They don’t come any tougher than Saturday’s 35-runner Betfred Cambridgeshire, the historic nine furlong Newmarket handicap which is the centre piece of a heady day’s racing on the Rowley Mile.
Friday was a nice aperitif for the feature day, throwing up French filly Spain Burg under Frankie Dettori in the Rockfel Stakes, with the Group 2 winner put in at 16/1 for the 1,000 Guineas next year.
Saturday’s brace of Group 1’s raise the bar even higher, with the Cheveley Park and Middle Park both likely to take a bit of solving, but it’s in the Cambridgeshire (4.10pm, live on Channel 4) that punters’ grey matter will really be needed.
The winners of the last four renewals are all back for another taste, with Richard Fahey’s Third Time Lucky bidding to become to first horse since Prince De Galles in 1970 to win back-to-back renewals.
Trained at Musley Bank in North Yorkshire by Fahey, Third Time Lucky would be a third winning favourite in 10 years if he could oblige, but at much bigger odds it might be a fellow traveller from Yorkshire who sees his name up in lights…
David O’Meara’s Treasury Notes has had a profitable campaign, netting no less than four wins, with three at Ripon joined by one at Haydock Park.
He’s effective on a range of ground and has thrived in double figure fields.
His draw in stall 15 gives rider Danny Tudhope plenty of options, and a racing weight of 9 stone and a pound doesn’t look too daunting, indeed three winners since 2008 have carried that weight or more.
Also drawn in the middle (18), the other one I like is the Stuart Williams-trained Examiner.
Quick ground has to be a little bit of a question mark, but if he handles the surface then last year’s third has to have a serious chance of once again playing a starring role.
An effective partnership with Oisin Murphy has seen him second here at Newmarket and in the winner’s enclosure at Epsom on Derby weekend so far this campaign, since when he’s been saved for a tilt at this race.
Examiner is eight pounds higher than when placed in this race 12 months ago, but he does appear to have improved, while it’s also fair to mention that his stall, number 18, produced Friday evening’s Silver Cambridgeshire hero, Mishqaal.
Both horse represent some each way value in fiendishly difficult event.
Shop around for bookmakers offering five and perhaps even six places.
Switching codes there’s good sport to be had at Market Raspberry, where’s the Peter Bowen-trained Forever My Friend must have a solid chance of repeating last year’s win in the 2m 5f handicap chase (3.45pm).
Unbeaten in two runs at this venue, the son of King’s Theatre is now six pounds lower in the handicap than when winning this race 12 months ago, despite showing some okay form inbetween.
He’s up against a beatable looking bunch and hails from a stable who had a good win at Uttoxeter on Sunday.
Saturday’s best bets:
3.45 Market Rasen – 188Bet Handicap Chase – 4 Forever My Friend (each way) @ 11/2 with bet365
4.10 Newmarket – Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap – 12 Treasury Notes (each way) @ 16/1 with Betfred
4.10 Newmarket – Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap – 20 Examiner (each way) @ 20/1 with Bet Victor