By Harry Allwood
Owner Henry Ponsonby will be double-handed in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday with the Alan King-trained pair Who Dares Wins and First Mohican set to line up in the fiercely competitive 2m2f handicap.
King first won the second leg of the autumn double in 2015 with Grumeti and went close last year when First Mohican was three lengths adrift behind the Hughie Morrison-trained Sweet Selection.
The nine-year-old is a general 40-1 chance to go one better this year.
“We will be two-handed which is great.” Ponsonby told Racing UK at Leicester on Tuesday before his Just In Time won the Brock Hill Handicap.
“First Mohican was runner-up last year and Hollie Doyle will resume partnership with him.”
The dual-purpose Who Dares Wins won the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket last month and will carry a 4lb penalty for that success.
Asked whether a 4lb penalty is a worry, Ponsonby said: “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. We discussed whether we wanted to win the Trial and the answer was ‘yes’ because the Cesarewitch is going to be tougher.”
Who Dares Win will be ridden by Tom Marquand and is a general 10-1 chance to give owner and jockey their first success in the Cesarewitch. The five-year-old will embark on a campaign over hurdles again afterwards.
“Tom will ride him again,” Ponsonby added. “He regularly rides him and Tom has told me he’s his favourite horse.
“Who Dares Wins won the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury and was also third in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last season. He will run in staying hurdles this season.
“He’s been placed at the Festival, Royal Ascot and in the Chester Cup so he has been a fun horse.”
Ponsonby also broke the news that four-year-old Scarlet Dragon will run in novice hurdles this season. The son of 2006 Derby winner Sir Percy was rated 109 in his prime on the Flat and won five times whilst in training with Eve Johnson Houghton.
“Scarlet Dragon moved to Alan King’s on Monday,” he said. “He was always bought to go hurdling and we let him off as a three-year-old. He did win a lot of money on the flat and we are going down the novice hurdle route with him.
“He’s in great nick and is a very exciting prospect. Alan has done well with our dual-purpose horses and has trained more winners on the flat than over jumps for us.”