At £74k to the winner this race is understandably not as valuable as usual this year, however it is still a big purse and the 29 final entries prove once again it’s a race breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys all want to win for the prestige alone.
Add to that list punters, us included, and after last week’s mega plunge in the Ayr Gold Cup with Nahaarr we are looking to back another Saturday big race winner.
Here’s our shortlist of six, with the selection a very attractive price heading into the weekend.
Now a standing dish in these big-race handicaps, and this time he has half a shout at getting into the money at least.
True, he has run nowhere hear his best in the last two Cambridgeshire’s and he’s not getting younger, but he’s gone very close in the Cambridgeshire consolation race before, is gradually coming down in the weights, is well drawn and retains the confidence of his trainer.
The most interesting contender in the field no doubt, regardless of your own thoughts on where stands in the handicap.
The reason we make those remarks is because we’ve seen before that in a race like the Cambridgeshire, it’s ironically those who have pace who tend do well – thank all the way back to seven-furlong specialist I Cried For You winning this some years ago.
Al Rufaa also has done all his work over that trip, progressing very nicely, and is ahead of the handicapper. He could be further ahead than we think if improvement comes over this nine-furlong trip and his tactical pace can make all the difference from stall 22. Every chance.
At the time of writing it remains to be seen which of the Khalid Abdullah runners will get the first colours, though it’s suspected that it will be ante-post favourite Tempus.
For what it’s worth, we prefer this one as Sir Michael Stoute’s entrant continues to improve despite not yet winning this season.
We’d be more confident had he been drawn a little higher, but he should excel now going in this faster-paced event and can run into the money for certain.
On a five-timer now, he cannot be ignored. The truth is though that he is drawn on the wrong side and has been winning smaller races up to this point.
An improving Royal Marine, a former Group 1 winner as a juvenile, was taken care of last time but he was unlucky and could/should have ended Ilaraab’s winning sequence. He can go well for William Haggas, but doesn’t quite scream “winner”.
Overpriced and seemingly unfashionable for Ralph Beckett, Lucander has plenty of attributes that in a typical year would point towards a genuine Cambridgeshire contender.
True, he won his latest race over an extended 1m2f on soft ground, but he has gone well over shorter and shown plenty of pace. He’s rarely ‘properly’ beaten and remains on an upward trajectory, so factors very highly in our list.
The ante-post favourite, Roger Charlton’s runner is a well-drawn and vastly improving miler. That he has such tactical pace on the face of it means he can go well in this race, a closer look just throws in a few doubts.
He has done his winning by bullying smaller fields, with both the speed figures he’s clocked and the best of the one’s for the horses he’s beaten over the course of their careers not really quite matching up to a few in this contest.
He could improve further, including when it comes to speed, but he doesn’t quite have the same look as last year’s handicap blot Lord North and is passed over this time.
A fascinating race as always, one in which Lucander can run well, Derevo may prove the better of the two Juddmonte horses and old favourite Afaak may outrun his price once again as he did for us in last year’s Royal Hunt Cup.
The one we like more than any other in the field however is AL RUFAA and he can be backed at a general 16/1 going into Friday.
He’s a strange price given that he is generally well-handicapped, is trained by John Gosden and is ridden by Frankie Dettori. You’d think the price won’t last. He could have plenty of weight in hand if his angle of attack as regards improvement is right according to us, especially going up in trip and so he rates a fair bet.