The Cambridgeshire has been on the calendar since 1877 and this year the event is worth £160,000. The first leg of the Autumn Double looks to be a cracker, one that may well be dominated by well-handicapped three-year-olds and we have five of them in our top 7 here.
There’s no doubt that as a 4yo Alan King’s gelding has more to offer, so as a solid handicapper who’s gone down a couple of pounds in the handicap since his peak this season, he had to make the list.
Having won over a mile on this track earlier in the year it’s clear he likes it here, the niggling feeling though is that he wants a proper test over a mile-and-a-quarter rather than this cavalry charge and so he may just not quite be at his very best.
Roger Varian’s 3yo is well-drawn, lightly raced and has form this season with the right horses. In conditions events he has beaten Space Blues, been beaten 2½ lengths by Private Secretary and was just 3¾ lengths behind Elarqam.
The down side to this form is that he comes in off a mark of 100 and while he may prove to be as good if not better than that, others in the field are liable to be further ahead of the handicapper and so he has a bit to do.
Andrew Balding’s runner is the gamble of the week without doubt and that money kept on pouring in after it was revealed he’d been given stall 32.
Beaten just a length in the London Gold Cup behind Headman, he went on to finish a close-up fifth to Walkinthesand over on the July Course and appears to be going the right way. He won a good handicap at Beverley last time and has gone up just 3lbs, but how much more improvement he really has in him is anybody’s guess.
Hughie Morrison’s 3yo is definitely overpriced here at around the 50/1 mark, especially considering he finished ahead of Good Birthday at Newmarket and he is 2lbs better off with that rival now.
Having weakened out of the contest late at Goodwood over 1m2f behind Forest Of Dean, we can surmise he may not have enjoyed it there and can resume progression here, something that makes him a very appealing each-way choice.
Le Don De Vie
Formerly with Andrew Balding with whom he won two races at Epsom, this lightly raced improver did very well to win a four-runner event at Goodwood and given the lack of pace in such races we can probably upgrade the performance.
He was beating the right horses there despite the select field and continues to improve, any further enhancement of his ability surely marking him out as a likely contender.
What adds to the appeal here is that we really like Korcho, so as another Hughie Morrison horse arguably better fancied by the yard and with Ryan Moore booked, he simply must have an outstanding chance.
Just four runs into his career, last year’s winning trainer John Gosden will have readied this son of Dubawi to perfection and as one of his many talented offspring we can expect plenty more improvement.
Having been initially thought good enough to challenge King Of Comedy at Listed level as far back as May, where he’d have been expected to run to a mark of 105+, being readied for a race in late September off a mark of 98 makes him seem very well treated, especially second run after being gelded.
Whether we like it or not this, like most sports, comes down to numbers and in Lord North’s case the level we expect him to run to far outweighs his official handicap mark and that makes him very appealing indeed.
We simply can’t rule out one of Brian Meehan’s in a big handicap so while Petrus isn’t improving as quickly as some of his rivals, he nevertheless has a good profile and should enter calculations from a place perspective.
A potentially brilliant renewal, one in which Good Birthday should go well. Korcho can’t be discounted at a big price, although his stablemate Le Don De Vie is even more fancied given that we should see the best of him in this faster-paced event.
The one with potentially the most in hand on the handicapper though is surely LORD NORTH so, with conditions in his favour, a good draw and the help of Gosden and Dettori, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t go close.