This year's Betfred Cesarewitch was as thrilling as ever with a 66/1 winner, once again the favourite is beaten as a rank outsider prevails.
There was a lot of speculation midweek as to who would ride the more fancied of Nicky Henderson's horses, Lieutenant Miller. Jump trainer Henderson, who has done well at this meeting in the past winning with Landing Light & Caracciola, had his pick between experienced jockeys Ryan Moore & Richard Hughes. Between them they have saddled over 150 winners here in the last 5 years. Moore topping the tally with 87, earned the privilege to mount Lieutenant Miller.
Lady Cecil trained, Tiger Cliff was a highly regarded threat, as the four year old set off at the 7/1 favourite. Owner Henry Ponsonby claimed the stalls (Tiger Cliff set off from stall 30) were not an issue, but was this the hindrance that snubbed Tiger Cliffs chances?
French trainer, Mikel Delzangles was denied a place in the history books to become the first French winner since 1946. Smokey Hill sat at 15/2 on Wednesday night and went off at 9/1, but failed to make a mark on the meeting, finishing 17th.
It was the chestnut filly, Scatter Dice who stole the show in spectacular style. An outsider shot at 66/1 will leave bookmakers rubbing their hands, but let's not take anything away from the wonderful display we witnessed on Saturday afternoon. An impressive showcase of grit & determination after a less than impressive start from the stalls left Scatter Dice at the back of the field. Jockey S De Sousa had his work cut out for him from the start. Settling at the rear, finding no room railside, De Sousa switched to the open to make his move. A fortunate stroke of serendipity & a horse with plenty to give, brushed off a bump from stable mate Oriental Fox before going on to win impressively by three lengths, Dismaying Waterclock who took a well fought second & Lieutenant Miller, who held on for third place.
Trainer Mark Johnston practically dismissed Scatter Dice's chances in Saturdays Racing Post. "we're putting a visor on Scatter Dice, which may make a difference although he's had a long season". Scatter Dice is due to retire at the end of the year, ceasing his last opportunity to claim victory at the Cesarewitch handicap.