Tuesday 24 September 2013

Miller out to Enhance Tremendous Henderson Cesarewitch Record

Twenty-five years after his second National Hunt trainers’ championship success, the 2012/13 jumps season saw the popular, ruddy-faced Nicky Henderson back at the top of the tree after ending a run of seven successive seasons with the title for his arch-rival Paul Nicholls.

But Henderson – whose only major omission from his career CV is that elusive Aintree Grand National victory – is not just a jumps trainer and has proved himself well capable of taking on the best of the Flat handlers on their own turf, his win with Forgotten Voice at Royal Ascot this summer reminded everyone in the game just how astute the Master of Seven Barrows is.

At Newmarket on October 12, Henderson will be out to bag his third Cesarewitch Handicap in just 10 years, his Lieutenant Miller look to have leading claims and appearing to have been targeted at the marathon two-and-a-quarter-mile contest from an early stage this season.

Well supported in recent weeks down from 16/1 to a general offer of 12/1 with betfair online, the winning hurdler stays really well on the Flat and won nicely off a mark of 79 in a 17-furlong Doncaster handicap earlier in the season.

It was in defeat, however, that he really threw his hat into the Cesarewitch ring, the gelded son of Beat All running a brave race to be a close third to Well Sharp in the Ascot Stakes at the royal meeting in June, before failing by an agonising half-length to hold off Broxbourne in the two-mile-five-furlong Goodwood Stakes off a rising mark of 88.

A further rise in the weights to a new rating of 91 looks fair, and with Henderson’s fine record in the big Newmarket event it would be a brave man who will bet that Lieutenant Miller will not make the first four in what is always a tremendous spectacle on the Rowley Mile course.