The Cambridgeshire (3.50pm, Newmarket, Saturday) is the first leg of the traditional Autumn Double, the second leg being the Cesarewitch, also at Newmarket, on October 12. The nine-furlong contest has, as usual, attracted a maximum field of 35 runners, but we have unearthed a selection that we think should go well at rewarding odds.
William Haggas sets punters a real puzzle by saddling six runners, of which Graphic (14/1), the mount of Frankie Dettori, is the shortest in the betting market. The Excellent Art gelding has shown progressive form on recent starts, beating Ascription over a mile at Haydock in August and following up, off an 8lb higher mark, in a better race at Kempton three weeks ago. He’s 4lb worse off for 2 lengths with Ascription on their running at Haydock, but more of a worry is the fact that he’s never won beyond a mile or on going softer than good to firm.
Ascription (14/1) franked the Haydock form when readily winning over a mile at Doncaster two weeks ago and, from a handicapping point of view, looks well treated under a 4lb penalty. By contrast to Graphic, he’s done all his winning on good to soft and soft going, so the generally dry weather forecast for Suffolk between now and Saturday afternoon isn’t in his favour. The ability to see the trip out thoroughly is essential on the Rowley Mile Course, so that fact that he’s never won beyond a mile is also off-putting.
Top Notch Tonto (12/1) carries just a 4lb penalty for winning the Group 3 Superior Mile at Haydock three weeks ago and is another who, at first glance, appears to have excellent claims. However, he was well beaten, off a 10lb lower mark, on his one and only attempt beyond a mile at York in June and may be vulnerable once again.
Among the market leaders in the latest Cambridgeshire betting odds and one horse that should have no problems with his stamina is Educate (16/1). He has won three times over a mile and a quarter. Ismail Mohammed’s 4-year-old was understandably outclassed in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month, but the form of his previous third, over 1 mile 2½ furlongs, at Haydock makes good reading in the context of this race.
Strictly speaking, he’s 5lb worse off for a neck with Gabrial The Great (20/1) on their running at Haydock which, on collateral form lines, also gives him plenty to find with Ascription. However, he was tenderly handled by Johnny Murtagh after being denied a clear run and stumbling at Haydock, so he may have a better chance than the bare figures suggest.
Of those at longer prices, Seek Again (22/1) is worthy of a second look, if only for the fact that his trainer John Gosden has won the Cambridgeshire three times, including with the 3-year-old Pipe Dreamer in 2007. The son of top-class dirt sprinter Speightstown won over 7 furlongs on the July Course at Newmarket last month and has run respectably on both subsequent starts, over a mile, at Kempton. He’s 4lb better off for 3 lengths with Graphic on their running at the Surrey track last month, but neither his pedigree nor his style of racing suggests that he’s crying out for a step up in distance.
Cambridgeshire Betting Tips Verdict
It’s nigh on impossible to make a selection with any degree of confidence, but SAM SHARP (50/1) has been running well all season and, although the last 7-year-old to win the Cambridgeshire was Rambo’s Hall in 1992, makes significant appeal with two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan on board.
The Johannesburg gelding is just 4lb higher in the weights than when winning over 1 mile 2½ furlongs at York last month and a strong gallop over a stiff nine furlongs should suit him admirably. A slightly higher draw would have been preferable, but SAM SHARP still looks a good value betting tip each-way at 50/1 with BetVictor or Stan James.