Countrywide Flame leads betting after gaining low Cesarewitch draw
Logically, the draw should have little bearing on a race run over 2m2f, but a low stall has become particularly favourable in the Cesarewitch in the last decade and this is largely why Countrywide Flame has moved into sole favouritism.
Countrywide Flame has shortened into 8/1 for the handicap at Newmarket after being drawn in stall seven.
The draw bias has been between stalls one and 12 in the last ten runnings of the race, with seven victors in this time being positioned in this area of the track.
Some of the other leading contenders have not been so fortunate, with Olympiad out near the wide outside in stall 33 of 36 and fellow 10/1 shot Hurricane Higgins almost plum centre in stall 19.
This gives the jockeys a bit of a dilemma in whether to let their horses travel at an ordinary speed, but potentially five or six runners wide from the inside rail in a race already testing on stamina, or whether to break slowly to attempt to get to the fence and take the shortest route.
Countrywide Flame is perhaps best known for his Cheltenham Festival victory in the Triumph Hurdle, but he since won on the Flat last month at Chester.
Ironically, this win came in the same race that was landed 12 months by Never Can Tell, who used the victory as a springboard to a follow-up success in the Cesarewitch.
He will have to endure a 4lb hike for this Chester victory, but given how progressive he looks, this should not impact him too much.
In terms of the draw, stalls 1-5 have provided four of the last ten winners from a relatively small pool of runners and Tominator looks to have the best hope from these positions this year, from stall three.
Tominator is a strong finisher with an abundance of stamina and as long as early pace is fairly strong, he has each-way claims at worst at 16/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.