Sep 24 2016 @ 09:22
Well, another week done and dusted, but we’ve plenty to smile about at present as last week our Ayr Gold Cup fancy – BRANDO – did the business at a decent 11/1. This Kevin Ryan-trained sprinter caught the eye of the TQ team being dropped back into handicap company and despite having a lot of weight his class told and eventually beat the hot favourite, Growl, with a bit to spare – we hope you were on!
So, where is 2016 going? Yes, we are almost done with September now and then it will be full steam ahead to the National Hunt season proper! However, before that we’ve still got some decent cards at Newmarket with their Cambridgeshire fixture this Saturday, plus the Cesarewitch in a few weeks – not to mention ‘Champions Day’ at Ascot on the 15th October.
But this Saturday we’ve plenty going on again with the ultra-competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap – a race the John Gosden team took in 2007 and 2008 – they did have Sacred Act as the big ante-post favourite but that one is not entered now, but still have the previous course and distance winner – GM Hopkins running – do the stats favour him? (more on that below).
Staying at Newmarket the C4 cameras will also be taking in Group Ones – The Middle Park and Cheveley Park Stakes, plus the Group Two Royal Lodge – we’ve also got those top races covered.
As always we’ll have the super-competitive Cambridgeshire covered with all the key trends, plus our verdict on the race – did you know ALL of the last 14 winners were aged 6 or younger?
Cambridgeshire Handicap – We’ve It Down To Three!
4.10 – Betfred Cambridgeshire (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 1m1f CH4
14/14 – Aged 6 or younger
13/14 – Won 3 or more times in their career
11/14 – Had won over 1m2f before
11/14 – Aged between 4 and 6 years-old
11/14 – Carried 9-3 or less
10/14 – Won from a double-figure stall
10/14 – Finished 5th or better last time out
10/14 – Unplaced favourites
10/14 – Rated between 90-100
10/14 – Had 5 or more runs that season
9/14 – Returned a double (or treble) figure price in the betting
8/14 – Carried 8-12 or less
5/14 – Ran at Newbury last time out
3/14 – Winning favourites
2/14 – Trained by John Gosden
2/14 – Won their last race
The average winning SP in the last 13 years is 20.5/1
VERDICT: We end the LIVE C4 action this week with this super-tough handicap. It’s a race with plenty of trends though and by applying some of these to the 35-strong field then hopefully we can at least narrow down the runners to a more sizable amount. We’ve actually got the last four winners of the race all lining-up again with the victor 12 months ago, Third Time Lucky, the 2012 and 2014 winner, Bronze Angel, plus Educate, who landed the pot in 2013, all entered.
Based on the fact they are proven winners of the race they are all worthy of a mention and look to have some sort of a chance again. Starting with Bronze Angel – his two wins came off a break so his 160+ day absence from the track should not be a worry, while he’s clearly had this race as a target all season. His wins, however, came off ratings of 95 and 99 so his current mark of 107 would mean a career-best is needed, while with ALL of the last 14 winners aged 6 or younger then this 7 year-old falls down on that too. That said, he does look to have decent place claims. Educate is 8lbs higher than when he won in 2013, but jockey George Buckell helps offset some of that with his 5lb allowance – but he’s another that falls down on the big age trend, also being a 7 year-old.
Last year’s winner, Third Time Lucky beat another of the runners entered, Master The World, but a short-head 12 months ago, and races off 5lbs higher this time. On a plus, he’s only 4 years-old and ticks a lot of the other main trends – like recent form (5th last time out) and draw (13), so he’s certainly one for the shortlist.
The John Gosden team had the big ante-post fancy for the race in Sacred Act, but that horse doesn’t run now and their hopes are left with GM HOPKINS. The yard has a good record in the race, winning it in 2007 and 2008, while despite having to give weight away all-round this 5 year-old is the joint highest-rated in the field and a past course and distance winner. Draw 31 looks fine for him and he’s been running well in Listed company of late so this drop back into a handicap should be a lot easier for him. Jockey Ryan Moore is the final icing on the cake and was also a respectable sixth in the race 12 months ago – one for the shortlist as he really only falls down on the weight trend.
Looking at the other main trends we’ll see that horses aged 4-6 have the best recent record, while carrying 9-3 or less, being placed fifth or better last time out and coming from a double-figure stall are all things that a lot of winners have had on their side recently. With those in mind the ones that standout are – Brave Zero, Treasury Notes, Third Time Lucky, Examiner, Erik The Red, American Artist and Interconnection. However, with 10 of the last 14 winners having at least five runs already that season then of that bunch only TREASURY NOTES and ERIK THE RED tick that box with six runs each this term.
Treasury Notes heads here in cracking form too after wins at Haydock and Ripon, while despite a 4lb rise in the ratings has been winning my small margins so could be saving something form the handicapper. This 4 year-old, from the David O’Meara yard, is drawn in 15 so that gives him options, while he’s won a variety of ground ranging from good-to-firm to good-to-soft. Erik The Red was a fair third last time out at York and was actually well-backed near the off that day. This 4 year-old, from the Kevin Ryan team, has been handed the 23 draw and looks weighted to go well after running some solid races in similar contests of late. Both look to have a lot in their favour and so with 35 runners we’ll be playing these two, along with the John Gosden-trained top-weight GM Hopkins.
Newmarket – Best Of Rest……………………………
2.20 – Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 1m CH4
14/14 – Had won one or two races before
13/14 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
13/14 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
13/14 – Had won over 7f or further before
13/14 – Had 2 or more previous career runs
11/14 – Either US or Irish bred
11/14 – Had run within the last month
10/14 – Foaled in Feb or March
9/14 – Had only won over 7f before
8/14 – Won last time out
5/14 – Winning favourites
3/14 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
3/14 – Trained by John Gosden
Note: From 2010 back the race was run at Ascot, except in 2005 (Newmarket)
VERDICT: The powerful Aidan O’Brien camp took this in 2006, 2009 and 2011 so their two runners – The Anvil and Douglas Macarthur – are sure to be popular. The yard had a whole host of horses entered to run so the fact they’ve picked these two could be significant. Of the pair, Douglas Macarthur probably edges it despite heading here with a bit to prove. He was turned over at odds-on last time out at Leopardsotwn in a Group Three, but the fact he went off well-fancied that day suggests connections feel he’s better than that showing and if you can forgive him that effort is certainly one for the shortlist.
Son, Joseph O’Brien, will be trying to spoil the party though as now a trainer the former top jockey runs Arcada. He was only beaten 2 ¾ lengths in a decent Group Two in Ireland last time on soft ground and the return to a sounder surface looks a big plus. Brother, Donnacha, rides this well-bred 2014 March-born juvenile and with plenty of the main stats on his side looks an interesting runner. The ultra-consistent Montataire is another to consider after winning four of his 7 races so far. This tough 2 year-old from the Mark Johnston team was an impressive 5 length winner last time in a Listed race at Salisbury on his first try over a mile. He does, however, step up significantly in grade here and runs in Group company for the first time so will need a bit more and despite having the experience edge over most of the field might just be a tad exposed now and vulnerable to something with less miles on the clock.
Kings Gift has done little wrong winning his last two, but this is another horse making a big rise up in grade. The boys in blue of Godolphin looks to have a strong hand though with Bay of Poets and BEST OF DAYS, with the last-named looking their best chance. This 2014 March-born colt was an easy 6 length winner on debut at Sandown and then only just touched-off at York last time in the Group Three Acomb Stakes. He ticks a lot of the main trends and just seemed to get a bit outpaced last time, which is why this well-bred 2 year-old should also improve for the step up to a mile. He’s got plenty of stamina in his breeding and with just two career runs there should be a lot more to come.
2.55 – Connolly´s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies) Cl1 6f CH4
14/14 – Finished in the top two last time out
14/14 – Had won over 6f before
13/14 – Foaled in Feb or March
13/14 – Had run within the last 6 weeks
13/14 – Had not run at Newmarket (Rowley) before
12/14 – Returned 11/2 or shorter in the betting
11/14 – Had 3 or more previous runs
11/14 – Went onto run in the 1,000 Guineas the following season (2 won it)
10/14 – Won last time out
10/14 – Placed favourites
8/14 – Winning distance – ½ length or less
7/14 – Had won exactly 2 previous races
7/14 – Horses from stall 6 that finished in the top 3
6/14 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
4/14 – Winners drawn in stall 6
2/14 – Went onto win the 1,000 Guineas the following season
2/14 – Trained by the Hannon yard
VERDICT: Only the six runners here but a fascinating contest that centres around the US speedball Lady Aurelia. Frankie Dettori has been overseeing this Wesley Ward-trained filly during her stay in the UK and has said he’s been riding her out every day. After her eye-catching Royal Ascot romp in the Queen Mary she went into many a notebook and followed-up that last month with a win over 6f in France. Everything points to another big run as we can expect her to try and blast out and run the finish out of her rivals – but will she just be setting the race up for one of the others?
In terms of the trends she actually falls down on being a 2014 January-born filly as 13 of the last 14 winners were foaled in either February or March. Yes, she’s also a winner over this 6f trip, but with her blistering pace you feel that the minimum distance is her best and with Queen Kindly and Roly Poly in the race the opposition here will be the strongest she’s faced. Frankel filly, Queen Kindly, won the Lowther Stakes last time at York, beating Roly Poly ¾ of a length and the odds-on favourite Fair Eva. She’s a big player on that form and is already well-touted for next season’s 1,000 Guineas based on that. However, she’s another that is born in January so if you stick solely by the trends then everything points to ROLY POLY.
As we said, there was only ¾ of a length between her and Queen Kindly last time but this 2 year-old can get hopefully reverse that form this time. Staying with the stats it’s also interesting that horses from stall 6 have done well too – 50% of the last 14 have been placed with 4 winning – Roly Poly is drawn in 6! Yes, she was also beaten 14 lengths by Lady Aurelia in the Queen Mary, but the soft ground went against her that day and is clearly better suited by longer now. Yes, Queen Kindly and Lady Aurelia look the ones to beat – after all, they’ve both beaten Roly Poly in the past, but the trends give the O’Brien horse a big say and there looks to be better value in her price too.
3.30 – Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) (Entire Colts) Cl1 6f CH4
13/13 – Won over 6f previously
12/13 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
12/13 – Won their last race
11/13 – Returned 8/1 or shorter
11/13 – Had run 3 or more times previously
11/13 – Won at least twice previously
10/13 – Never raced at Newmarket (Rowley) previously
9/13 – Won a Group 1 or 2 race previously
9/13 – Foaled in either Feb or March
8/13 – Favourites placed
5/13 – Ran at Deauville last time out
4/13 – Favourites that won
3/13 – Won by an Irish-based stable
2/13 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
1/13 – Winners that came from stall 1
Aidan O’Brien won the race in – 2000, 2001, 2004 & 2011
VERDICT: Not much depth in this year’s renewal and it will be a shock if the prize isn’t going to one of three in the race – Blue Point, Intelligence Cross or Mehmas. Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2011, saddles Intelligence Cross and looks to have a big say. This 2014 February-born foal was an impressive 4 length winner at the Curragh last time out over this trip and if building on that looks sure to be involved. However, he’s tried Group Two company twice before and failed each time, plus has finished behind Mehmas twice already this season.
Based on that you’d feel that the Richard Hannon-trained Mehmas should has his measure again and can be forgiven his recent second in Ireland with that race coming over 7f. The drop back in trip is a big plus and his neck beating of Blue Point in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood also sees him closely-matched with that Godolphin runner. But, BLUE POINT only went down a neck that day and has since got back to winning ways with a smooth 3 length victory at York in the Gimcrack. Yes, Mehmas was also giving him 3lbs when they met at Goodwood, but you feel that the Godolphin runner has improved bundles since and with just four career runs, as opposed to Mehmas (6) and Intelligence Cross (5), he looks less exposed and more likely to improve further.
Of those at a bigger price the William Haggas camp can do little wrong at the moment, and despite having plenty to find with Blue Point based on the Gimcrack run their Mubtasim has since come out and won a valuable sales race so can’t be discounted lightly. While the consistent The Last Lion hasn’t done much wrong all season and is yet to finish out of the first three from six races, so is certainly one to look at if you are interested in a bit more value.