With the proximity of the Prix Del Arc De Triomphe and the shrinking of global distances by the internet, the famous English Autumn Double (Cambridgeshire/Cesarewitch) can easily be turned into a Treble by adding the Group 1 Arc to the two last big handicaps of the season.

The Cambridgeshire is first up at Newmarket on October 3 over nine furlongs straight.  This is a very stiff course and, traditionally, the race has been won by a ten furlong horse and so the two John Smith’s Heritage Handicap races (the JS Cup over 10.5f at York on July 11 and the JS Stakes over the bare 10f at Newbury on September 19) are considered to hold the key to this year’s race.  In particular, the Newbury race has provided four of the last five winners of the Cambridgeshire but, ironically, none have been the winner at Newbury.  This year does not appear to be any different as Almiqdaad, the Newbury winner, although one of the freshest of the Cambridgeshire entrants (only 3 runs this year; 6 lifetime; and delayed his reappearance until August) and very progressive, may well not even start as he is a heavy-topped sort who could well become unbalanced in the dip.  He won at Newmarket last year on the July course where the undulations are not as pronounced as the Rowley Mile.  Also, he may need more than 10f so the drop back to nine furlongs may not be to his liking.  If he starts though, he will be a big danger to all.

The horse to take out of the Newbury race is Charm School who has been the subject of a major gamble in the past few days and now heads the market in most places (12/1 still available at Boylesport).  This quirky three year old has long promised to win a good handicap especially over a straight course.  He was well fancied for the Lincoln but disappointed and just has not given of his best so far this year but strikes your humble scribe as very much an autumn horse just waiting to strike.

From the York race, the winner Sirvino stands out but he is now 36 pounds higher than when winning on his reappearance.  He is unbeaten this year in five starts all on flat or sharpish turning tracks and it is left to be seen how he will handle this stiff 9 furlong straight.  He may well overcome the latest nine pounds rise in the weights but is at a very short price for one untried over the track.  Newmarket can be a very peculiar and quirky girl herself and previous experience is very handy indeed.

For this reason, we have to look at some alternatives to the leaders in the betting (Mawatheeq is another one whose performances in the dip have been suspect) especially those with Rowley Mile experience like Bushman (stamina query); Tryst (twice second over the Rowley Mile in only 3 lifetime starts including in the Wood Ditton on debut but proving difficult to train); Credit Swap (needs a miracle to make the cut but in the form of his life and fresh); Brief Encounter (1 for 1 at Newmarket; potentially listed class but yet to race beyond a mile) and Dancourt (another in danger of being cut but none better suited by the race or likely easy underfoot conditions and with a pedigree that cries out for this; one for one at Newmarket).

One of the most trappy Cambridgeshires in years with question marks over all and sundry so I will swerve all the fancied ones and take a chance with last year’s third SWOP (nap) who appeared not to get home then but is still unexposed (very lightly raced for a 6yo) and clearly laid out for this race by his canny trainer.  Now is the time to get on because, if, as I suspect, K. Fallon is declared, the price will rapidly depreciate.

Two weeks later, we will return to Newmarket for the Cesarewitch over 2 miles and 2 furlongs and I have liked one horse for this race ever since the Northumberland Plate and it is ELECTROLYSER (BANKER BET).  He looks every bit the late maturing type (unraced as a 2yo) whose trainer has been ever patient with him winning last autumn after being only by subsequent Hollywood Derby winner Midships on quicker ground than he would like and an inadequate 10f.  He relished the step up to 12f at Leicester (soft) beating a field of similarly progressive types with something in hand.  He has run only twice this year and could not have caught the eye more when a staying on 5th in the Northumberland from an impossible draw (22; the first 4 drew 2,3,4 and 5) and off a muddling pace.  He looks a cinch at a double digit price.

The day after the Cambridgeshire we go over to Longchamp for the Arc and this year it is all about SEA THE STARS.  If he gets his preferred fast ground, it won’t be a race but we must hope for rain (not in current forecast) and some value which will certainly lie in backing Prix Neil winner CAVALRYMAN despite recent modest noises coming out of the Andre Fabre barn.  The Arc has a long history of being won by a 3 yo trained in France that did not win the French Derby but ran in the Prix Neil and the two that fit the bill are Beheshtam and CAVALRYMAN. Of the two, the latter is preferred.

Good Luck!


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