THERE ARE three superb two-year-old Group races over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course this weekend, but the historic 1m1f Cambridgeshire Handicap is one of the big betting races of the year.
Carrigill’s have reported strong interest in Andrew Balding’s NICE BIRTHDAY following this week’s rainy spell. The three-year-old likes to get his toe in and any more rain will enhance his chances over this unusual trip.
He did well to overcome a tardy start and trouble in running at Beverley last time out, showing a good turn of foot to get past Desert Icon in the closing stages.
There is an element of guesswork regarding just how testing the ground will get, but it’ll be surprising if there isn’t some form of ‘soft’ in the description given the volume of wet stuff predicted by the weatherman.
More juice will also prove welcome for battle-hardened handicapper BEDOUIN’S STORY at a succulent 16-1. Saeed bin Suroor’s charge has a formidable record on going described as ‘good to soft’ or worse and although he is yet to win over further than 7f, he has been seeing his races out strongly this year, finishing with a wet sail when an unlucky second in a good race over 1m at Chelmsford latest.
The four-year-old is by stamina-influence Farhh and out of Sadler’s Wells mare Time Crystal, herself a 1m4f winner from a family full of stayers, so there is no doubt in my mind that BEDOUIN’S STORY will cope with the step up to this unique nine-furlong trip.
Mark Johnston’s RAFFLE PRIZE has looked one of the best juveniles around and could be first out of the hat when she drops back to fillies only company in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes over 6 furlongs.
After winning the Queen Mary she was impressive when giving 3lb to Daayeh to land a second Group 2 at Newmarket in July, and only Andre Fabre’s colt EARTHLIGHT got past when she attempted to make all in the Prix Morny.
EARTHLIGHT is the favourite in what could be the best Middle Park Stakes for years and lines up against Richard Hannon’s unbeaten MUM’S TIPPLE. But the Herridge handler believes his other horse in the six-furlong contest, THREAT, has been “massively overlooked”.
MUM’S TIPPLE was hugely impressive in an 11-length demolition job in a sales race at York, but Hannon has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds THREAT – winner of the Gimcrack at York and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on his two most recent starts – and yet he is available at double-figure odds with Carrigill’s.
CITRON MAJOR can overcome a disappointing show in last week’s Ayr Silver Cup and go well for Nigel Tinkler at Ripon tomorrow (Saturday), a course where two visits have produced a win and a creditable third in the Great St Wilfrid.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): MUM’S TIPPLE, Saturday, Newmarket, 3.00.
Augur’s best bet: BEDOUIN’S STORY, Saturday, Newmarket, 2.40.