Ante-Post: Cornrow a worthy Cambridgeshire favourite
Saturday’s Cambridgeshire is usually one of the most vicious, tricky-to-call handicaps around, but with the presence of Ralph Beckett’s Air Pilot it would likely have seen the others fight for place-money and nothing more. The 5-year-old son of Zamindar, who bolted up in a valuable handicap at Newbury last week, would have literally had a stone in hand under his penalty but he missed the cut by literally one horse and can’t take his place in the field as a result. He would have won IMO.
With him out, John Gosden’s Cornrow is the focus of my attentions and although it’s completely unoriginal as he’s at the front of the market, he may prove impossible to beat. The 4-year-old is extremely lightly-raced having only had five career outings and although not as attractively treated as the Ante-Post favourite, he has a few lbs in hand and the scope to find further improvement.
On his last outing, he finished third of 17 in a valuable handicap at Ascot, beaten just a neck at the line. That performance is worthy of upgrading as it came over 7f and based on previous outings, he was always likely to find the test on offer to be a bit sharp. It looked that way as he made the running, got headed around furlong from home and still stayed on strongly to the line when many others would have capitulated. After that, the extra couple of furlongs he’s getting on Saturday will help massively and he promises to thrive in a rapidly run race when accepting a lead, rather than making his own running as he has done the last twice. The track is an unknown but, overall, it shouldn’t cause much concern.
There are plenty of other interesting sorts in opposition and Velox won’t be without his supporters at a double-figured price. Given his breeding, the test on offer could be right up his street and he showed earlier in the season when winning at Sandown that a furiously run affair doesn’t faze him one bit. Whether he has a whole pile in hand off 97, I’m not sure after his Doncaster run a couple of weeks ago and although Cam Hardie’s returning 5lb claim will help, the horse has a bit to prove for now. Last year’s winner Educate could take a step forward back in handicap company but he’s 6lbs higher now off a mark of 110 and is surely vulnerable to a few progressive types getting the better of him at the weights. I think that the biggest threat to all is, unoriginally, Cornrow and at 7/1 he’s given the nod. It wouldn’t be a surprise were he to go off at half that price on Saturday and, hopefully, go on to win.
Selection for the Cambridgeshire (3:50 Newmarket; Saturday, 27th September):
Cornrow – 7/1, available with a few firms.
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