Byrnes targets Ces success
Charles Byrnes has warned soft ground would leave a serious doubt over the participation of Domination in the Betfred Cesarewitch
Winner of Newmarket's Cesarewitch Trial over the course and distance a little over a year ago, Domination is set to return to Headquarters on Saturday week in brilliant form, having bolted up on his last two appearances over hurdles.
Byrnes believes the race is tailor-made for his six-year-old, but he would be concerned if conditions deteriorate over the next 10 days.
"Domination is very much on target for the Betfred Cesarewitch. He's in great form and I couldn't be happier with him," said the trainer.
"I just hope the ground stays the way it is. If it becomes soft, he probably wouldn't run.
"I have had this race in mind for him ever since he won the Trial last year. He's gone up 18lb since then, which is a big rise, but I think he would have a good chance if he gets his conditions.
"The fact that he won over the course and distance in a big field last year will stand him in good stead.
"Newmarket is a very special place. It was a dream to have a winner there last year, especially as I don't have that many Flat horses, and it would be very special again if it comes off.
"The prize money is fantastic, it really is. There was a good pot for the Trial last year, it was a £50,000 race, but this is worth five times that amount so it's not going to be easy.
"Two and a quarter miles and good to firm ground is perfect for him. He hasn't got a lot of speed. All he does is gallop, he hasn't got gears."
Domination is one of 58 horses still in the mix for the valuable handicap, with Ted Veale another interesting contender from across the Irish Sea.
However, trainer Tony Martin has warned the six-year-old is unlikely to line up.
He said: "We are just leaving our options open for Ted Veale but at the moment he is highly unlikely to run and will probably run over fences in a few weeks' time instead."
The third and final Irish-trained entry is the Willie Mullins-trained Drive Time.
Mullins said: "Drive Time is 50-50 to run at Newmarket, with the Irish equivalent as his alternative. He's working well and goes on any ground.
"He has plenty of weight over hurdles at the moment but his handicap mark on the Flat is more workable.
"If he runs he will be my second Cesarewitch runner, Tryphaena finished fourth in 2000."
Tiger Cliff is the ante-post favourite with the sponsors at 7/1, while his owner, Henry Ponsonby, also has another leading hope in 10/1 shot Lieutenant Miller.
Aaim To Prosper won the race in 2010 and 2012 and is in the mix again along with Oriental Fox, Pallasator, Big Easy and Platinum.