Racing Preview: Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting – September 25th to 27th

Horse racing analyst Alan Kelly gives his views and betting tips ahead of Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting in this punters guide.

Horse racing analyst Alan Kelly gives his views and betting tips ahead of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting in this punters guide.

Thursday 25th September

Running Order

2.00pm The NGK Spark Plugs EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes
2.35pm The ebm-papst Nursery Stakes
3.10pm  Handicap
3.40pm  The Somerville Tattersall Stakes
4.15pm  The Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes
4.50pm  The Arkle Finance Handicap Stakes
5.25pm  The EBF Fillies Handicap Stakes

A quiet start to the three-day meeting at headquarters with only the one Group contest, that being the Somerville Tattersall Stakes ( Group 3 ) at 3.40. The seven furlong contest for two-year-olds was won by Miracle Of Medinah at 25-1 twelve  months ago beating the 11-4 favourite Cable Bay although neither horse has managed to find the winners enclosure since. The Listed Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes is run over two miles and is for three-year-old and upwards, usually competed for by stayers not quite up to winning at the highest level and won last year by the decent but exposed Caucus. The four handicaps on the card are sure to be well contested affairs while the opening maiden may produce something promising for the following season but 2013 winner Master The World has only managed to achieve a subsequent rating of 93.

Friday 26th September

Running Order

1.40pm  The NAYEF Rosemary Stakes
2.10pm  The Princess Royal EBF SAKHEE Stakes
2.40pm  The Shadwell Rockfel Stakes
3.15pm  The Shadwell Joel Stakes
3.50pm  The Derrinstown EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes
4.25pm The MAWATHEEQ Godolphin Stakes
5.00pm  The Shadwell Farms Silver Cambridgeshire Handicap Stakes
5.30pm  The Newmarket Challenge Whip

The Listed Princess Royal Stakes was run on the opening day last year when won by Sir Michael Stoute’s Astonishing from Songbird and Special Meaning while the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes was part of October’s  Champions card featuring the Group 1’s Dewhurst and Middle Park Stake’s. The two-year-old seven furlong fillies contest is a strong addition to Friday’s meeting as the 2013 race produced a classy renewal which went to Al Thakhira with 1000 Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder back in fourth place. The Silver Cambridgeshire at 5.00pm should provide plenty of clues regarding any draw advantage for Saturday’s big handicap but the other Group race of the day comes at 3.15pm with the Shadwell Joel Stakes ( Group 2 ). Soft Falling Rain was first past the post 12 months ago and this year’s contest is sure to be well supported by those not quite up to winning at Group 1 level.

Saturday 27th September

Running Order

2.00pm  The Jersey Lily EBF Fillies Nursery Handicap
2.35pm  The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
3.10pm  The Connollys RED MILLS Cheveley Park Stakes
3.50pm  The Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap Stakes
4.25pm  The Fillies Maiden
5.00pm  The Wanderin John Handicap Stakes
5.35pm  The Junction 17 Prestige Cars Handicap Stakes

The Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes provide the quality on Cambridgeshire day and should produce plenty of clues regarding next season’s Classics. The former was won by French challenger Vorda last year and while the filly failed in her 1000 Guineas bid both Natagora and Special Duty went on to complete the double during  the last 7 years. The 2013 Royal Lodge proved well below the normal standard as the winner Berkshire has finished unplaced in his only start in 2014 although runner-up Somewhat, while disappointing overall did manage third place in this year’s Coral-Eclipse. It is unlikely we will see anything remotely close to the calibre of 2010 winner Frankel on this occasion but the race did throw up two Classic winners in the 1990’s, namely Mister Baileys and Benny The Dip. Aidan O’Brien  is sure to be well represented in the Royal Lodge being responsible for 21 of the initial entry of 100. Other trainers strongly represented at this stage are Sir Michael Stoute, Richard Hannon, Mark Johnston and Charlie Appleby. Of the 50 entries for the fillies’ Group 1 contest the leading contenders could turn out to be Anthem Alexander, Cursory Glance and High Celebrity while Lowther Stakes winner Tiggy Wiggy is more likely to head to France and the Prix de L’Abbaye in which she will attempt to be the first two-year-old winner of the race since Sigy in 1978.

The Cambridgeshire Handicap

Established in 1839 ( the same year as the first Grand National ) the Cambridgeshire is open to three-year-olds or older and is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious handicaps. Apart from the 1940 running which took place at Nottingham the race has always been run at Newmarket and to date there have been six dual winners of the nine furlong contest, the latest being Rambo’s Hall in 1989 – 1992. Only two jockeys, both in the 19th century, have won the race four times – Nat Flatman and George Fordham while Jeremy Glover ( 1987 – 1996 ) joined William Day ( 1855 – 1881 ) as the only handlers to train the winner on four occasions. The best winner of the race in recent years was Halling in 1994 who won the race off a mark of 94 before going on to be a multiple Group 1 winner rated 120.

Preview of 2014 Renewal

Trainer John Gosden is not averse to aiming a potential Group horse at this valuable handicap as his three winners, Halling, Pipedreamer and Tazeez, will testify and in CORNROW ( 14-1 with several bookmakers including Ladbrokes and Coral ) he has a horse who could easily prove better than a handicapper in time and is confidently expected to go close under regular pilot William Buick in three weeks time for the reasons expressed in our recent ante-post article. The son of New Approach needs a few above him to defect in order to secure a run but should scrape in towards the bottom of the weights. At number 85 as things currently stand the same trainer’s Prince Of Stars ( 10-1 favourite with several firms ) needs a bit of a miracle to gain a run, a remark which applies to another couple of horses high in the ante-post market – Mange All and Basem. Last years winner Educate will have his supporters to become the seventh horse to win the race on two occasions but faces a difficult task off a 6lb higher mark and possible top weight with Ocean Tempest unlikely to be asked to carry the welter burdon of 10st 3lb. Mutakayyef, Extremity and Zarwan are three horses who could play a role in the finish but CORNROW should prove hard to beat providing he makes the final line-up.