The Middle Park, Royal Lodge and Cheveley Park Stakes all look fascinating races in their own right on Saturday, but if you are a real form, trends and analyst nutter, akin to having a rabid sixth sense for the betting game, then the Cambridgeshire Handicap at 15.40 will be your first port of call.
I was lucky enough, actually lets rephrase that, a miracle happened when I backed Spanish Don to land this most manic of cavalry charges at 100/1 way back in 2004, so this is a race I love to target and value is hugely important to me.
Since Pasternak landed a monster gamble for Sir Mark Prescott in 1997, only three other market leaders have managed to secure the gold medal so you can be rest assured I won’t be tipping the favourite.
As you will know by now, value, as subjective as it is, is my bag, so double-figures is a minimum requirement.
Of the market leaders, Fifth Position is the one I like most, but his recent support came about due to the weather forecast and the prospect of plenty of give in the ground, something that connections of Good Birthday would also welcome.
However, the is rain forecast to be hit and miss from Friday morning and the most likely going description is ‘good’.
So let’s start off with a big-priced outsider that I think will be well suited by the out-and-out gallop over this rarely used intermediate 9f trip.
Third in the Lincoln Handicap behind Petrus, AL JELLABY @ 50/1 has been far from disgraced in six starts since with his best run coming when second of 10 to the progressive Kasbaan at Kempton Park last time out.
Four times in his career the Clive Cox trained gelding and been tried over a 1m 2f and each time he has been bang there until weakening at the distance. So this 9F could be right up his street and as he showed at Town Moor a big field is no problem for him.
With the promising William Cox taking 3lbs off his back, he can now race off a mark some 5lbs lower than at Doncaster.
That 50/1 looks pretty tasty to me.
I am also rather sweet on our second selection, MAJESTIC DAWN @ 14/1. Unlike Al Jellaby, 1m 2f to 1m 4f has been his domain this season in the very best handicaps.
Quite a free-running sort, the son of Dawn Approach tends to race prominently as a result of that run style. However, I was alerted to his qualifications for this big prize when for the first time in his career he stumbled exiting the stalls and as a result Danny Tudhope had to ride a waiting race on him in the London Gold Cup at Newbury.
The other negative that day was that he had to come down the outside the pack in the home stretch and arguably saw way too much daylight. Despite those setbacks, a sixth lengths seventh behind the classy Headman was a fair performance and he has since put up a career best over 10f at the July meeting course behind Walkinthesand.
He requires little getting ready being a clean-winded horse, so his absence is not an issue.
Although I wanted a slightly bigger price, I am happy to go to war with Majestic Dawn also at the odds.
Earthlight, Mum’s Tipple and Siskin have been all the talk for what looks a cracking renewal of the 6f Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, but the always well regarded LOPE Y FERNANDEZ looks huge value to my eyes.
He was the talk of the town before being smashed up by Pinatubo in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot yet everyone tends to forget that he was only beaten a mere three and a quarter lengths that day by the mighty Godolphin juvenile – and we all know his story since.
He renewed his acquaintance with that horse at Goodwood but a slow start meant he was always on the back foot. A drop to 6f followed in the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh which produced a career best and he has been underestimated.
My other interesting wager of the weekend is at Chelmsford where AL REEH, not quite been getting home forcing the pace over a mile, drops back to 7f for the first time in nine outings in the 5.20.
With the promising Stefano Cherchi taking a 7lbs wad off his back, he is set to run off his lowest-ever handicap mark of 65. Anything around the 10/1 marker is well worth taking each-way.
*Prices correct at time of publishing