Cesare to come up short?

Course & Distance Limited panellist Steve Smith-Eccles believes that stamina limitations are the only thing stopping the classy Cesare making a bold bid to claim the Champion Hurdle crown next March.

Smith-Eccles, who guided See You Then to three victories at Cheltenham during the 1980s, told www.cdhorseracingtours.com: "Cesare is a top class Flat racer - a Group Two winner in fact - who jumps like an old pro. I've schooled him a few times for James Fanshawe, who I'd guess will be targeted at flat tracks such as the likes of Kempton which will suit Cesare better.

"But for me the big question mark is his stamina, will he get the two mile trip? Personally I just can't see him coming up the hill at Cheltenham - I think that he will struggle."

The James Fanshawe-trained eight-year-old is available at 50/1 and is due to run at Doncaster on Saturday (12 December).

However, Smith-Eccles believes one horse who has 'seen it, done it and got the t-shirt' at the Cheltenham Festival and could strike gold again is reigning champion Punjabi.

Smith-Eccles continued: "All the talk is about Binocular and Hurricane Fly, but for me the one forgotten horse is Punjabi.

"He beat Binocular fair and square last year and I'm sure his odds for the Champion Hurdle will be a lot shorter after Saturday's Boylesports.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham."

Punjabi, who lines-up on Saturday (12 December), is currently the 2/1 second favourite with the race sponsors.

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