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Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2)
Cambridgeshire Handicap tips for Saturday’s feature handicap race. Always a fiercely competitive contest over the in-between trip of nine furlongs. A handicap that has given nightmares to bookies some years (Pasternak in 1997) but also to punters (Spanish Don won at 100/1 in 2004.) One of the strongest betting heats of the season, it is always a puzzle relished by the betting public. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: SECRET ACT has had the ground come in his favour and from a winnable mark, he is massively overpriced. Another who is a monster price is Battle Of Marathon who is thrown in on his soft ground best, showing more last time when behind You’re Fired. Leader Writer has had this as the plan of action for some time, the recent rain is in his favour while Central Square may do better now back in a handicap.
1 CARRY ON DERYCK – Runner-up in this contest last season from a five pound lower mark, he has shown smart placed form since. He has a win on soft so the ground will be no concern but he is a little high in the weights to be considered a win prospect.
2 MASTER THE WORLD – Well campaigned to land a big handicap over a mile at Glorious Goodwood. The soft ground will suit but having finished runner-up in this race in 2015, he beat just one home off this mark last year.
3 GM HOPKINS – A regular in these big handicaps down the years, he was sixth in this in 2015. Soft ground is no issue for him and he has been competitive from similar marks in the past, but he looks vulnerable on this occasion.
4 YOU’RE FIRED – Not seen for more than four months after a solid run in the Lincoln before re-appearing at the same track last time. He is suited by cut in the ground, with this furlong step up sure to suit the way he runs on over a mile, solid each way option.
5 CENTRAL SQUARE – Sound run in the John Smith’s Cup in July, he has shown up well at a higher level since. He is still relatively unexposed so may do better now back in the handicap ranks, could make the frame.
6 LINGUISTIC – Consistent level of form shown at Listed level, he sports first time cheekpieces here on his first run since April. Yet to take on a field anywhere close to as big as this which is a slight concern despite his unexposed profile.
7 EDDYSTONE ROCK – Strong form at a deep level over a mile and a quarter this season. Has ground to find with Brorocco from last time out and isn’t easy to support from a mark this high.
8 BIG COUNTRY – Runner-up in the John Smith’s Cup at York, that is a very smart form line at this level. The best of his form has all been over further so this test might be insufficient unless they go hard but unexposed and capable of playing a hand if quick enough.
9 THA’IR – Just a single start since January 2016 when last at Glorious Goodwood. Stacks to prove on the back of that with two years since he showed form good enough to get anywhere close.
10 SIR CHAUVELIN – Much improved since the visor went on, he was beaten just over two lengths in the Northumberland Plate. All his best form has been over much further, impossible to support at this trip.
11 QASSEM – Two excellent runs over a mile in August, showing the benefits of a gelding operation. Still lightly raced enough to expect better to come, but he didn’t look desperate for this step up in trip at York last time out.
12 VERY TALENTED – Hasn’t been seen in competitive action since third in this contest last season from a pound lower mark. That would give him a huge each way chance if he is ready to go first time back, but against race fit rivals, that is a big if.
13 CHELSEA LAD – Not quite fulfilled his potential yet, has long looked as if he were capable of taking higher order than this. Sent off favourite the last five times he has run, he may yet do better but he needs to improve on what he has done in 2017.
14 WEEKEND OFFENDER – Has a few quirks but equally has plenty of ability. He was progressing well this season before an abject display last time out. Has the ability to give backers a solid run for their money, but tough to support with complete confidence.
15 BRIARDALE – Won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar in May but has run terribly twice since. He is impossible to support on his last two runs and will be sent off one of the wide outsiders.
16 GREENSIDE – Has won on soft ground but his improved form this season has come on a quicker surface. Ground to make up with the likes of Master The World on his Glorious Goodwood running, easy enough to oppose.
17 BRAVERY – Won the Lincoln to kick off the season but has not got close to that level since. Soft ground and a big field clearly suit so far from dismissed, but has more to prove than others.
18 BATTLE OF MARATHON – Formerly very smart, he was 5th in the 2016 Royal Hunt Cup on soft ground from sixteen pounds higher. Showed a return to form last time out, massively overpriced from this mark if able to build on that.
19 EL HAYEM – Beat GM Hopkins in a strong Sandown handicap in July. Soft ground since wasn’t as helpful to him and with that surface to contend with again, he is passed over despite a workable looking mark.
20 DOLPHIN VISTA – Soft ground is no issue and could be given a squeak from just a pound above his last winning mark. He beat a perennial bridesmaid there though and his form since has been poor, so is opposed.
21 LEADER WRITER – Back to form last time on soft ground, when powering home over a mile. The step up in trip should suit him and “the long-term plan has been the Cambridgeshire” said his trainer after that win, deserves each way respect.
22 KINGS GIFT – A mile on decent ground has been his pick this season, attempts on softer and over a mile and a quarter haven’t stacked up so well. Further improvement is possible but easy enough to take on under the conditions.
23 NOVOMAN – Arrives looking for a hat-trick following a pair of mile and a quarter wins on better ground. The new mark won’t be an issue as he was value for more last time, but genuinely soft ground would be an unknown.
24 EXAMINER – Solid mile handicapper, his last two wins have both come on good to soft from two pounds lower. They were both races that lacked depth compared to this so he needs plenty more to make his presence felt.
25 CAPTAIN CAT – Group 2 placed at his best, he has looked badly regressive in the last year. He’s thrown in if he could ever rediscover his spark, but soft ground is unlikely to be the surface on which he does it.
26 COTE D’AZUR – A winner from this mark at Thirsk earlier in the year, his best form has all come on quick ground. Runner-up in the consolation race for this in 2016 but that again was on quick, this looks too soft for him.
27 THUNDERING BLUE – Improved out of all recognition this season stepped up to a mile and a quarter. He has form on good to soft but was withdrawn on soft in August. Capable of better again, but short enough given the softening of the ground.
28 NAVAL WARFARE – Feast or famine this season, he showed up well at Listed level last time. He likes to go from the front which won’t be easy in a field of this size, but he does shape as if he will stay this far.
29 BROROCCO – Strong traveller, the gaps opened up for him at the right time when winning at Newbury when last seen. This new mark demands plenty more and he is far from guaranteed to get such a charmed run in a bigger field.
30 NICHOLAS T – Worked his way up the weights this season with three wins on a better surface. Soft ground is not in his favour, with plenty to find with a number of these on his running at York last time.
31 SECRET ART – Won off a pound higher last campaign over Sandown’s stiff mile on soft. He has shaped this season as if this trip is what he wants now with the rain helping his cause. A winner on this track with cut, he is massively overpriced in this contest.
32 RED TEA – Soft ground is no issue for her but she is yet to win above Class 4 or even race above Class 3, she is one of the first with a line struck through her in this field.
33 SANDS CHORUS – Picked up three Ripon handicaps this season at a lower level to this. Flying far too high in this contest from a career high mark.
34 MULLIGATAWNY – Bold front runner, deep ground and first time cheekpieces saw him home in front at Ripon in July. Conditions will suit but this is much tougher, he is hard to support.
35 SINFONIETTA – This trip on soft ground is perfect for him, with a number of smart efforts in big fields. The betting suggests that connections have a stronger chance with Thundering Blue, but on this ground this horse may actually outperform his stablemate.