With only 7 “Jollies” obliging over the last four decades, in the 30+ runner, cavalry charge, up the Rowley Mile, which is The Cambridgeshire, it’s clearly a difficult heat to crack, but one man who has done so on 3 occasions is training Maestro, John Gosden. Two of his victories were achieved with 3yo’s which makes both his contenders from the Classic Generation, Wissahickon and Style Hunter of interest.
The former, a son of record breaking American Sire, Tapit, has won 4 of his 6 starts, and was quite impressive last time, winning a Chelmsford AW Class2 Handicap
over 10f, off a mark of 101.
Always run at a furious pace, an ability to stay further than 1m1f has proved a decided asset in The Cambridgeshire. This well bred animal, he is a half brother to that super filly, Rainbow View, who Gosden trained to win The Group1
Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in 2009, showed that he is equally adept on Turf, winning a competitive Class2 York Handicap in June. Mr Gosden won the 2007 renewal with a strikingly similar 3yo, Pipedreamer, who had only the 5 runs before his success and if Wissahickon can overcome his relative inexperience he can prove a potent force on Saturday.
The second Gosden 3yo, Style Hunter, with only 7 starts, is another lightly raced type, but showed that he can cope with the demands of a big handicap field when finishing a close 6/30 in the 1m Brittania Handicap at Royal Ascot in June. Racing off a mark of 91 he finished 2 1/2L behind the winner Ostilio (rec 1lb) and followed up with a facile win over Easy Tiger 5 week’s ago at Goodwood to earn his new rating of 100 and get into Saturday’s contest. As The Brittania winner Ostilia is now rated 110, Style Hunter looks well handicapped and with form over 10f has plenty to recommend him.
The Willie Haggas (pictured) trained 4yo, Alfaaris started the current campaign on a mark of 87, and following 4 excellent efforts, (won 2,second twice) this very progressive animal races off a mark of 104 at the weekend. He may have been a tad unlucky last time when pilot, Jim Crowley, may have overdone the waiting tactics in the 10 1/2f Sky Bet Handicap at York 5weeks ago. Racing off a mark of 101 he was travelling on the bit 2f out but ran out of room, and couldn’t get to the enterprisingly ridden winner, Pivoine. He meets Pivoine on 5lbs better terms on Saturday and back at 9f the Haggis horse should reverse the placings.
Roger Varian has never won a Cambridgeshire but with 3 entries, all in the colours of Sheik Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum this time he will be hoping to get his name on the scoresheet. His best chance would seem to lie with the 4yo son of Oasis Dream, Sharja Bridge, who has been steadily progressive in his 7 race career to date. He ran a very encouraging heat first time up this term when racing off a mark of 99 he was only beaten 1/2L by the talented Oasis Charm over course and distance in May. The pair finished 4L clear of the 3rd, Third Time Lucky, in a good time for the conditions so the form looks solid. He ran a decent race next time in the 10f Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing 4 1/4L behind the winner in 8th. He was close up with a furlong to run but didn’t quite get home and faded in the last 75yards. Following a 65 days break he ran well again finishing 4/18 behind Poets Society in a 1mile York Handicap 5 week’s ago. Racing off Saturday’s mark of 106 he was 1 1/4L behind the current Cambridgeshire Favourite, Kynren, who he meets on 3lbs better terms on Saturday. Sharja Bridge is out of the very successful German brood mare, Quetena, (all 4 of her offspring are decent winners and Sharja Bridge’s full brother, Querari, has won at the highest level, Group1 1m2f Heavy Capannelle 2010, and now stands as a stallion) so his breeding offers hope of plenty more to come.
The Aidan O’Brien trained, Kenya put up an amazing performance when coming home 3 1/2L clear of his field in the 1m Irish equivalent and put in another excellent effort when finishing 2nd in a 1m Leopardstown Group2 last time but both attempts beyond a mile has seen him finish last and none of his dams seven offspring stayed beyond 1m1/2f
The Saeed bin Suroor trained Very Talented ran a terrific race as a 3yo to finish 3rd in the 2016 renewal. Racing on the opposite side to the winner he won the race on his side but obviously sustained a setback and wasn’t seen on a racecourse again until making a winning reappearance at Chelmsford off a mark of 98 9 days ago. He won pretty comfortably from the good yardstick Firmament and doesn’t look badly treated on Saturday’s mark of 104 especially if one considers the way he trounced the now rated 102 Linguistic over Doncaster’s straight mile as a 2yo.
Selection : Style Hunter (if abs Sharja Bridge)
E.W. : Sharja Bridge