Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting is the main source of quality racing in Britain this weekend. The Cambridgeshire itself is the headline act with a typically strong and competitive betting heat but earlier on the card, it’s all about the juveniles with three Group level races for two year olds.
Haydock adds meat to the bones of the day’s live racing with a couple of handicaps on ground that is set to be unusually firm for the track. We’ve picked out the horses most likely to enjoy the quick conditions as well as those who represent the best betting value at Newmarket in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:50 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
Group 2, 1m
Coroebus was a well-backed winner of his debut start at Newmarket last month. The amount of money that came in for the Godolphin colt suggested that he had been doing some very good work on the gallops and he built on that very well by beating a more experienced horse in Saga without William Buick ever having to get too serious on board.
Charlie Hills’ charge is back at Newmarket for his second outing but he will not reach favouritism this time with Masekela continuing to be backed at 7/4 at the head of the betting. Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy have partnered on some high-class horses in recent years and Masekela could be up there with the best. His own form at Newmarket and Newbury received a couple of boosts a fortnight ago and while he isn’t at the head of the ante post picture, he has been nibbled at 25/1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas. More proof of his quality at Newmarket could see that price shorten further still and Masekela’s extra experience compared to Coroebus should make the difference for him in Saturday’s first ITV Racing race.
2:05 Betway Handicap
Class 2, 1m
Seven runners contest the first of two very good, highly competitive handicaps at Haydock on Saturday. A couple of these have had loftier targets than handicaps at times, Noble Dynasty included. Half brother to the excellent Barney Roy, Noble Dynasty won on his handicap debut and the hope is that the 95 rated three year old will be able to contest Listed and even Group races in the future.
Noble Dynasty does look to be well handicapped currently and the market is supporting his claims at 6/4. Latest Generation is in a similar position in that the early hopes of his yard have yet to be fulfilled but his form is on a downward trend whereas Noble Dynasty comes into the race on the back of a win. Cruyff Turn is one who could lay down a challenge to the favourite after a race that didn’t go to plan at Ayr last week. The Tim Easterby four year old can secure a return by making the front two but can he beat Noble Dynasty with three pounds more to carry? It’s unlikely so the favourite is the one to support.
2:25 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes
Group 1, 6f
The Cheveley Park Stakes is one of the premier targets for two year old fillies of all. Leading contenders for the following year’s 1,000 Guineas regularly compete in this six-furlong contest and in that regard the performances of Sacred Bridge and Sandrine will be particularly keenly watched.
Sacred Bridge is the favourite having won all four of her races, improving with each run and Colin Keane looks to have something very special on his hands. Sandrine is not unbeaten but the race at York last time out was not run to suit and she should at least be able to reverse the form with Zain Claudette.
The top two both have a great chance to further enhance their reputations but this is more than a two-horse race and Flotus warrants each way support at odds of 11/1. After such a decent start to her career, things tailed off worryingly for the Simon and Ed Crisford inmate but she bounced right back to form at Ripon last time. She’s clearly followed that up with some good work at home as connections have taken the most challenging of the options available to her and another step forward should see her fill one of the places at least.
2:40 Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap
Class 2, 5f
Jawwaal has put in some pleasing performances for connections recently without really threatening to win. Michael Dods is a big fan and believes that the six year old is still improving. He will have to improve to win off a career-high mark of 99 but he could just find that everything falls into place in this handicap.
The faster the ground the better for Jawwaal and it is going to be rattling fast at Haydock on Saturday. He also wants a good pace to aim at and the competitiveness of the race should ensure that. This race went the way of the favourite (or joint favourite) in four of the last five renewals and Jawwaal can keep that run going at a price of 3/1.
3:00 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes
Group 1, 6f
Just over half an hour after the leading two year old fillies test their mettle it’s time for the colts’ equivalent, the Middle Park Stakes. The betting paints a picture of a clearer outcome with Perfect Power a best price of 15/8 at the head of affairs. Christophe Soumillon, who is making his first trip to Britain for two years, gets the ride and is expecting another big run after the pair won the Prix Morny at Deauville last month. He is the right favourite but in a year without a real star of a juvenile colt, it could be worth trying to profit on an upset.
A win in the Group 2 Railway Stakes at Curragh was enough for Dave Loughnane the owners of Go Bears Go to throw him into the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last time out. He came up short back at Curragh but there was a lot to like about his performance. Even if another Group 1 proves a step too far for Go Bears Go, you can be sure that he will give his all. A price of 7/1 would provide a decent return if Go Bears Go secures a place and very nicely indeed were he to go all the way and win.
3:40 bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap
Class 2, 1m1f
The prices of the last two winners of the Cambridgeshire Handicap tell you a lot about the unpredictability of this 1m1f race. Majestic Dawn went in at odds of 40/1 last year but one year earlier it was bookies’ favourite Lord North who got the job done at 9/2. As with those two races, there are potential winners from all parts of the market for this year’s renewal of this huge betting heat so many punters will have more than one string to their bow.
If you’re going to hang your hat on just one horse, our best advice is to make it an each way shot that will give you a good run for your money. At the start of the week, Chichester would have ticked the right boxes. Keith Dalgleish’s four year old has been backed off the boards following his win at Ayr last week though and is into 10/1 in places after opening at a chunky 66/1.
One who is still available at a big price which he could well outrun is Good Birthday. He won off just two pounds less than his current mark of 93 at Doncaster two races ago. He found that mark coupled with a trip of 1m2½f too onerous last time out but the drop-down to 1m1f should help. Then there’s his tendency to race prominently which is sometimes an issue but could be a real strength as horses drawn low who get to the front early have a good recent record in the Cambridgeshire. All in all, Good Birthday is a very tempting 40/1 shot in a race that regularly produces shock winners.