Cambridgeshire day at Newmarket today, with the eponymous handicap taking centre stage at 3.40.
Just the 34 runners take part, so should be a piece of the proverbial to clean up at 10-1 the field. Evidence from the Silver version, run yesterday with a field of 19, suggest that the centre of the track is the place to be and the far rail is the place to avoid but not falling over another runner would appear to be even more important.
Bookmakers are going quarter the odds 8 places, so we will throw three darts at the board and hope for the best.
First port of call is the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Mountain Hunter, which is available to back at 33-1. After wintering in Dubai, picking up a valuable handicap in the process, this 4-y-o looked on good terms with itself when a close fifth at Doncaster just over two weeks ago, finishing with running left after a troubled passage. That run will have set the horse up perfectly for today and if the family brain cell is operating normally, from stall 8 Hector Crouch will be able to head for the middle ground and all will be well.
Our second arrow is aimed firmly at John Gosden‘s Tricorn, which has been laid out for this afternoon with meticulous preparation by his master trainer. A strong finishing second over a mile at Chelmsford City 19 days ago, its first run since June, will have filled the connections with confidence and can give ‘Popeye‘ a great ride on his return from an enforced absence for being a naughty boy. 20-1 is still available, so avail away.
Last piece of our jigsaw is everyone’s idea of a Cambridgeshire winner in Alfarris, trained by William Haggas. This horse has hardly put a hoof wrong in four races this season and, if you are one for sequences, figures of 1,2,1,2 should be followed by…..
Drawn 23, Big Jim can choose his route to victory and the 10-1 should be taken.
The ‘undercard’ features two Group 1s and a Group 2, all for 2-y-os, so will help to shape the ante-post markets over the winter.
The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at 1.50 has a field of seven, headed by Mr Gosden‘s unbeaten Beatboxer at 2-1. Having won two ordinary novice races before today, this is a clear case of ‘trust the trainer’, as its chance in this Group 2 are not obvious.
We prefer to take a chance with a trainer who has a 100% record in this race over the past decade – one runner, one winner. Step forward Mr P Cole who supplies Duke Of Hazzard, which is available at 12-1. Notwithstanding the annoying non-runners which have spoilt the each way look of the race, we recommend e/w first two – at least it’s now quarter the odds.
The Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, a Group 1 over 6f at 2.25 has 11 runners as we go to press, led by Michael Bell‘s flying filly Pretty Polyanna at 11-8. Bill Gredley‘s horse may well win this, but that price is unattractive and we suggest an each way bet on AO’B‘s So Perfect, which is available at 8-1. Close second behind Advertise in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last time out, this Group 3 winner has the class to bustle up the fav.
Last but not least is the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at 3.00, a Group1 for the young boys which sees the next appearance of the Irish Pegasus, aka Ten Sovereigns, trained by you-know-who. An easy winner of both starts so far, including a Group 3, this wonder horse(?) is unbackable at 4-6, so in the hope that all eight stand their ground, we suggest a modest each way investment on John Gosden‘s representative Legends Of War at 25-1.
That’s it – now off to watch Bubba driving into the drink.
Mountain Hunter 3.40 Newmarket e/w @ 33-1 (8 places)
Tricorn 3.40 Newmarket e/w @ 20-1 (8 places)
Alfarris 3.40 Newmarket e/w @ 10-1 (8 places)
Duke Of Hazzard 1.50 Newmarket e/w @ 12-1 (2 places)
So Perfect 2.25 Newmarket e/w @ 8-1
Legends Of War 3.00 Newmarket e/w @ 25-1