Bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap 1m1f Newmarket (Rowley) Saturday

rowley course oddsWith a pot of just under £100,000 for the winner, and with a maximum field of 35 closely handicapped horses, the race, up the straight 9f of Newmarket’s Rowley course,  is always run with the choke out, putting a premium on stamina, and is often won by an animal that stays beyond 9f. Inevitably, in a race like The Cambridgeshire, there have been the occasional big price winners, but in the main, the victors have not gone unconsidered, and 15 of the last 20 successful animals have returned an SP of 16/1 or less.

Three year olds have won 2 of the last 4 renewals, and two from the Classic generation, Good Birthday and Desert Icon, who fought out the finish of the 10f William Hill Silver Cup Handicap at Beverly 29 days ago, certainly demonstrated their ability to stay beyond 9f. In a strongly run heat, the Andrew Balding trained Good Birthday, despite a very tardy start, prevailed by 1/2L. He made good headway over 2f out, and bravely squeezed through on the inner entering the final furlong, and collared the Willie Haggas trained, Desert Icon, in the last 50 yards. The runner up meets Good Birthday on 2lbs better terms on Saturday, so it should be close between them, but that said, the Balding horse looks to have the better profile for a race like The Cambridgeshire. A winner of 3 of his 8 starts, he has performed with credit in the three large field handicaps he has contested, and the Beverly contest came after a 50 day break. There is plenty of rain in the forecast so the  son of the French Stallion, Dabirism’s, proven ability on soft ground, could prove a very definite plus. With a lovely racing weight of 8-8, he will have plenty of assistance from the saddle in the shape of Champion Elect, Oisin Murphy, and he certainly looks one for the short list.

Another 3yo that fits the bill on the stamina front, is Roger Varian’s Son Of Dark Angel, Fifth Position. He has only won once from his 5 starts, but has performed creditably in his last three races, including last time, when finishing 5th in a Sandown Group3, 58 days ago. 4 weeks prior to that, racing over 10f, he had finished 5th, 3 1/4L behind the talented Elarqam in a Listed contest at the same venue. There is plenty of stamina on the distaff side of his pedigree as his dam won over 1m7f, and she has bred a 3 mile Irish Chase winner. However, despite his top connections, his overall profile doesn’t convince as a potential Cambridgeshire winner.

Hughie Morrison won The Cambridgeshire 10 years ago with the 6yo Supaseus, and must be hopeful of landing a second with his very progressive 3yo, Le Don De Vie. A  son of top class US turf winner, Leroidesanimaux, he has won 3 of his 7 starts, including last time, when winning a 10f Goodwood Class2 Handicap, 5 weeks ago. Always travelling well within himself, he stayed on to win very comfortably from the 96 rated Great Example. Clearly very progressive he races on Saturday off a mark of 101, 20lbs higher than he was at the start of the season, and it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see him end the year on a still higher mark.

John Gosden has won The Cambridgeshire 4 times, and will be hoping for further success with one of his 2 contenders this year, Star Of Bengal or Lord North. The former, a 4yo son of Oasis Dream, has won 2 of his 6 starts, both successes coming on The AW. He has yet to win on turf and there wasn’t a lot of encouragement that he was going to break his duck soon, when finishing last of 5 in a Windsor Group3 36 days ago. However he does stay 10f well on The AW, and at the time of writing is the chosen ride of Frankie Dettori.

Three of Gosden’s previous winners were from the Classic generation, which makes his second contender, the 3yo, Lord North, more interesting . The son of Dubawi has won 2 of his 4 starts and looked as if he would be suited by further when a staying on 2nd in a 1mile Ascot Handicap following a 106 day break, 23 days ago. There are positive messages from his pedigree too, as his dam stayed a mile, his half brother, Chronicles, won over 10f, and his exceptional sire, Dubawi, gets plenty of top class middle distance winners.

jeds okeefe oddsThe Jed O’Keefe (pictured) trained 4yo,Jazeel, won last year’s consolation race, (The Silver Cambridgeshire) and again showed his liking for the track when going down by 1/2L over course and distance on his reappearance this year. He ran another excellent race in July, going down by 1/2L, to the Good yardstick Fayez at Goodwood, and while totally genuine, he has been done no favours by the Handicapper, and has to race off a 3 lbs higher mark on Saturday. However with that master tactician, Jamie Spencer, doing the steering, it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see him pull off yet another one of those “miracle finishes” for which he is rightly so famous, and one can just imagine him putting Jazeel’s head on the line where it matters.

One trainer who would be quite happy to see the rain arrive at Headquarters is Aidan O’Brien, as his contender, Amedeo Modigliani, revelled in soft conditions when landing his sole success to date, a Galway Maiden by 5 1/2L on soft in August 2018. A 4yo, son of the great Galileo, he has only raced 4 times and hasn’t been seen since finishing 4th, 1 3/4L behind the now 107 rated Imaging at Leopardstown in April. His mark of 98 on Saturday looks pretty fair and if taking up the engagement, (also entered in The Joel Stakes on Friday) looks good value at the generous looking odds of 20/1 available at the time of writing.

Selection : Good Birthday

EW.           : Amedeo Modigliani,  Jazeel

John Gray

German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes 2yo Fillies 7f Group3

newmarket july course viewNewmarket July Course –  Saturday

The race is named after the unfashionably bred Sweet Solera, who won the 1000gns and Epsom Oaks in 1961, and became Timeform’s top rated filly of the year. Irish bred, she was foaled in the Emerald Isle in 1958, but we have yet to see a filly that hails from her country of birth win the race named in her honour, a situation that Irish trainers, Jessica Harrington and Joseph O’Brien will be keen to correct at the weekend.

Jessica Harrington
Moone
Photo: Patrick McCann 24.02.2017Jessica runs the daughter of Poets Voice, One Voice, and she certainly looked capable of further progress when winning a 7f Leopardstown Maiden by 3L 16 days ago, on only her 2nd racecourse appearance. She beat the debutant Auxillia who went on to win her next race by 5L, and while there is nothing special about the form as it stands, Jessica’s contender, is a nicely bred filly, by the highly promising young Stallion, Poets Voice, who sadly died last year. Mrs Harrington, now in her seventies is still a superb trainer and if her filly takes up Saturday’s engagement, (also entered at The Curragh on Friday) is well worth considering.

Joseph O’Brien is no mug either and his contender, Unforgetable, ran a solid race 16 days ago to finish 2nd in a Leopardstown Group3. She was beaten 3 1/2L by his fathers filly, Love, but there was no disgrace in that, as the daughter of Galileo had won her previous race, and may prove to be yet another high flyer from The Ballydoyle Academy. Back in 4th at Leopardstown was the 2/1 favourite, Precious Moments, who had run well in the Group3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and finished a close 2nd in a Curragh Group2, giving plenty of substance to the form.

The Richard Hannon trained daughter of Invincible Spirit, Cloak Of Spirits, made a very pleasing racecourse debut 15 days ago, when winning a Fillies Novices Stakes at Ascot. She won by 3 1/2L despite running a little green, but a word of caution as the well backed favourite, Dubai Paradise, was leading at the 2f marker when weakening quickly and was eased right down.

charlie appleby lincolnThe Charlie Appleby trained daughter of Kodiac, Light Blush, made a winning debut over Saturday’s course and distance, (July13 Good-Firm) And was sent off favourite for a Sandown Listed race 12 days later. In a heat where Frankie Dettori, riding Saturday’s opponent, Walk In Marrakesh, was able to dictate things from the front, the Italian Maestro got first run, and managed to cling on from the closing Light Blush by 1/2L, with another of Saturday’s contenders, West End Girl, a further 1 1/2L back in 4th. It is quite possible that the Sandown form can be reversed, ( West End Girl was also keeping on when not getting a clear run and was hampered inside the final 60 yards). It’s worth noting that Light Blush is out of the Listed winning mare, Marsh Daisy, who’s best form was all on soft ground so if it does come up on the easy side at the weekend, confidence would be increased.

Despite losing 4L at the start, the Ed Vaughan trained Ultra Violet made a stunning start to her career, hacking up by 8L in a 6f Maiden Fillies Stakes over Saturday’s course 7 weeks ago. The form hasn’t really been franked and the time was ordinary, but she couldn’t have been more impressive, and being by the highly successful dual 2000Gns winner Gleneagles out of a mare that stayed 10f the trip on Saturday can evince further improvement.

It is 27 years since Sir Michael Stoute last won The Sweet Solera but runs a likely looking type in the Sir Evelyn De Rothschild owned and bred Soffika. By the miler, Zoffany, she has won her only start, a 6f Fillies Novices Stakes at Pontefract with a minimum of fuss and as a half sister to Dubka, (also trained by Sir Michael and stayed 14f) she will be well suited by further. Improvement will be required but with these connections it won’t come as a great surprise if it’s forthcoming.

Selection : Light Blush

EW.           : unforgetable if abs, Soffika

John Gray

Qipco 2000Gns Tips 1mile (Rowley) Newmarket Saturday

Rock The Kasbah gave us a good run for our money in last week’s bet365 Gold Cup but the ground had gone against him, and he did well to hold onto second place behind the runaway winner Stepback to whom he was conceding a stone. The dreadful weather has had a huge influence on results all through this winter so let’s hope the forecasters have got it right, and the first Classic of the year on Saturday is run with the Sun shining on a decent racing surface.

Aidan O’Brien, with an astonishing eight wins in the race, (an all time record), won four of the five British Classics last season, including the 2000gns, (with Churchill) and will be hoping to get off the mark again this year at the first time of asking. Of his quartet of entries at the time of writing, the two to concentrate on are Gustav Klimt, and last year’s Group1, Racing Post Trophy Victor, Saxon Warrior.

The former has won three of his four starts, including the Group2 Superlative Stakes (7f Gd/fm) over The July Course, where despite being hampered and losing his place at the 2 furlong marker, he battled back to win by a head from the useful Nebo. He was quite impressive on his reappearance, winning The Leopardstown 2000gns Trial (7f Hy) putting 1 3/4L between himself and the runner up, Imaging, in the last 150yds. By super stallion, Galileo, out of the Danehill mare Massarra, (a cross much favoured by Coolmore) Gustav Klimt hasn’t had the opportunity to race at the top level yet, (withdrawn from the Group1 National Stakes because of a stone bruise last September),but his full brother, Mars, was placed at the top level and finished 6th in the 2013 renewal of Saturday’s contest. Of further interest from a breeding point of view is that the grand dam, Rafha has produced the two outstanding stallions, Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.

Saxon Warrior has raced three times and won all of them, including last time, when he won the Group1 Racing Post Trophy from Saturday’s opponent, Roaring Lion last October. He was headed by the Gosden horse, who tended to hang left inside the final furlong but gamely fought back to win by a head. There are mixed messages from his pedigree as he is by the very successful Japanese stallion, Deep Impact out of The Galileo mare Maybe, who didn’t seem to train on after a terrific two year old career. She won all five of her starts as a 2yo, including at the top level, but never beyond 7f. She was beaten 10L, finishing third behind Homecoming Queen in the 1000gns and never again troubled the judge in her career. Her only other offspring, Saxon Warrior’s full brother, Pavlenko, has only managed a single maiden victory from eleven starts.

While the Charlie Appleby trained Masar did win two of his six starts as a 2yo, including the Group3 Solario Stakes at Sandown, his overall form didn’t suggest that he might win a 2000gns, an impression reinforced by his first run as a 3yo, where he finished 10th on the dirt at Meydan in March. However, last time he put up a real eye catching performance in The Craven Stakes, Racing over Saturday’s course and distance, he made all to come home 9L clear of White Mocha, with the Racing Post Trophy runner up, Roaring Lion, the 8/13 favourite, another 1/4L back in third. While visually very impressive it’s worth remembering that the runner up was rated 13lbs inferior to masar and the time, 3.1 seconds slower than standard on good ground, was nothing to write home about. However his winter in the sun has obviously done him good and he’s worth a second look.

We can only assume that Roaring Lion didn’t run his race in The Craven but based on his Racing Post form, and his win over Aidan O’Briens’ talented Nelson, in The Royal Lodge last September, he has to be of interest. However that poor performance last time is a serious concern, so perhaps Gosden’s best chance of landing a first 2000gns lies with the lightly raced son of Frankel, Without Parole.

He didn’t see a racecourse until last December when he dotted up in a lowly Class5 on the AW at Newcastle, and was again impressive when winning another Class5 at Yarmouth eleven days ago. The form doesn’t amount to much and Saturday represents a huge step up in class, but it’s worth noting that half brother Tamarkuz has had a hugely successful career, albeit on the AW, winning at the highest level, and banking more than £1.2 million in prize money.

Since winning with Mister Baileys in 1994, Mark Johnston has drawn a blank in the 2000gns but must entertain serious hopes of landing a second with his talented son of Frankel, Elarqam. He is out of that wonderful mare, Attraction, who won five Group ones, including the 1000gns in 2004 for Johnston, and Elarqam has been impressive in winning both of his starts, at York and Newmarket. The form of his win at Headquarters has been franked, with the runner up, Tip Two Win, easily winning his next two races, including a local Group2 in Doha last time. Elarqam not only has his inexperience to overcome, as well as the rest of the field, but coming from this yard, it won’t surprise if he does.

Selection: Elarqam

E.W. : Masar

John Gray

Darley July Stakes Betting Tips 6f Newmarket Saturday

Muhraar

Gimcrack winner Muhaarar is the Oddsguru’s fancy for Saturday’s big race.

First run in 1876, The July Cup is considered by many to be the 6f championship, and with names such as Green Desert, Soviet Star, Cadeaux Genereux, and Royal Academy, on the roll of honour, it is hard to disagree. Winning form at the distance has been of paramount importance, the only exception in recent years being the filly Fleeting Spirit, who had been runner up in a 6f Gp1.

With only seven 3yo’s collecting in the last twenty runnings, it can’t be said that the younger generation are having the best of it, but historically honours have been pretty evenly shared. The outstanding 3yo in this years renewal is undoubtedly the Charlie Hills trained Muhaarar. By the outstanding sire Oasis Dream, he is a product of his owner, Sheik Hamdan’s, Shadwell stud.

Muhaarar had a fine two year old career, which included a win in the 6f Gp2 Gimcrack Stakes, and a third in the 6f Gp1 Middlepark. He surprised many when winning the 7f Gp3 Greenham stakes on his reappearance, but then blotted his copybook when finishing 8th in the French Guineas. Excuses were made due to his wide draw, but, wisely returned to sprinting, he has been a revelation. In the newly inaugurated Gp1 Commonwealth Stakes, a 6f contest confined to 3yo’s at Royal Ascot, where held up off the pace, Muhaarar came with a devastating run in the final furlong to go clear, beating the high class Limato by 3 3/4L, with Saturday’s rival, Anthem Alexander, a further 3/4L back in third, in a time faster than the following days Golden Jubilee Stakes. A repeat performance at the weekend must give him great prospects of emulating his sire, who won this in 2003.

Chris Waller must have been a bemused and disappointed man following the defeat of his Australian champion, Brazen Beau, in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, where amazingly his rider Craig Williams chose to race all alone on the stand side. Considering he had nothing to run with he ran a marvellous race to finish second, 1/2L behind Undrafted, with Saturday’s opponent, Astaire 1 3/4L back in third. He has been twice a winner at the highest level over the distance in his native Australia, on the last occasion ( March 14th) in a blindingly fast time. One slight negative is that due to the vagaries of the breeding seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, he is classified as a 4yo ( despite being only 5 months older than Muhaarar) and has to concede the weight for age 6lbs. However with James Doyle now in the plate, and sporting the Godolphin colours for the first time, this outstanding sprinter is going to take all the beating at the weekend.

David O’Meara pulled off a minor miracle when winning the Gp1 sprint at Haydock with the then 3yo, G Force last September. He has been disappointing in his three races since, but two of them have been at Ascot, a course that may well have not suited him. His other run was in the 5f Temple Stakes at Haydock where he met all sorts of trouble in running and finished 5th. His brilliant young trainer reports that the “engine is still intact” so returned to 6f on Saturday, it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

Richard Fahey’s 4yo gelding Eastern Impact obviously enjoys the East Anglian air as three .of his four wins have been at headquarters. He beat last Saturday’s talented Windsor winner, Huntsman’s close, on his reappearance at Newmarket in May, but then failed to get in a blow behind Tropics at Windsor. However his close 4th in a Gp3 at Newcastle (June27) was more encouraging, so in the hands of R.Fahey, who won this with a similar type, Maysoon, three years ago, is considered.

The unlucky horse in the Newcastle race was undoubtedly Michael Appelby’s 4yo gelding Danzeno. Slowly into his stride, under a less than inspired ride from Andrew Mullen, despite stumbling after 2f, he finished 3rd, behind Aeolus and Saturday’s opponent, Mattmu. Frankie Dettori takes over riding duties at the weekend, so at odds of 20/1 he could represent some e.w. Value.

Another whose sire won the race is the Michael Lynam trained Anthem Alexander. By Starspangledbanner, who won the 2010 renewal, his 3yo daughter is proving to be a super game and talented racehorse. She ran a great race when finishing third to Muhaarar at Royal Ascot, but on paper her prospects of reversing the form look remote. However Lynam, who is such a master trainer of sprinters feels that perhaps the Ascot race had come too soon following her reappearance victory at Naas eighteen days earlier, and expects things to be closer on Saturday. It is worth pointing out that fillies and mares have a poor record in the race, with only two succeeding in the last thirty years, so perhaps a place is the best that can be hoped for.

Selection: Muhaarar.

Danger: Brazen beau.

2000 Guineas Betting Preview 1 mile Newmarket Saturday

Aidan O'Brien

On breeding the Aidan O’Brien trained Gleneagles stands out. He is a full brother to last years Irish 1000gns heroine Marvellous, and if he does win on Saturday his dam Youresothrilling, will have achieved the amazing feat of producing two classic winners with her first two foals.

The inaugural running of this first classic of the year, was in 1809, and it has a roll of honour which reads like a who’s who of thoroughbred racing. Historically, the 19th century handler John Scott, with seven victories, has been the most successful trainer, his final win coming via The Marquis in 1862. It is an awfully long time for a record to stand, but Irish maestro, Aidan O’Brien would seem to have strong prospects of equalling it in this years renewal, where he is triple handed, with Gleneagles, Ol’ Man River, and Highland Reel.

On breeding Gleneagles stands out. He is a full brother to last years Irish 1000gns heroine Marvellous, and if he does win on Saturday his dam Youresothrilling, will have achieved the amazing feat of producing two classic winners with her first two foals. She had plenty of speed, winning the Cherryhinton at Newmarket as a 2yo, and is a sister to the toughest horse of his generation, Giant’s Causeway, (2nd 2000gns, and winner of five Gp1 races between 1ml and 1m 2f). By the outstanding stallion Galileo, ( sire of the brilliant Frankel, who took this in 2011, and Australia and New Approach, who both went close) Gleneagles could not be better bred for the weekends task. He made his racecourse debut in a 7f maiden at Leopardstown last June, finishing 4th, beaten 3L. He upped his game 3 weeks later taking a 7f Curragh maiden by 2 1/2L, and progressed to win the Gp3 Tyros stakes, eliciting the interesting comment from his trainer that he had “been still babyish and would improve a good bit”. He looked more the finished article, when winning the Gp2 Futurity at the Curragh 4 weeks later, and confirmed his progress when taking Ireland’s premier 2yo contest the National Stakes over 1ml at the prohibitive odds of 1/3. Sent to France for his last race, the Gp1 Prix Jean-Luc Legardare, He was quite impressive, showing a nice turn of foot to win cleverly by1/2 L, only to loose the race in the stewards room afterwards. He is one of those animals who does just enough to win, and with Ryan Moore in the plate, looks a very worthy favourite.

Second in the market at around 6/1, is the Andre Fabre trained Territories. This Invincible Spirit colt was the principle sufferer in the Prix Jean-Luc Goddard, behind Gleneagles and was duly promoted from 3rd to 2nd. He upheld the form when winning a Gp3 on his reappearance at Longchamp very comfortably on April 12th, and coming from this stable, who won with Pennekamp (1995) and Zafonic (1993) his chance must be respected. However, despite the outcome of the inquiry after the ” Luc-Goddard”, this observer feels the best horse finished in front and will do so again on Saturday.

The Richard Hannon trained Estidhkaar has won three of his six starts, and having sustained a hairline fracture when going off the 11/8 fav for last years Dewhurst Stakes, must be considered. He ran a fine race in the 7f Greenham stakes on his reappearance, finishing 2nd, a nk behind Muhaarar. Good paddock judges felt the race was needed, and considerable improvement could be expected. However there must be serious doubts about his ability to stay a mile at the highest level. His sire, Dark Angel, was a precocious 2yo who didn’t race at three, and whose best progeny have been sprinters. His unraced dam also has a lot of speedy influences in her pedigree, so perhaps the jury will have to remain out for the present.

Aidan O’Brien’s twice raced Montjeu colt, Ol’ Man River, who cost an eye watering €2,850, 000 as a yearling is attracting some interest and is a best priced 8/1 at the time of writing. He has won both his races (1ml) and like his stablemate has a pedigree to die for. His dam Finsceal Beo is one of only two fillies to have pulled off the English/Irish 1000gns double, and his sire is legendary. However it has to be said that while he has won both his starts, the form hasn’t worked out, and his style of racing would suggest that he will be suited by further.

Charlie Hills, who’s Muhaarar won the Greenham is quite bullish about his Dutch Art colt Dutch Connection. Having stayed on nicely to bag a York Gp3 (7f) He travelled to Ireland to take on Gleneagles in the Gp1 National Stakes. He ran very freely, and in the circumstances and did well to finish 2 1/2L third. Hills feels that Saturday’s likely strong gallop is what the colt needs, and that his recent racecourse workout at the Newmarket Craven meeting, was just what was required to bring him to his peak.

The Sir Mark Prescott trained Celestial Path is of interest. He hails from a family containing many outstanding milers, and as a son of Footstepsinthesand, is a grandson of the great Giants Causeway. He certainly looked the business when trotting up in a listed race at Haydock last September, but was disappointing when only managing 3rd in the Racing Post Trophy six weeks later. Perhaps he was over the top, or unsuited by the soft ground, so given good or faster ground at the weekend, he is another worth considering.

Selection: Gleneagles.

E.W. : Dutch Connection.