers’ race has suddenly crystallised, the jockeys’ battle between incumbent Oisin Murphy and his nearest challenger William Buick has been a constant side-show most of this year.

It’s easy to portray this tussle as between Mr Naughty and Mr Squeaky Clean and certainly Oisin Murphy’s second failed breath test, which for the moment merely cost him one day’s riding at Newmarket on Friday, has done nothing for his reputation.

The jockey stressed that the alcohol reading while exceeding the permitted limit for being allowed to ride a racehorse was below that excluding him from driving a car. Great! Only slightly pissed then!

He dominated talk at Newmarket on Saturday, most people saying that for a repeat offence the case should get a proper investigation and the inside story at Newmarket on Saturday was that an inquiry will be held at the BHA today.

A one-day slap on the wrist, if that is all that happens for the offence, seems inappropriate to me. Suppose he hadn’t been tested, thus was free to ride on Friday and had caused danger to other jockeys and their horses. That puts the six-month ban (now ended) for promising apprentice Benoit de la Sayette when he was found in breach of the drug rules back in the spring in some context.

In the end, of course, Murphy was free to ride Buzz in the Cesarewitch and he gave the one-time Hughie Morrison horse a peach of a ride, one befitting of a champion, to make it a third win in the race for Nicky Henderson.

Buzz came to deny Burning Victory and William Buick in the dying strides, maintaining his margin over his rival to eight, when had the result been turned around it would have been only six. Charlie isn’t giving up on his jockey though and plans to run plenty of talented maidens between now and D Day on Saturday. Burning Victory of course was only Mullins’ second string but it would have been a nice result for readers of this column who may have noticed my frequent mentions of the mare in recent weeks.

So we had a seven-year-old winner who hadn’t raced on the Flat for two years beating a mare who had never previously run in a Flat race either in England or Ireland outclassing 30 other stayers. Burning Victory’s defeat and the no show of favourite M C Muldoon stopped a Willie Mullins four-timer in this contest.

Why are jumps trainers so good at winning on the Flat? We’ve known about these two for decades, but another younger member of their profession, an Irishman based in Gloucestershire, is showing similar tendencies.

Until 16-year-old daughter Fern attained that age in the summer, her father Fergal O’Brien was so disinterested in Flat racing that he had only winner from 50 runners in sporadic seasons from 2013 to 2019.

Fern, mentored by Fergal’s assistant and partner Sally Randell, a former star military race rider, won at the first time of asking a couple of days after her birthday and now stands on four wins from eight rides for her father as a lady amateur. His other 16 runners have yielded another four victories, including smart hurdler Gumball making all in a decent staying handicap at York on Saturday and Polish getting home first in a jump jockeys’ Flat race at Goodwood yesterday.

That makes it eight from 24 and a strike rate of 33%, a figure the Gosdens, Balding, William Haggas and the rest would kill for. And none of them has 55 jump winners since the end of April either!

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