Scottish trainer Iain Jardine is hoping to cap his best ever season by saddling Shrewd to victory in the £250,000 Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday (14th October).
This two and a quarter mile heritage handicap has as usual attracted a full field of 34 horses. They hail from all four corners of the British Isles – half of a six-strong Irish contingent (headed by Ryan Moore’s mount, Lagostovegas) comes from the yard of the Champion Jumps Trainer, Willie Mullins, while the Welsh handler, Evan Williams, has two representatives including the ante post favourite, John Constable.
Based at Carrutherstown, just over the border near Dumfries, Jardine has only held a training licence since 2011 but has improved his annual tally of winners every year since then.
This has been a breakthrough season for him as he landed his initial big-money success on the flat when Nakeeta lifted the Betfred Ebor Handicap at York in August and now only needs six more successes to get to 50 winners for the first time.
While Nakeeta flies out to Australia today to take part in the Melbourne Cup on 7th November, Shrewd will tomorrow make the five and a half hour road trip down to Newmarket.
A seven-year-old gelded son of Street Sense, Shrewd had been with four other trainers before he joined Jardine just over two years ago. Since then he has won five races, including three over hurdles.
Shrewd’s most recent outing was in the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial on the Rowley Mile on 23rd September. Despite not enjoying the clearest of runs, he finished third – the identical position he had filled in the same race 12 months earlier.
Jardine is hoping that he will improve upon last year’s 12th place in the Betfred Cesarewitch itself. He is well drawn in stall nine and will be ridden for only the second time by Jardine’s stable apprentice, Jamie Gormley.
Iain Jardine, trainer of Shrewd, said:
“Shrewd was moving tremendously well this morning when he had his final spin before the Betfred Cesarewitch. It’s a hugely competitive race but we wouldn’t be sending one all the way down to Newmarket if we didn’t think that he had every chance.”
“He put up a really good performance in the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial even though it would have been ideal if his jockey had been a little more patient.”
“This time he will be ridden by Jamie Gormley, who needs just one more winner to lose his 7lb claim and is a rider that I have great faith in. In my opinion he is different gravy to most 7lb claimers – he’s a very good rider who has a clock in his head and uses his brain.”
“On top of Jamie’s claim, Shrewd is on a 7lb lower handicap mark than in this race last year. I’ve got no complaints about our draw and the ground will be ideal as it’s still got some moisture in it.”
“Shrewd is a horse who tries hard and has a big engine. He likes the hustle and bustle of these big fields and the more trouble he meets the better he goes.”
“We’ve had some really good results this year and it would be another feather in our cap if Shrewd was to provide us with our first ever Newmarket winner.”