The Cambridgeshire is a huge and very valuable handicap which always attracts a big field. It always has to compete with a couple of Group 1s for juveniles though and this year we also have the new Goffs Million from the Curragh to enjoy on the same day.
That we means we have plenty to enjoy and it’s another busy weekend of racing, with a nice variety to the action too. As ever, we’ve gone through the live ITV Racing contests in our Saturday Racing Tips and hopefully we can find enough winners to make it a cracking weekend all round!
1:35 Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford Stakes
Group 2, 1m
The Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford Stakes is a suitably classy way to kick off the live ITV Racing from the Curragh on Saturday. A select field of seven horses, each of whom has the potential to make a real splash later in their careers as they mature, will contest this Group 2 which has been dominated by Aidan O’Brien for the past 15 years.
Some of Ballydoyle’s very best juveniles such as Saxon Warrior and Luxembourg have won the Beresford Stakes and it’s no surprise to see that O’Brien has two towards the top of the betting once again. There’s not much between Adelaide River and Continuous based on the small amount of form we have to go on but preference goes to the latter. Continuous looked a horse who will be at his best when he’s set a strong pace so the competitive nature of this year’s Beresford should be right up the longer-priced horse’s street. Adelaide River has been popular in the market but at the odds we feel it is Continuous who offers much better value.
1:50 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
Group 2, 1m
The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes is a key trial for the following season’s Classics and Charlie Appleby is hoping that it will prove to be so once again. He saddles Flying Honours for Godolphin in the Group 2 on Saturday and a big performance en route to victory will see him cut in price for next year’s Derby.
It’s still very early days of course but it is abundantly clear there is a lot to like about Flying Honours’ performances thus far. He justified a very short price to win on his first attempt against Listed opposition and that form has since been franked. It is a good sign that Appleby and Godolphin have kept him in Europe to go for high level prizes and it would be a surprise were Flying Honours not to win here. At odds this short he may be one for the accas but even so, the value is there.
2:05 Old Boston Handicap
Class 2, 1m
The Old Boston Handicap is the first of a couple of competitive handicaps on Haydock’s Saturday card to be broadcast by ITV Racing. A decent field of 13 is primed to do battle over the 1m trip on ground which should ride just a little on the soft side of good.
Recent editions of the race have gone the way of younger horses with plenty of upside and Auditor fits the bill nicely. The three-year-old appears ahead of his mark last time out and showed that he has ample stamina for 1m. There shouldn’t’ be any issue with his preferred hold-up style of running so 8/1 looks a generous price and can be taken each way if you prefer.
2:25 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes
Group 1, 6f
This stage of the season is full of high-class races for juveniles, as evidenced by Saturday’s racing, and none of the contests we can enjoy are of a higher calibre than the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes. This Group 1 has gone the way of some remarkable fillies but it’s not always an easy race to predict. Only one of the last seven renewals has gone the way of the favourite so it may pay to look down the card this year, with Lezoo a tempting price of 7/1.
The mount of Frankie Dettori may not have shown the out and out class of some of her rivals on Saturday but she’s shown a very likeable attitude in her races to date. She’ll need that attitude given her draw in the middle of the pack but providing she doesn’t fall foul of any traffic problems in running she can take her form to a whole new level with a huge win and land us a very tidy payout too.
2:40 Lester Piggott First To Last Handicap
Class 2, 5f
It would be fitting for a race called the Lester Piggott First To Last Handicap for a horse to make a late burst from the rear to win it. We might not get anything quite that eye catching but don’t be surprised to see Ventura Flame come on strong to get himself involved at a huge price.
It has been a while since the Keith Dalgleish inmate got his head in front but, as ever with handicaps, that means his mark has steadily dropped. An official rating of 80 is low enough for Ventura Flame to be competitive and that’s before you take into consideration the 5lb that Kieran Schofield takes off. At 20/1 Ventura Flame is an outsider but not a no hoper.
3:00 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes
Group 1, 6f
The Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is for colts what the Cheveley Park Stakes is for fillies. This is a chance of some of the best bred and most impressive two-year-olds in racing to set their stall out both for champion juvenile status and for the following season’s Classics.
Unlike the Cheveley Park Stakes, horses towards the top of the betting market have dominated the Middle Park Stakes and it is tough to look past bookies’ favourite Marshman for this year’s renewal. His run in behind Noble Style in the Gimcrack Stakes at York is arguably the best piece of form on show and there is no shame in getting beaten by a horse of that undeniable class. That’s the sole blip on Marshman’s record and he should be able to get back to winning ways at odds of 9/4 that are more than fair.
3:20 Goffs Million
The inaugural edition of the Goffs Million is the main attraction at the Curragh on Saturday. Open only to Goffs Orby yearlings and with €1 million in prize money, this is the richest race for two-year-olds anywhere in Europe. You would expect a strong field to be assembled for a prize of this size and there is plenty of potential in the 19 runners we have to choose from. You would also expect Aidan O’Brien to be well represented and it could be that his charge Hiawatha is too good for the competition on the day.
Hiawatha looks the type to be more excited about for next season rather than this. He has a big frame which he is yet to grow into and he’s only going to get better the more he fills out. The quality of his debut run suggests that Hiawatha is good enough to be very competitive at a high level even before he reaches his physical peak though and 9/2 could well prove to be a generous price.
3:40 bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap
Class 2, 1m1f
After two top level races for juveniles at Newmarket comes one of the last remaining big handicaps of the Flat racing season. A field of 29 is six short of the maximum that can squeeze into the Rowley Mile but it’s certainly big enough to pose punters a serious challenge. That much is clear by the fact that the last two winners went in at 40/1 but who represents the best each way value for this year’s renewal?
Six-year-old Majestic Dawn is a horse who tends to find his best form at this time of year. He will have to do it the hard way here, not just because he tops the weights but also because he likes to get it done from out in front. The fact that Mohammed Tabti claims 7lb and that Majestic Dawn has been given a decent draw suggest that he might just be the one to be on. We certainly feel that he’s worth support at 33/1.