Three selections on Wednesday and three winners – Scrutinise (7/4), Eton Rambler (6/1) & Divine Call (20/1) were the individual start prices. Just a 403/1 treble landing!
Today’s quality action is the Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket and I’m going to give a quick line on the four races then focus on the Cambridgeshire handicap.
Aristocratic ran a promising debut over course and distance on debut finishing third behind Promising Run. The winner yesterday won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes boosting that form. Sir Michael Stoute’s tend to improve for the run, so looks the one to beat. Wholesome is another to have a run under her belt finishing sixth in a hot maiden where the second and third have won since. Of the newcomers then Al Kirana representing Al Shaqab racing is one that is interesting, as is First Victory for Godolphin, who looks beautifully bred. If either of those are fully tuned up they could cause Aristocratic a few problems.
14:00 – Royal Lodge (Group 2)
Foundation has proven form over this trip and is open to a bit more improvement. He won the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock last time and did the job nicely. John Gosden and Frankie Dettori had a good day yesterday and will be hoping for a good run from this son of Zoffany. Preference is for Deauville who won the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown shaping like the step up to a mile would suit. On top of that the second that day was Sanus Per Aquam and he gamely fought to beat Tasleet by a nose in the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes on Thursday.
14:35 – Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1)
Illuminate beat Besharah by a nose in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes here at Newmarket in July. Richard Hannon and kept his filly off the track since then coming into this race a little more fresh. William Haggas’ filly has since ran twice winning Group 2 and Group 3 races respectively in very taking fashion on softer ground. Lumiere was second to Besharah at York in the Lowther but was keen during that race and if settling better could run a big race as there looks to be improvement in her. For me the most interesting runner is Sunflower who won better than the winning distance suggests at Windsor on debut. Andrew Balding has high hopes for this filly but this could come a little too soon for her but is definitely one to watch.
15:10 – Middle Park Stakes (Group 1)
The market looks about right for this race. Shalaa sets a high standard after winning the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville and if running up to that will be very difficult to beat. It’s a shame that only seven runner go to post, so this race loses an each-way angle. However if unperturbed by that then Buratino and Ajaya are closely matched. I’d be looking to side with William Haggas’ representative on the pro racecard and back him at around 2/1 without the favourite. Graham Gibbons is managing to get the best out of him as shown by his two wins on him at York. He was quite impressive when winning the Gimcrack but may need more to beat the hot favourite.
15:30 – Cambridgeshire Handicap
Bronze Angel is aiming to make history and became the first horse to win this race for a third time. He previously won this race back in 2012 and then again last year. He shoulders a 4lb penalty for his success at Doncaster two weeks ago, but remains 1lb well in, If running close to that level he is bound to go close. Some bookies make him joint favourite. The other previous winner in this line up is Educate and this was the last race Ismail Mohammed’s six-year-old won. That day he won off 104 and is 2lb lower for this year’s renewal however he may have just lost that bit of spark required for a race of this nature.
Of the other 33-runners, well this really could prove to be a pin job. Let’s start by saying despite there being 35-runners only a few of these are out and out front runners. The only two obvious runners that can go forward are Ifwecan, who won the Carlisle Bell earlier in the campaign, and Third Time Lucky, who has gone well this season winning four from six starts and despite carrying a 4lb penalty here he is also 4lb ahead of the handicapper. The majority of the field tend to be ridden prominently but the hold up horses wanting a strong gallop may not get that with the lack of obvious pace to the race. Master Carpenter went front running last time out but those aren’t his usual tactics, so connections are likely to revert back to there usual prominent plans. With the two front runners in the field they do have to prove there stamina therefore they could set up to stake their opponents up in behind before trying to quicken away from them, which could cause traffic problems in behind too.
One at a big price that could benefit being draw close to a pacemaker is Obsidian. Richard Fahey enjoyed a successful Saturday at Ayr last week and with a few in this race it could prove to be another day of joy for the Malton handler. This four-year-old has been fairly consistent but did slightly disappoint at Ayr when last seen however he stumbled early on in that race which may have caused him to run flat. He’ll be one doing his best work late and should see this trip out have easily won over a mile three starts ago. He is carrying relatively little weight could prove to be a lively outsider.
Another candidate for this race is My Dream Boat, who is drawn low in stall three is close to Third Time Lucky and could get a nice tow into the race from him. He was a nice winner at York’s Ebor meeting beating Hathal, who has since won quite nicely himself. The race he finished that race suggested the extra furlong here shouldn’t be too much of a problem. He is versatile on the ground, so the drying ground wouldn’t be a concern after winning on a quicker surface at Doncaster. Ryan Tate is able to claim 3lb meaning his mark is 6lb higher from his York victory but there could be a bit more to come from this Clive Cox three-year-old.
Portage is 3lb ahead of the handicapper and some of the bookies aren’t taking a chance with him. He won on soft ground at Ascot on his penultimate start building on the promise shown as a juvenile. During racing over the last two days runners have made bids down the middle and far side have been seen in a better light. Michael Halford’s charge is drawn high in stall 28 and should have the race ran to suit. He was last seen finishing second in the Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh and is a big player here. Musaddas doesn’t look the most straightforward, as shown by the fact in his last three races he’s switched from the hood to cheekpieces then to the visor. Here he is back in the hood, which he won wearing here over a mile. If running up to that level then he has claims but may need to find a bit more, especially after being beaten by Birdman at York off a 2lb lower mark.
Express Himself is ultra consistent and this sort of trip could see him at his best. He ran well in a 14-runner handicap at Doncaster in August and he was slightly unlucky in the run, so he has to be considered. As does Forgotten Hero returning to the track he last won at. He’s 5lb higher since that win in May but did go well at Doncaster 16 days ago, which suits he is in good heart. He was down the field in this last year but could outrun his odds. Gabrial’s Kaka could prove to be very well handicapped. His last win came in last year’s Spring Cup at Newbury. He handles big fields and won that day off a mark off 95. Today he’ll run off 88 but his recent form isn’t inspiring. Half of his four career wins have come in the month of September however for me may want stepping down further in trip.
For me there are two others that are worth noting. Energia Davos had his first run for Jane Chapple-Hyam at Ascot 22 days ago and won. That came on the back of an absence, which saw him off the track since February after his switch from Marco Botti. The ground and trip shouldn’t be a concern but the 4lb penalty may prove a bit too much for this seven-year-old. My third selection and the last one to mention is Examiner. His three career wins have all been over a mile and have all come on the all-weather however he has been lightly campaigned this year with only having three runs. He showed promise on the turf last season when second over this trip at York off a 1lb lower mark. He went close in a handicap with The Corsican, who is now a Group 3 winner. Stuart Williams’ runner may prove just to be a winter horse if disappointing here but after a break of 64 days should be good enough to see him go well fresh.
Advice: My Dream Boat (20/1 each-way)
Obsidian (66/1 each-way)
Examiner (50/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
NOTE: Sky Bet are paying SIX places. Be careful with that offer as some odds may be shorter due to that.
NOTE: William Hill go 12/1 the field from 8:30am and are paying FIVE places like the majority of bookies.
I’ll also be highlighting selections at some of the other meetings up and down the country too.
This looks a race where you could get the well-backed favourite Harwood’s Volante beaten. He’ll arguably get the race ran to suit him, as he likes to come off a strong gallop. Guishan (18/1) looks well worth an each-way tickle in a race where four places will be paid. She’ll be ridden prominently and should handle the ground after winning at Hamilton on good to soft. She went up 3lb for that win and then finished third at Pontefract nine days ago but did well to finish in that position after doing too much in front early. Fast Shot is one that looks well handicapped but the seven-year-old has to prove his love for the game. He drops into this Class 3 contest, which could see him go well. Order Of Service is one not to discount. Jim Goldie’s horses are running well and with Rachel Grant able to take off 7lb then he has claims after winning an Ayr handicap on soft ground off 72 and would run here only 1lb higher. If handling the step-up in class he could be competitive at a price.
This staying handicap has two interesting contenders. English Summer may be an eight-year-old but is thriving on his racing of late and two of his recent wins have come up against Eton Rambler, who won at Kempton on Wednesday. He does need to prove his stamina but to the eye and on pedigree he should get the trip. The other solid option is Hassle, who was third in the Old Borough Cup when last seen. He stays strongly and if Adam Kirby can keep him closer to the pace he may finally get his head in front once again.
Cymric sets a high standard after beating the impressive Masssaat on his second start before finishing third in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York. He won ten days ago at Sandown and shaped like the extra furlong shouldn’t be a problem. Based on his pedigree, which is heavily USA bred, suggests he’ll handle the all-weather surface. Lazzam was a course and distance winner when last seen here last month. He has solid claims stepped up in class but the vote goes to Dragon Mall, who caught my eye on his debut run at Kempton. He finished that race off very well when the penny dropped. Last time at Doncaster he ran in a very strong maiden with the third, fourth and sixth all franking the form since with the winner looking a smart prospect. Despite just the seven runners David Simcock’s runner could offer a bit of value.