Syndicate manager Henry Ponsonby appears to have had a significant change of heart with regard to the possibility of his recent Ebor Handicap winner Tiger Cliff taking his chance in the valuable Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on October 12.
The four-year-old’s victory in the feature Knavesmire contest was tinged with high emotion coming only a couple of months after the death of his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, who had long believed the son of Tiger HiIl was the ideal type for the coveted staying handicap.
Running for his widow, Lady Cecil, Tiger Cliff produced a memorable power-packed finish under Tom Queally, flying home under the stands rail to peg back the luckless Ian Williams-trained Genzy who had looked certain to prevail 100 yards from the winning post.
Initially, Ponsonby appeared to rule out the possibility of attempting to emulate the much-loved Sergeant Cecil, who did the Ebor/Cesarewitch double in 2005. But after seeing his charge raised just 6lbs for his York win there appears to have been a change of heart on the part of the owner who had suggested that a step up to pattern race company would be on the cards and a bid for the Prix du Cadran at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp was the likely target.
Now, having had time to mull it all over, the latest racing betting suggests that Ponsonby is leaning towards the Cesarewitch, partly because he believes his stayer could still be well handicapped, and partly because the prizemoney at Newmarket is significantly more than in France.
Wherever he goes, Lady Cecil’s charge appears likely to be give a very good account of himself before developing into a serious horse for the Cup races next season. He has already caught the eye of a number of prominent betting pundits on the bet365 website.