The big betting race at Newmarket on Saturday is the Cesarewitch Stakes (16:10). This 2m 2f Heritage Handicap for three-year-olds and upwards has a maximum field of 31 in it this year.
In what is a fiendish puzzle to solve, Newmarket handler Sir Mark Prescott saddles two leading contenders in the shape of Timoshenko and Land Of Oz.
Slight preference is for the former. Timoshenko is the choice of stable jockey Luke Morris and has an ultra-progressive profile.
Like most from the yard, this four-year-old has taken his form to a whole new level since going down the handicap route.
After winning on debut in that sphere at Chepstow in July of last year off a mark of just 58, the son of Archipenko has stretched his unbeaten run to six and is now rated 86.
The assessor has found it impossible to get to grips with Timoshenko, who has been brilliantly placed by Prescott.
He comes into the race on the back of landing a competitive 19-runner handicap at Glorious Goodwood following a lengthy break. After dwelling at the start, he quickly recovered to track the leaders under Morris.
Timoshenko then made steady headway three from home and took up the running in the final 100 yards, before fending off the late challenge of Sensational by a neck.
It was a terrific performance after 355 days on the sidelines and a 5lb rise in the weights looks lenient.
Timoshenko still looks potentially well-ahead of his mark and Prescott has pulled off some monster gambles in big handicaps with similar types over the years.
So, with the prospect of even better to come, Timoshenko looks to have lots going for him in this and worth siding with at 9/1 with William Hill.
Lots to like about Land Of Oz in Cesarewitch Stakes
The aforementioned Land Of Oz, a 7/1 chance with Betway, has won six of his last seven outings and looks sure to go well under David Egan.
Like his stable companion Timoshenko, this three-year-old son of Derby winner Australia has constantly defied the handicapper.
He is now racing off a 31lb higher mark than when first successful and comes into the race on the back of a career-best performance.
That came in the trial for this contest over course and distance. Land Of Oz took up the running two from home and found plenty to readily beat Smart Champion by 1 1/2 lengths under Morris.
Although what he beat that day is questionable, he scored with real authority have raced keenly in the early stages.
Stamina is clearly his forte and he appeals as the type that may well still have more to offer.
Land Of Oz has also sneaked in off joint bottom weight of 8st 1lb, but Morris – whose lowest riding weight in the past 12 months has been eight stone – has presumably passed him over in favour of Timoshenko.
Buildmeupbuttercup a big player under Dettori
Buildmeupbuttercup heads the Cesarewitch Stakes betting at 5/1 with Coral, and is all the rage to give Irish trainer Willie Mullins with back-to-back successes in the race.
The Closutton handler saddled Low Sun to land the spoils 12 months ago and has a terrific record with his inmates in this type of contest.
In Buildmeupbuttercup, Mullins has a winning hurdler who has only run six times on the level – winning once and finishing in the frame on two occasions.
The five-year-old mare ran a blinder when 1 1/4 lengths second of 19 to The Grand Visir in the 2m 4f Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting in June, before romping to an easy 4 1/2 lengths success in an 18-runner maiden over 1m 4f at Gowran Park.
Buildmeupbuttercup the lost little in defeat last time out over the same trip under a big weight, when falling by only a neck to overhaul Kastasa in the valuable 17-runner Petingo Handicap at Leopardstown off a mark of 94.
She is able to race in this off an unchanged rating, so it make sher a major player from a handicapping perspective as she is due to race off 4lb higher in future assignments.
Buildmeupbuttercup will also appreciate the significant step back up in trip and now gets the services in the saddle of Frankie Dettori for the first time.
That looks a rare significant booking as Dettori has teamed up with the yard just seven times, winning twice and finishing placed on another occasion for an overall profit of £14 to a £1 level stake.
Eddystone Rock appeals each-way
With BetVictor offering enhanced place terms and paying six places, the rejuvenated Eddystone Rock appeals each-way with them at the 25/1 on offer.
The seven-year-old will be the first-ever Cesarewitch Stakes runner for trainer John Best, and has bounced right back to his best this summer following a spell in the wilderness.
After being pushed out to beat Theglasgowarrior by just over two lengths in a 2m contest at York off a mark of 91, Eddystone Rock showed a terrific attitude to follow-up last time out over the same trip when getting the better of Rare Groove in a 17-runner affair off 4lb higher.
Those efforts suggest he is well worth a crack at the 2m 2f trip of this.
Although raised another 4lb in the weights, a revised rating off 99 still looks exploitable – given that Eddystone Rock has been rated 102 in the past.
The stable is also in good form and operating at a strike rate of 22 per cent in the past fortnight at the time of writing. He also has proven form on the forecast ground.
So, taking everything into account, it would be no surprise to see Eddystone Rock outrun his odds and make the frame in a typically wide-open and fierce renewal of the Cesarewitch Stakes.