Cambridgeshire betting preview: A runner-by-runner guide to Saturday’s feature

Timeform's boffins break down one of the most competitive handicaps of the season where Paddy is paying the first 5 each-way. You'll need it.

1. GM Hopkins (John Gosden) Won the consolation for this race in 2014. Also won listed race at Ascot this April and was respectable fourth in similar event at Newbury last time, unsuited by way race developed. Strong pace could suit him better and not beaten far when sixth-place in this last year.

2. Educate (Ismail Mohammed) Won this race in 2013 and back to that form this season, winning John Smith’s Cup at York in July. Off six weeks and not at best when eight and a quarter lengths fifth to Scottish in Strensall Stakes there last time and probably faces a tough task from this BHA mark of 112.

3. Master The World (David Elsworth) No win since June 2015 but was second in this race 12 months ago and filled same position in Betfred Mile at Goodwood in July. Only ninth of 12 to Baydar in 1¼m handicap at Sandown last time, though didn’t get the race run to suit his late-coming style. Could surprise.

4. Bronze Angel (Marcus Tregoning) Dual winner of this race (2012 and 2014) who looked rusty on return from six months off when 12 lengths eighth in Earl of Sefton Stakes over C&D last time. Similar absence to overcome here and did fail to fire from a 2 lb higher mark in last year’s renewal.

5. First Sitting (Chris Wall) Won handicaps at Windsor (by five lengths) in June and on July Course here in August, before respectable length second to Arthenus in listed race at Saint-Cloud, staying on well. Handles most ground and may still have more improvement to come, so respected.

Photo finish at the Curragh

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6. Oasis Fantasy (Ed Dunlop) Regular in staying handicaps in recent years and recorded first win since 2014 at Newmarket (by one and a half lengths from Paddys Motorbike) in May. Below form when 15 lengths fourth of five to Mount Logan in minor event at Doncaster last time in first-time visor (replacing blinkers). Type to bounce back from that but lacked finishing speed over a mile and a quarter at Sandown in August and dropping back another furlong is a concern.

7. Carry On Deryck (Saeed bin Suroor) Left David Evans after good fourth in last season’s Britannia at Royal Ascot and won first start for current connections at Meydan (by a half-length from Udododontu) in February. Shaped well when three and three-quarter lengths sixth of 19 to Franklin D in Betfred Mile at Goodwood last time, having been poorly drawn and doing too much too soon. Should stay nine furlongs and isn’t one to write off.

8. Chil The Kite (Hughie Morrison) Standing dish in big handicaps at seven furlongs and a mile in recent years (though does stay up to a mile and a quarter) and is now 2 lb below his last winning mark, which came at York in August last season. Yet to really get going during light campaign this season, however, and something to prove.

9. Spark Plug (Brian Meehan) Losing run stretches back to early-2015 but has posted a couple of good efforts this season, including when one and three quarter lengths fourth of 20 to Firmament at York last time, suited by strong pace despite hanging left when keeping on well. Not completely straightforward and worth a try in more severe headgear.

10. Celestial Path (Sir Mark Prescott ) Tall, lengthy colt who was fifth in 2000 Guineas on this track in 2015. At least as good when second in 1m handicap at York (neck behind Home Cummins) in July but below form both starts since, including in first-time visor in Strensall Stakes at York on latest.

11. Bravo Zolo (Jeremy Noseda) Won over 9.5f at Wolverhampton in February and improved again when neck second of 22 to Secret Brief in Lincoln at Doncaster in April, best of those ridden prominently. Lengthy absence to defy but still quite lightly raced and new yard could yet get more out of him.

12. Treasury Notes (David O’Meara) In-form runner from the O’Meara yard, having won four 1m handicaps this year, including at Haydock and Ripon (short head from Knight Owl) on last two starts. Stays 1¼m and 9f could prove ideal, so could easily outrun current odds around 25/1.

13. Stipulate (Brian Ellison) Joined a yard renowned for turning horses around and shaped well (after reported wind operation) when fourth at Galway (three and a half lengths behind Creggs Pipes) on just second start for current connections in July. Again shaped better than the bare result when five lengths sixth of 11 to Wall of Fire in Mallard Stakes at Doncaster last time, travelling very well but finding stamina test too much. Return to this sort of trip in his favour and could be on a handy mark.

14. Third Time Lucky (Richard Fahey) Won five times in 2015, including this race (by short head from Master The World) off a 5 lb lower mark. Better than distance beaten suggests when one and three-quarter lengths fifth to Firmament at York last time, travelling well when short of room, and bold defence expected.

15. Lat Hawill (Keith Dalgeish) Left Marco Botti after finishing down the field in the Lincoln in April and back to best when finishing second at Haydock (three-quarters of a length behind Treasury Notes) in August for this yard. Not disgraced when five and a half lengths seventh of 14 to Afjaan at Kempton last time (not clear run) and does stay this far, but needs more from this mark (yet to win a handicap).

16. Azraff (Marco Botti) Won at Newbury (by one and a quarter lengths from Gabrial’s Kaka) in May and posted good fourth in Royal Hunt Cup after that. Below form in three starts since, though, including when five and a quarter lengths ninth of 20 to Firmament at York last time in re-fitted blinkers, plugging on despite race being run to suit.

17. Zhui Feng (Amanda Perrett) Seemed to relish the emphasis on speed when winning four-runner handicap at Goodwood (by nose from New Caledonia) in August, and below that form last time with five lengths sixth of 18 to Baydar in handicap at Newbury (raced close to strong pace). Dropping back one furlong should suit, however, and not without a chance.

18. Ode To Evening (Mark Johnston) Has been busy this season and no surprise to see him turn in the odd bad run (including last time at Doncaster). Prior to that had won at Newmarket (by a half-length from Autocratic) and posted career-best second at Goodwood (head behind You’re Hired) in July. Type to bounce back but more needed again from this mark.

19. Dark Red (Ed Dunlop) Ran up a hat-trick at the beginning of the season at Chelmsford in March, Epsom in April and Chester (by neck from Felix de Vega) in May, but bettered those efforts when finishing second to Scarlet Dragon at York in August. Easily excused poor run at the Curragh last time (held up in a race which suited prominent racers) and could return to form here.

20. Examiner (Stuart Williams) Career best when second over C&D in April and won 12-runner event at Epsom last time by half a length from Instant Attraction. Possibly helped by the way the race developed for that success but third in this race in 2015 and another bold bid anticipated.

21. Bancnuanaheireann (Michael Appleby) Better horse on all-weather and signed off 2015 with two wins at Chelmsford. Disappointed in Dubai over the winter but better effort when fourth at Ascot in August. Went backwards from that last time, however, and looks up against it for all he is well treated from this sort of mark based on his all-weather form.

22. Erik The Red (Kevin Ryan) Completed hat-trick last year in maiden at Thirsk and handicaps at Beverley and Chester but yet to win this season so far, despite some creditable efforts, including third at York last time where he fared best of those held up. Well-run race should suit him here and he is a contender.

23. Secret Art (William Knight) Better than ever when winning at Sandown (by one and a half lengths from Donncha) in July but well below form last time and more to prove than some here.

24. Balmoral Castle (Jonathan Portman) Hiked 10 lb in the weights for five-length apprentice handicap win at Ascot (from Dutch Law) in April and seemingly found his current mark too stiff in two starts since.

25. Gabrial’s Kaka (Richard Fahey) Turned over a new leaf this year in terms of consistency, splitting wins at Chelmsford in April and Ayr (by head from Express Himself) in June with three good second-place efforts. Seemingly in a lull for now, however and needs to put two below-par runs at Goodwood and Chester behind him.

26. Dolphin Vista (Richard Fahey) Resumed early season progress at Beverley last time gamely by head from Mainstream, seeing out a mile and a quarter really well. Will continue to give good account and cannot rule out more progress given profile/yard.

27. Banksea (Luca Cumani) Three-year-old who won at Pontefract in June and was also runner-up four times this year, including last twice. More improvement when beaten three quarters of a length by Can’t Change It at Doncaster latest and return to 9f no issue. Good run expected.

28. Very Talented (Saeed bin Suroor) Finished second in heavy ground Craven Stakes in April and not seen until early-September in handicap at Ascot. Shaped well that day (one and a half lengths third of 9 to Aclaim) and remains capable of better.

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29. Knight Owl (James Fanshawe) Won at Newmarket (by half a length from Examiner) in April. Off 10 weeks, but career-best effort when short-head second to Treasury Notes at Ripon last time, having to pick way through 2f out and collared on the post. Yard in form and not one to dismiss lightly.

30. Goodwood Mirage (Michael Bell) Ended three-year losing run at Sandown (by head from Paling) in July and good second at that track again in August. Ran too bad to be true at Newbury last time and capable of better than that.

31. American Artist (Roger Varian) Three-time winner last season but yet to add to tally this season in four starts, though left the impression that he would come on for his fifth of 10 to Sacred Act at Sandown last time following a three-month break. Still fairly lightly raced and could do better.

32. Interconnection (Ed Vaughan) Better than ever when winning here (by three quarters of a length from Gold Prince) in May and ran well after four months off at Epsom last time (third). Five-year-old with a gradually progressive profile throughout his career and though has proven temperamental in the past he has done little wrong this season.

33. Ginger Jack (Garry Moss) Made it three wins from six starts this season when winning eight-runner handicap at Musselburgh last time by neck from Argaki, leading in the dying strides. Arrives here at the top of his game despite his advancing years and should run his race (consistent and boasts a good attitude to boot).

34. Bastille Day (David Elsworth) Good record on polytrack but proved himself at least as effective on turf when winning at Epsom (by neck from The Salmon Man), completing a hat-trick after two previous wins at Kempton. Below that form in three starts since, however, and produced a lack-lustre display returned to Kempton last time.

35. Raising Sand (Jamie Osborne) Lightly raced four-year-old who made a good start for Jamie Osborne when winning handicap at Ffos Las (by length from Air of York) in July. Creditable three-quarter-length second of four to Laidback Romeo in handicap at Windsor last time, and could have more to offer given that was just his third handicap start.

Timeform Cambridgeshire Handicap 1-2-3-4-5:
1. Third Time Lucky
2. Banksea
3. Very Talented
4. Examiner
5. Treasury Notes

Timeform Verdict:
Richard Fahey has few peers when it comes to successfully targeting big handicaps and THIRD TIME LUCKY can provide further evidence of his trainer’s prowess by repeating his 2015 victory in this race. Indeed, his latest effort at York suggested that he’s peaking at just the right time. The three-year-olds Banksea and Very Talented look dangerous, while Examiner and Treasury Notes are live each-way players with Paddy paying the first five home.

What do you think?