Racegoers set to descend upon Newmarket for the Cambridgeshire.
There’s four races featured live on Channel 4 on Saturday afternoon, the showpiece event of the afternoon being the 3.50, where the Cambridgshire Handicap is run over 1m, 1f on the hallowed turf of the Rowley Mile.
The first in the so-called Autumn Double, the Cesarewith completes the double at the same track in October, there’s plenty on the undercard to attract out interest.
2.00 – EBF ‘Jersey Lily’ Fillies’ Nursery (7f)
Fillies’ Mile-entry Sandy Cay has only raced twice, and may be a cut above these if her engagement in that contest is taken at face value, but she’s likely to be short enough, and meets several who have achieved as much in form terms, with Rosalie Bonheur arguably the pick on turf form after winning a similar event at Salisbury on just her second start.
She still looked rough around the edges there, and is clearly open to further progress, so gets a narrow vote over Little Lady Katie, who was in front of Gregoria at Doncaster, and ought to appreciate the extra 100 yards more than the Haggas filly.
Selection: Rosalie Bonheur
Alternative: Little Lady Katie
2.35 – Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (1m)
Nafaqa stands out on form shown, and his defeat of Toocoolforschool was made to look better when that one bolted up in the Mill reef last weekend. He’s got a solid chance, but we can’t help feel that the latter’s win at Newbury is massively flattering given the state of the going, and taking the collateral form literally is dangerous.
As a result, Nafaqa may be over bet, and we’d prefer to side with the promising Lord Ben Stack at what should be a juicy price.
The Karl Burke-trained colt improved markedly from his debut when winning a Haydock maiden last time, and while that form is far removed from the level he’ll need to score here, it was a performance replete with promise for the future, and we’ve little doubt that he will make up into a smart performer if getting the breaks.
It’s possible that this test will be too much too soon for him, but that notion is tempered by the prospect of a biggish payoff.
Selection: Lord Ben Stack
3.10 Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes (6f)
Once again we have a juvenile who stands out on form in the shape of Tiggy Wiggy, but again there are reasons to believe she’ll be too short in the betting, with the 6f at Newmarket less likely to suit that the speed tests she’s faced to date.
She’s a flighty filly who simply wants to sprint from the moment the stalls open, and a more restrained style of running is preferable in a race of this nature. The dilemma facing Richard Hughes is whether to try to burn his rivals off and hope she sees the trip out, or to attempt to ration her speed and risk her fighting such tactics.
That’s enough of a concern for me to look elsewhere, and Anthem Alexander, who has clashed with the favourite twice this season, gets the vote. Eddie Lynam’s charge beat Tiggy Wiggy in the Queen Mary, and improved again when chasing her home in the Lowther.
She was unable to throw down a serious challenge, but will be better suited to the demands of Newmarket, and has realistic claims of turning the tables. Tendu is also potentially smart, and is less exposed than the front pair, but she has shown a tendency to flash her tail on both starts to date, which is a minor concern; that said, she impressed with her finishing burst at Kempton, and will be an each-way price, so clearly needs respect.
Selection: Anthem Alexander
3.50 – Betfred Cambridgeshire (1m1f)
The longest sprint in the calendar, as we’ve heard it called, and never an easy race to unpick, with Cornrow appealing as the likeliest winner, but priced accordingly.
He was rallying strongly close home at Ascot last time, and the longer trip will suit, while he is handled by John Gosden, who has no peers when it comes to laying high-class handicappers out for autumn targets.
There are planty of others who make some appeal, including Buckstay, who has been hinting that he’s got a big handicap in him in recent starts, and may still be improving, but the longshot who tickles our fancy most is Yeager, who was held in high enough regard to take in a Grade 1 in the US last year, and is much better than he’s shown this term.
In common with many from the Jeremy Noseda yard, he ran as if amiss earlier in the summer, but the yard has turned the corner in no uncertain terms of late, landing a double on the first day of this meeting. Yeager was deeply impressive in winning at ascot last summer, and is now expected to make up for lost time.
Stall 13 isn’t obviously helpful, but he’s a much bigger price than his talent should have him, and can’t be ignored off a potentially lenient mark.
Selection: Yeager (e/w)