Roger Charlton is aiming to land his third Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket and lightly-raced CRY FURY (3.50) looks the pick of his two-pronged attack in the Betfred-sponsored 35-runner cavalry charge.
Charlton saddled Cap Juluca (1995) and Blue Monday (2005) to land notable gambles in the first leg of the autumn double, and Cry Fury has been the subject of solid support in recent weeks. The three-year-old easily landed a Goodwood handicap last month before finding the Doncaster mile on the sharp side at their St Leger fixture. Cry Fury will relish this sterner stamina test and Richard Hughes is a top booking. Stablemate Proponent is a useful second string to Charlton’s bow, having finished ninth last year on unsuitably soft ground. Much quicker condititons are prevailing at HQ this week and Proponent ran a cracker when runner-up to Boom And Bust in the Totesport Mile at Glorious Goodwood.
At shorter odds, ANATOLIAN (5.35) can successfully compete his hat-trick bid after wins at Newbury and Windsor. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni could hardly have his string in better nick and Anatolian is a handicapper going places.
SWIFT ALHAARTH (4.10) did us a turn at Doncaster, landing a sustained punt by bravely keeping Luca Cumani’s Midnight Oil at bay through the final furlong. Mark Johnston’s tough three-year-old can follow up at Chester, a track he has won over in the past.
MEZYAAD (5.55) hasn’t been spotted since early spring when, despite winning on firm ground at Leicester on his racecourse debut, didn’t look entirely happy. Presumably trainer Roger Varian has been waiting patiently for easier underfoot conditions to prevail before launching an autumn campaign and Mezyaad certainly appears open to more improvement.
There should be some cut in the ground at Haydock which will suit WAFFLE (3.20). The top weight ran right up to his best in last weekend’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, finishing on the heels of the principals, and Waffle has the speed to cope with this drop to the mimimum distance.
Three-year-olds could dominate in the 1m 6f handicap and last week’s Ayr scorer LEXINGTON BAY (3.55) remains nicely treated at the foot of the handicap. Richard Fahey’s gelding is closely matched with Sir Mark Prescott’s course winner Motivado, having beat that rival at Musselburgh in June in receipt of 10lb. Although Motivado took his revenge at Haydock earlier this month, the track was riding fast that day and softer ground tilts the scales back in Lexington Bay’s favour, especially with Neil Farley taking off 5lb.
My top tip at Ripon is REPEATER (3.15). The Prescott two-year-old was bet as if defeat was out of the question at Catterick last Saturday but blew his chance with a slow start. After then meeting trouble on the bend, he fairly flew home and his backers were left cursing their luck. Although Repeater doesn’t appear entirely straight-forward, Ripon’s long straight should give Seb Sanders plenty of time to get the top weight organised.