Spotlight on The Cambridgeshire Handicap
Run over a distance of 1m1f the Cambridgeshire Handicap is staged at Newmarket on the Rowley Mile course. First run in 1839 the contest is the first leg of what is known as the “Autumn Double”, with the Cesarewitch being the second leg run in October.
Here are some key trends and statistics to bear in mind as you go through the form (based on the last ten years):
10/10 were aged 6-y-o or below
4/10 were aged 3-y-o
Only 1/10 had carried more than 9st 2lb
8/10 had a run in the last 56 days
0/10 for horses that were beaten 6 lengths or more last time out
The main contenders
With the likelihood of 35 runners going to post this is not a race for the fainthearted punter. With double figures prices available on all but one of the runners it makes sense to bet on a small handful of selections.
Here are just a few horses I consider to have a live chance on Saturday:
Third Time Lucky
Third Time Lucky, beat another of today’s runners, Master The World, by a short-head 12 months ago, and races off 5lbs higher this time. Positives for this horse are that he is only 4-years-old and his recent form (short of room 5th last time) and draw (13) are highly favourable. He also clocked up five wins in 2015 proving he is no back number.
Won at Wolverhampton in February and was beaten a neck second at Doncaster in The Lincoln. He has a lengthy absence to overcome which may be against him on the trends, but he is lightly raced and is going well for his current yard.
Brian Meehan’s runner finished ahead of Third Time Lucky at York recently and seems to be on the up this season. Running off a mark of 104 he is capable of being in the thick of things come the business end of the race. Runs behind Ayrad and Scottish in Listed company this season certainly give his followers grounds for optimism.
Bansksea won at Pontefract back in June has been runner-up four times this season. He has been on the go since May this year and whilst the yard have been in and out of form that whole time the 3-y-o has remained consistent, showing he has got a touch of class. He looks almost certain to be in the places.
Was third in this last year and was second over the course and distance in April before going on to win at Epsom. That was just his fifth start for Stuart Williams who has produced the five-year-old to run career bests on his last two starts. Running off a mark 8lb higher than last season should not pose a problem given the upward curve in his form.
This Godolphin runner shaped very well last time out when a half length third to Acclaim at Ascot. With the yard seemingly coming out the other side of a virus and several winners already coming this week, there is every chance this horse will be trained up to peak fitness.
The John Gosden stable has an excellent record in the race, winning it in 2007 and 2008. The 5 year-old is the joint highest-rated in the field and a past course and distance winner. He has been running in Listed company of late so this drop back into a handicap should be an easier task. Ryan Moore is a top booking too. The only downside is that he has to concede weight to all his other rivals.
Erik The Red
Erik the Red has been knocking on the door this season but getting off the mark in a 30+ runner handicap does not appear to be the easiest of tasks. He has gone up 5lb in defeat this term but his trainer Kevin Ryan is still be keen on his chances. Ryan will certainly be buoyed by last weekend’s Ayr Gold Cup win and will be eager to keep the ball rolling by taking another big race handicap this weekend.
Master The World
Master The World is without a win since 2015 and was the runner-up in this race twelve months ago. His best run this season was filling second spot to Franklin D at Goodwood in July when just touched off by a head. The five-year-old grey gelding certainly has a big race in him. Whether it will be this big race remains to be seen.
Treasury Notes comes here after successive wins at Haydock and Ripon and has gone up 4lb in the ratings for doing so. David O’Meara’s four-year-old is drawn in the middle and has won on a variety of going descriptions. He may progress again.
This horse appears to be floating just below the betting radar. Gelded over the summer, Roger Varian’s four-year-old ran a respectable fifth to Sacred Act on his return. That looked very much a prep race for a tilt at this contest and sizeable odds may well reward each-way backers.
Knight Owl won the Suffolk Stakes here over course and distance at the Guineas meeting and finished a short head second to Treasury Notes in the Ripon Rowells last time out. That form has to be respected.
Carry On Deryck
Saeed Bin Suroor’s season has turned a corner and what a carry on it would be if he could take the Cambridgeshire with this horse. He shaped alright from a terrible draw when sixth behind Franklin D at Goodwood. A former Meydan winner, this trip looks the ideal distance for him and William Buick is certainly the man Godolphin look to for winners.
- Erik The Red
- Very Talented