Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on the Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap day at Newmarket on Saturday. View selections below.
THIRD TIME LUCKY (4.10) is expected to make a bold bid to repeat last year’s last-gasp success in the Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap.
There is no hiding place in Newmarket’s fiercely-run, nine-furlong cavalry charge and Third Time Lucky displayed all his battling qualities to touch off Master the World 12 months ago. The runner-up and third horse Examiner reoppose but Richard Fahey has campaigned his four-year-old sparingly with this race in mind and this will be Third Time Lucky’s fourth start.
Fahey has been rattling in plenty of winners this month and Third Time Lucky warmed up for this defence by running fifth to in-form Firmament at York. He is 5lb higher than 12 months ago but effectively races off the same mark with star apprentice Adam McNamara claiming 5lb.
Following the defection of John Gosden’s Sacred Act in midweek, Third Time Lucky was installed 8-1 ante-post favourite as punters pinned their hopes on him becoming the first back-to-back winner since Prince de Galles completed the double in 1970.
Banksea will attempt to roll back the years for Luca Cumani and provide the Newmarket trainer with his third Cambridgeshire victory. Banksea has the profile of an improving three-year-old and his strong form over 1m2f will stand him in good stead when stamina kicks in coming out of the dip.
The colt has finished runner-up in his last two outings over a mile, behind Can’t Change It at Doncaster and Arcanada at York, and wasn’t beaten far in fifth behind Ode To Evening over 10 furlongs at HQ when sent off favourite.
Cumani has suffered a drought in the first leg of the autumn double since Century City and Dallas were successful in the eighties, but Banksea represents his best chance in recent times.
At bigger odds, Roger Varian’s American Artist is entitled to be sharper for his recent Sandown comeback run behind Sacred Act following a 102-day break.
There are some star juveniles on show, with DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (2.20) representing Aidan O’Brien in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile.
Surprisingly beaten on yielding ground at Leopardstown when sent off an odds-on favourite, General MacArthur had shown his liking for a slick surface when running out a five lengths victor on an earlier visit to the Dublin track.
Joseph O’Brien saddles Arcada with a live chance based on his third to Churchill at the Curragh last month.
Godolphin’s Gimcrack winner Blue Point is a warm order in the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs but the each-way call is MEHMAS (3.30).
Richard Hannon’s admirably consistent colt ran out of puff over seven furlongs when serving it up to Churchill in the National Stakes at the Curragh 13 days ago and he was conceding 3lb to Blue Point and Intelligence Cross when landing the Richmond Stakes under an inspired Frankie Dettori ride at Glorious Goodwood. They meet at levels here.
Fahey and McNamara team up again in the fillies’ nursery with CLEF (4.45) bidding to build on her excellent Newmarket record.
She dashed three lengths clear of High On Love at HQ in high summer and returned a fortnight later to run Simon Crisford’s Rodaini close, the pair pulling 12 lengths clear of the third, a previous Nottingham maiden winner. Rodaini then won a thrilling renewal of the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting to give the form a solid look.
VON BLUCHER (5.20) has been knocking on the door in two big handicaps lately, finishing third to Dutch Law and Firmament in a Class 2 Ascot contest three weeks ago. That run came on the back of a short head defeat at Newbury when he would have won in another stride.
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