Cambridgeshire Handicap Tips Newmarket (Rowley) 1m1f Saturday

Cambridgeshire Betting Preview.

Sir Michael Stoute’s 5yo gelding Abseil is our tip to land Saturday’s big one.

I suspect it may be some time before F. Berry gets the leg up on another Chapple-Hyam horse after the ride he gave last week’s selection, Buckstay, in the Ayr Gold Cup. Held up out the back with the washing, he had to come from an impossible position, but finished best of all, going down by less than a length in fifth place. Not one of Fran’s greatest rides! Having got that off our chest let’s have a look at Saturday’s cavalry charge at Newmarket.

Weight as we know is a great leveller, and only one horse, (Educate, 9st9lbs, 2013) has defied a burden above 9st5lbs since Cap Juluca won with the steadier of 9st12lbs twenty years ago. Indeed thirteen winners in the same period carried less than 9st. As always in these big handicaps, plenty of experience of racing in large fields is a must. An ability to stay further than Saturday’s nine furlongs is a definite plus with many previous winners having form over ten furlongs and further on their C.V.’s. A decent performance in their most recent outing has been of paramount significance, with hardly any of the last thirty five winners failing to perform in their penultimate race. With thirty five runners spread across Newmarket Heath you would expect the draw to be of some significance, but this has rarely been the case, and indeed in last years renewal the shd second was drawn on the other side of the track to the winner.

That winner, the now 6yo Bronze Angel, tries for an unprecedented third win in the one hundred and seventy six years old handicap. The 2012, and 2013 winner, does thrive in the Autumn, and showed his treble aspirations were no forlorn hope when winning a Doncaster handicap last time off a mark of 104. Ridden by 3lbs claimer, Louis Steward, he won by 1 1/2L from that good yardstick Man Of Harlech. As his two previous wins were achieved off 95 and 99 he does seem to be up against it off his new mark of 108, but the Newmarket race does seem to bring out the best in him, so this 6yo warrior is not easily passed over.

Sir Michael Stoute’s 5yo gelding Abseil catches the eye. He looked a tad unlucky last time at Epsom in June over 1m1/2f when racing off a mark of 99 he finished a nk and 3/4L behind Grazie, and Andrew Baldings filly Merry Me. As the Balding filly has gone on to aquit herself well at listed and pattern level, the lightly raced Abseil, who meets Merry Me on 4lbs better than Epsom, doesn’t look badly treated off a mark of 100. His run at Epsom suggested that further would suit, and as he clearly goes well after a break, is short listed.

Michael Halford’s 3yo Teofilo colt Portage won a Cl2 Ascot handicap in July off a mark of 90 (1m sft) and ran a decent race last time at the Curragh, finishing second to the 5yo Hint of a Tint, with the useful Brendan Bracken back in fifth, off a mark of 98. Set to race off the same mark at the weekend, giving him a nice racing weight of 8st7lbs, and with William Buick in the plate he looks another well worth considering.

David O’Meara’s 5yo Dylan Thomas gelding, Earth Drummer ran well when finishing 6th in a 1m2 1/2f, fifteen runner, York handicap last time out. He looked to have a chance at the furlong post but probably didn’t quite get home and went down by 4L. In his previous race at Ascot over 8f he was beaten a half length by Halation, whom he meet on a pound better terms on Saturday. His very talented trainer may well feel that Saturday’s intermediate trip will suit,and with stable jockey Tudhope up, is another well worth considering.

Can Richard Fahey cap a great season by winning with his progressive 3yo gelding Third Time Lucky? Rated 91 after a close fourth in a Goodwood handicap at the end of July he probably needed to win at Thirsk three weeks ago to get into Saturday’s contest and did so in style. Leading on the bit over a furlong out, he went clear, and despite being heavily eased in the closing stages was still 3 1/2L clear at the line. Saturday’s examination will obviously be rather more rigorous, but clearly the Fahey gelding is on a sharp upward curve and with his light weight of 8st4lbs, it will be no surprise if he adds to the Malton Maestro’s burgeoning C.V.

Selection : Abseil.

E.W. : Third Time Lucky.

Ayr Gold Cup 6f Saturday

Peter CH

Peter Chappell-Hyam’s 5yo Buckstay has been campaigned at 7f and further but it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented for an animal with such credentials to win.

It was most disappointing that last week’s selection in the St Leger, Order Of St George, was re routed to the Irish equivalent because of concerns with the going at Doncaster. It seems to this observer that good ground was highly likely at the Yorkshire track, and indeed the Doncaster race was run on ground very similar to the one that prevailed at the Curragh where the O’Brien horse won in a hack canter.

There can be little doubt that he would have won at Doncaster and yet again, scant consideration was afforded to ante post punters. However our next best, Bondi Beach,(after a prolonged inquiry) did collect, so upwards and onwards. Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup, with twenty five runners theoretically handicapped to cross the finishing line together, looks a much trickier puzzle to solve. Happily there are a few strong trends which may help in finding a solution. All of the last ten winners were rated at least 97, and with only two exceptions, carried at least 9st. Only two managed a burden of more than 9st4lbs. Another very relevant stat is the fact that only two of the last ten winners had managed to cross the line in front in more than one race that season, probably highlighting connections desire to minimise the amount of weight carried. It is one of the toughest sprint handicaps of the year, run over a demanding course, with the weather often playing a hand, so stamina is most important. A proven ability over the trip is essential, and the stamina to stay further is a definite asset.

Having won all of his four starts, the Richard Fahey trained 3yo Dutch Art gelding, and current favourite, Don’t Touch is on a real roll. Tackling a Class2 handicap for the first time, he showed maturity beyond his years, when taking the Great St Wilfred at Ripon last time out. Backed in to 4/1 favourite in an admittedly depleted thirteen runner field, he ran on strongly when the penny dropped inside the final furlong, to win by a head off a mark of 96. He is sure to have learnt a lot at Ripon, and although 3yo’s have a poor recent record (thirteen years since one won) he looks well treated off a mark of 101 giving him a nice racing weight of 9st1lb and is shortlisted.

Kevin Ryan, who has won the race three times, (twice in the last four years) has an interesting contender with his 4yo gelding, Lexington Abbey. He went down by a short head at Nottingham eight weeks ago off a mark of 95 and was put up 2lbs, almost guaranteeing him a place in Saturday’s field. Given ground no worse than good-soft, he is worth a second look at a big price particularly as Irish ace Pat Smullen has been booked.

The Andrew Balding trained 7yo Highland Colori won this two years ago off a mark of 104 and gets into this years renewal off a mark 1lb lower. Having raced prominently he faded to finish eighth last time, in his first run for twelve weeks, but previously had shown the engine was still there when beaten less than a length in a Class2 7f Newmarket handicap. He seems to be suited by plenty of give these days, and there is little doubt that his shrewd trainer will have him primed for a repeat of his 2013 performance.

David O’Meara’s 4yo Highland Acclaim got going too late in last weeks 5 1/2f Portland handicap at Doncaster, but came home in grand style finishing 5th off a mark of 98. Bound to be well suited by the extra 1/2f at the weekend, and again racing off 98 O’Meara must have strong prospects of repeating last years success with Louis The Pious.

Marco Botti’s 4yo Golden Steps showed that he was on an upward curve when taking a Class2 handicap at Goodwood last time off a mark of 96. Dettori, who has ridden the winner twice in the past six years has been booked, so although up 7lbs since Goodwood must be considered.

Peter Chappell-Hyam’s 5yo Buckstay has been campaigned at 7f and further but it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented for an animal with such credentials to win. Indeed three of the last ten winners had won over further than six furlongs and the above mentioned Highland Colori boasted success over a mile. Buckstay won his last race, a 7f Class2 handicap at headquarters off a mark of 97 and races at the weekend off a 4lb higher mark. He probably handles most conditions, so it’s unlikely his uber shrewd trainer is travelling north without serious ambition.

Selection: Buckstay.

E.W. : Highland Colori.

St Leger Stakes 1m6f 132yds Saturday

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O’Brien’s contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old.

Our E.W. Selection, Magical Memory, certainly belied his odds of 14/1 when finishing third in last week’s Gp1 Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. Always travelling very well within himself, he looked the most likely winner for most of the race, but probably got to the front just too soon. If he goes to Longchamp for the Prix de L’Abbe on Arc day his style of racing would be well suited to the furlong shorter trip, and is one to keep in mind. Saturday’s final English classic, the St Leger provides a test at the other end of the distance spectrum, and looks a fairly open contest.

Aidan O’Brien who has already bagged four St Leger victories (but has someway to go to match the nineteenth century handler, John Scott, who trained an amazing sixteen winners between 1827 and 1862) is triple handed, and all three go there with chances. Interestingly all three are by the outstanding Coolmore stallion, Galileo, and two of them, Bondi Beach and Fields of Athenry, boast an even closer relationship, both being out of Danehill mares. All three have won over 1m6f at either listed or group level so stamina shouldn’t be an issue.

Despite being drawn out with the washing, Fields of Athenry ran a decent race in the Ebor handicap. Drawn 22 and racing off an eye watering mark of 118, he finished a respectable fifth, despite not getting the greatest of rides from his 5lbs claiming pilot. He did have a hard race on the Knavesmire, but a reproduction of the form he showed the previous time he tackled the distance, at Leopardstown in July, when coasting to victory over the useful four year old Silwana would certainly put him firmly in the picture.

A winner of two of his four races, Bondi Beach is showing the benefit of his patient handling by the master of Ballydoyle. Unraced as a 2yo he made his racecourse debut at Leopardstown in May and under a hands and heels ride from Seamie Heffernan, won by a short head from the hot favourite Bantry Bay. He was a slightly unlucky second over 1m4f four weeks later, but upped to 1m6f next time he won a Gp3 by a short head from stable companion Order Of St George. Reverting to 1m4f in the Gp2 Great Voltigeur seven weeks later he looked an unlucky looser. Backed in to 11/4 favourite he was making steady progress over the last three furlongs when taking a bump one hundred and fifty yards out from Storm The Stars, who then carried him continuously to the left. He went down by 1/2L and in the subsequent controversial stewards inquiry, despite the jockey being stood down for three days the Haggas horse was allowed to keep the race. To this observer the best horse was second, and with an extra two and a half furlongs to travel at the weekend has excellent prospects of reversing the placings.

The third O’Brien contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old. On his reappearance, he ran stable companion Bondi Beach, who had the benefit of two previous runs to a shd, and then had little more than an exercise canter when winning at Down Royal four weeks later. On his latest appearance, Gp3 1m6f sft at the Curragh, he looked most impressive, winning by 7L and 8L from Seamoon and Kingfisher. He has clearly thrived since upped in trip and looks the one to beat on Saturday.

Storm The Stars who has accumulated £535,000 in win and place money must be a lovely animal to own. He ran two marvellous races when coming third in The Derby, and second in the Irish Equivalent. He demonstrated his toughness when coming third in a Longchamp Gp1, only seventeen days after his Irish Exertions and showed no signs of tiredness when collecting at York. He is a thoroughly genuine and likeable horse, but has had a very demanding season, and with some stamina doubts on the distaff, is passed over.

The French colt Vengeur Masque is bred to stay all day and ran a decent race last time at Deauville, 1m4 1/2f, finishing 4th. Unless the step up in distance elicits abnormal improvement it’s hard to see him being involved,

Selection: Order Of St George

Danger. : Bondi Beach

Sprint Cup 6f Haydock Saturday

William Haggas

The Oddsguru fancies the William Haggas trained Adday to win Saturday’s Sprint Cup.

I hope you were on last week’s selection, the Kodiac colt, Kodi Bear. He absolutely hacked up and is clearly going to be a force at the top level. He might well be worth considering for the QE11, particularly if the ground is on the easy side. Saturday presents another son of Kodiac, Adday, with the opportunity of scoring at the top level on only his second attempt at a Gp1.

Bought for €54,000 as a foal, he was resold as a 2yo for 240,000Gns, and he certainly looks a bargain now. He made his 3yo debut at Ascot at the end of April, finishing third to Saturday’s opponent Limato. He was beaten 3L by the Candy gelding, who had benefited from a previous run, but reversed the form at Haydock a month later when comfortably holding Limato by a length. Seventeen days later, in the Gp1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting Adday ran an indifferent race finishing seventh, 2 3/4L behind Limato who finished second. Given a nice two months break the Haggas colt reappeared in the 7f Gp2 Hungerford stakes, where, as an easy to back 15/2 shot, he won in workmanlike fashion from a decent field. The score between Limato and Adday currently stands at 2-1, but one suspects that the Haggas colt may not be ideally suited to the Ascot course, (plenty aren’t) and back at the Lancashire track Adday may even the score. One for the shortlist!

Magical Memory, whom this column tipped, when taking the Stewards Cup has been supplemented at a cost of £15,600 for Saturday’s race, highlighting the confidence of the all conquering Charlie Hills stable. After strolling to victory in a Newmarket handicap off a mark of 96 he was all the rage for the Goodwood cavalry charge when backed in to 6/1 favourite on the day, and won like a group horse in the making off his new mark of 102. He was actually being eased down inside the final furlong and probably deserves a considerably higher rating than his current 108. He has done all his winning on top of the ground conditions, but his trainer has no worries about an easier surface, and indeed feels that he might well be suited by some give. Very soft ground however would be a negative. Obviously on a sharp upward trajectory his sporting connections should retrieve, at the very least their late entry fee.

The redoubtable Gordon Lord Byron, who won the race two years ago, can never be left out of calculations. Particularly well suited by plenty of give, he showed his current wellbeing when a decent third at the Curragh on an unsuitable fast surface, two weeks ago. His form in the 6 1/2f Gp1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on August 9th, where he finished only 1L behind triple Gp1 winning Muhaarar, to whom he was conceding 5lbs, would give him very strong claims indeed.

Michael Appelby’s 4yo gelding Danzeno, may have been unlucky in Newmarkets Gp1 July Cup when finishing 5th behind Muhaarar. He seemed to be given an awful lot to do, and Dettori collected a two day ban by the stewards for his belated attempt to get through. In his previous race at Newcastle he again looked unlucky finishing 3rd, just a short head behind Saturday’s opponent Mattmu, who claimed the runner up spot. Here again he was slowly into his stride, and also lost his action when stumbling after 2f. As Mattmu went on to win a Gp3 at the Curragh and finish third in the 5f Nunthorpe, there is nothing wrong with the form, so given a bit more luck in running, the Appelby runner is another worth considering, particularly as all ground comes alike to this talented gelding.

David O’Meara runs two, G Force, and Watchable, and of the two the latter may be the more interesting. Running consistently without troubling the judge all season, he ran the best race of the current term last time, when finishing 4th in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, just a length behind Gordon Lord Byron. This Pivotal gelding, who handles a soft surface well, only needs slight improvement to get involved, and coming from this yard we all know that is more than possible. His current odds of 25/1 certainly look generous.

Selection: Adday

E.W. : Magical Memory