Cambridgeshire Handicap Preview – Saturday 24th September
Last updated: September 23, 2016 by Leon Marshal
The Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday is the first leg of the Autumn Double which concludes with the Cesarewitch on 8th October.
Bronze Angel chases historic third victory
The race is over nine furlongs and is one of the most competitive handicap races of the season. Bronze Angel became the seventh horse to win the race twice when successful in 2014, two years after his first victory. No horse has won the Cambridgeshire three times so Bronze Angel will be trying to re-write the history books on Saturday. Baronet (1978 and 1980) and Rambo’s Hall (1989 and 1992) were also two-time winners in the modern era.
Despite the competitive nature of the race, three favourites have been successful in the last eleven years. Bookmakers have also enjoyed their fair share of successes, notably with 100-1 shot Spanish Don in 2004 and 40-1 Prince Of Johanne in 2011. Marcus Tregoning (Bronze Angel) and John Gosden (Pipedreamer 2007 and Tazeez 2008) have each trained the winner twice in the last nine years. Gosden was also successful in 1994 with Halling who turned out to be a Group 1 performer and a successful stallion.
Third Time Lucky Cambridgeshire favourite
The ante-post betting market for the race was turned upside down on the eve of the final declarations with the news that Sacred Act would miss the race. John Gosden’s five-year-old emerged as clear favourite after returning from a lengthy absence to win stylishly at Sandown.
The five-year-old gelding was having only his fifth start when sweeping through late to catch Shawaahid over a mile. He was due to carry an automatic 4lbs penalty in the Cambridgeshire but was found to be stiff behind at evening stables. Well-backed Irish raider Eddystone Rock is also an absentee, leaving Third Time Lucky favourite in the revised market.
Spark Plug and Third Time Lucky finished fourth and fifth respectively in a very competitive handicap at York last month. Spark Plug is trained by Brian Meehan and has not won since clipping heels and falling heavily at Ascot last June. His confidence has gradually been restored while Third Time Lucky is attempting to repeat last year’s victory.
Knight Owl weighted to reverse Ripon form
Richard Fahey’s four-year-old capped a fine season when beating Master The World by a short head last year. He was winning his fifth race of the campaign but struggled off a higher mark until showing signs of a return to his best form at York.
Master The World is 1lb better off with the winner and narrowly missed out on another major prize when beaten by the ill-fated Franklin D at Goodwood in July. He then chased home Zonderland in a Group 3 at Salisbury before finishing down the field in a handicap at Sandown. He has drawn stall 1 for the second successive season and is likely to be right up with the pace on the far side.
Treasury Notes got the better of Knight Owl by a short-head at Ripon last month and is now 4lbs worse off with James Fanshawe’s gelding. Knight Owl beat Examiner by half a length cover course and distance in April and is closely matched with that rival here.
Andrew Balding would dearly love to emulate his father by winning this race. He saddles the filly Perfect Angel who is a daughter of 2007 winner Dark Angel. She would have an each-way chance on her narrow victory over Promising at Goodwood in July but has since been well beaten in a Group 3 at Salisbury.
Examiner good each-way value in Cambridgeshire
Examiner beat Instant Attraction by half a length at Epsom in June but has not been seen since. That followed a good second at Newmarket in the Spring and he was third last year at odds of 50-1. He has only gone up 4lbs in the weights and races well when fresh.
Jeremy Noseda has booked Frankie Dettori to ride Bravo Zolo. He is also without a recent run but posted a career best in the Lincoln Handicap when beaten a quarter of a length by Secret Brief. Ryan Moore partners top weight Gm Hopkins while William Buick rides Carry On Deryck for Saeed bin Suroor. Both horses appear to have a difficult task from stalls 31 and 35 respectively with low numbers having come out on top last year.
Luca Cumani’s Banksea has proved expensive to follow, being beaten favourite in three of his last four races. He ran well at York and Doncaster but will need to improve again to win this off a mark of 99. First Sitting advertised his claims when beaten only a length by Arthenus in a Listed race in France earlier this month. Chris Wall’s gelding had previously won a ten furlong handicap at Newmarket and races off a 6lbs higher mark on Saturday.
Cambridgeshire Betting Tips
Both Examiner and Knight Owl have been given light campaigns since fighting out the finish over course and distance in April. They could represent each-way value in a typically wide open renewal.
Examiner @20-1 BetVictor
Knight Owl @20-1 Skybet
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4,5
The Cambridgeshire is due off at 4.10 on Saturday and will be televised live on Channel 4.