It’s Cambridgeshire Handicap day at Newmarket but as always, the number of horses who could win the feature is into double figures and no longer are bookmakers offering enough incentive with their books to make backing several of them viable.
HQ is still the place to be though with a number of good value types running on the card, including three juveniles I am particularly keen on this weekend beginning with one in the Royal Lodge.
1.50 Newmarket (Royal Lodge Stakes – Group 2) – YEAR OF THE TIGER
Rating this race wasn’t the easy task it should’ve been with potential Group 1 types, but what has been evident is that at the very least there should be some value in the race, albeit to small stakes.
Kameko is the rightful favourite based on his narrow second behind Positive in the Solario Stakes, but that race was a lot more about pace than this one will be and while Andrew Balding’s colt is a Derby entry, he may not see this race out as well as some and may not offer a great deal more of improvement either.
At around the 8/1 mark overnight though, Aidan O’Brien’s Year Of The Tiger is a more than fair price to take on as a small bet. His bare form isn’t good enough, but he wasn’t himself last time and a better race to rate him on would be his very easy maiden win in July.
On that he could be a 105-110 horse now and, having been off the track for 77 days and with O’Brien known for getting the very best out of them when it counts, he could easily be good enough to put it up to the favourite.
2.25 Newmarket (Cheveley Park Stakes – Group 1) – TROPBEAU
The first of two Group 1’s on the card. Andre Fabre comes to Newmarket looking for a very high-profile double and, while he may be disappointed by Earthlight, he could gain a huge win in this contest with Tropbeau.
Main rival Raffle Prize is understandably put in as favourite overnight and she ran on the same Deauville card as the selection back in August. She looks all speed though and we should bear in mind that, even over six furlongs, the Rowley Mile will take some getting so Tropbeau’s very classy win over seven last time marks her out as one who shouldn’t be stopping at the business end.
This is a tight race with Living In The Past not rated far behind the main two, but Tropbeau’s price is more than fair and she rates just about the best of them.
3.00 Newmarket (Middle Park Stakes – Group 1) – SISKIN
This has been billed as the Race of the Year by many, with the likes of Threat, Lope Y Fernandez and Monarch Of Egypt probably good enough some years to be considered leading lights.
They are all bigger prices for this renewal given the presence of three potentially brilliant unbeaten colts, with Fabre’s Earthlight headlining the event.
The Godolphin colt, a son of Shamardal, is already a Group 1 winner having taken the Prix Morny last time and he has been prepped for this since. He only just got there last time though and would probably have ideally stepped up in trip in the Dewhurst had it not been for the all-conquering Pinatubo being aimed at that, so we can’t say he ticks every single box here.
The spectacular visual performance of Mums Tipple last time at York has got him in at second-favourite, with the clock backing up his 11-length win. He won on debut too, and from Molathem no less, though that was nowhere near as impressive and it could just be that York was very much to his liking.
That leaves us with Ger Lyons’ Siskin who at around 9/2 looks far too big based on what he has achieved thus far.
Super-impressive on debut, the American-bred quickly followed up with a Listed success before easily taking care of Monarch Of Egypt at Group 3 level. He stepped forward again when taking the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes from the same rival and we can significantly upgrade that performance based on him not liking the soft conditions at all.
He’s a true class act and has been given 50 days to get over those exertions, with Colin Keane’s mount ready now to put his best foot forward in a race that looks completely ideal for him.
4.15 Newmarket (Maiden Fillies’ Stakes) – BAAQY
After the exhilaration and excitement of the Cambridgeshire and two Group 1’s comes this £10,000 maiden fillies’ stakes, but it provides a betting opportunity all the same.
Runners such as Lady Lynetta, Princess Bride and Aidan O’Brien’s Love Bracelet are all capable, but the standout is definitely John Gosden’s one-raced Iffraj filly Baaqy.
At 7/2 a decent performance was expected of her on debut back in July, though having led early she ran sixth of 8 behind the decent Light Blush. Even the bare form of that would give her a shout here, but in fact she can improve no end for the experience and for the time she’s been given and so rates a very fair shout to get the better of her field.
10.49 Belmont Park (Jockey Club Gold Cup – Grade 1) – TACITUS
Tacitus has had his issues in running and in all fairness he was put in his place last time by today’s rival Code Of Honor, but he remains a colt of great potential and on the balance of things he looks good value here.
His morning line odds of 5/2 are fair enough, but even better is the prospect of grabbing 7/2 with at least one UK bookmaker now that he has a small field and an inside gate. Winning this would propel him into the Breeders’ Cup Classic reckoning too making this race about more than the £300,000 first place prize money.