Totesport Cambridgeshire betting preview
The Cambridgeshire Handicap is the feature race on the final day of Newmarket’s three-day Cambridgeshire meeting. And although the list of entries has yet to be finalised, of the seventy-nine remaining following the confirmation stage, Nationalism is the early ante-post favourite. The John Gosden trained 3yo colt won by three lengths on his handicap debut at Goodwood at the start of September and connections are confident about his chances on Saturday, albeit under a penalty. In his four career starts, Nationalism has recorded two wins and race sponsors Totesport have him chalked him up at 4/1. Gosden is bidding to win the £160,000 prize for the third time in the last four years and must stand a great chance saddling the colt in this race over a mile-and-a-furlong.
Of the large field expected to go to post, Luca Cumani is hoping to enter the progressive Start Right. Under Kieren Fallon, the 3yo gelding won the Tatler Summer Season Stakes Handicap towards the back end of July. However, Kieren was unable to justify the horses favouritism at the Curragh last time out despite being sent off the 5/2 market leader. Instead, Start Right was well held in midfield before finishing strongly in the final furlong to take fourth, but given a clearer run in the Cambridgeshire he could be a major player. SkyBet are offering 10/1 and at the very least he must be worth an each-way squeak.
Ransom Note is an interesting runner for the Barry Hills yard after his victory in the Addleshaw Goddard Handicap at York in mid August. That race was over a mile and the extra furlong should be no problem with son Michael Hills expected to take the ride once more. The 3yo colt has predominantly raced and won over seven furlongs and a mile but is sure to be there or thereabouts come the final furlong marker. He is 12/1 (Betfred) to follow up his win last time and hand Barry Hills his second Cambridgeshire win two decades after Risen Moon’s 1990 Newmarket success.
Gerard Butler is another trainer gunning for Cambridgeshire Gold after scooping the first leg of the autumn double (Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch) in 2002 with Beauchamp Pilot. Elliptical represents Butler this year despite being collared by Forte Dei Marmi at Newbury recently. The American import will be glad Cumani will not saddle Forte Dei Marmi, who has beaten him on no fewer than three occasions, for the last big handicap of the year. Therefore Elliptical could now get his head in front and is sure to run well at 16/1 (Totesport).
Of the other potentially well fancied handicapped horses, Absinthe from the Walter Swinburn stable makes some appeal. The 4yo hat-trick seeking gelding is sure to be ridden by Adam Kirkby, however the horse did scope dirty after exercise in early September. Connections may not be overly concerned but it may be best to ebb on the side of caution before backing Absinthe at 12/1 (Bet365). Shrewd Irish trainer Tony Martin could saddle Pires (16/1 SkyBet), the 6yo will be one of the most experiences runners in the field but has done much of his racing over further distances. He may have had one chance to many to land a big handicap and is well exposed.
Proponent (20/1 Coral), Sarrsar (16/1 Bet365) and Capponi (14/1 Bet365) are other fearful contenders, the latter representing the in-form Mark Johnston. The 3yo colt has won four of his career starts, two of those on ground described as good to firm, and has had the beating of Ransom Note once before. The last two runnings of this race have thrown up 25/1 and 16/1 winners respectively and Capponi stands a real chance of going in at a large price.
A great race is sure to unfold on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile on Saturday, but who will take the first leg of the “Autumn Double”?
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By Mikey Mumford