Simon Holt: Lucky to strike
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt is backing Third Time Lucky to win Saturday's Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.
THIRD TIME LUCKY can emulate the 2012 and 2014 winner Bronze Angel and become the eighth horse to land the Betfred Cambridgeshire twice in Saturday's renewal at Newmarket.
Often described as the only "nine-furlong sprint" in the racing calendar, this autumnal cavalry charge demands enough speed to lie up with the pace but also plenty of stamina to see out the final climb to the line.
Third Time Lucky proved he had those qualities 12 months ago when holding off Master The World (now 4lb worse off) by a short head with Examiner (3lb worse off) a length away in third and GM Hopkins (2lb better off) beaten just over three lengths into sixth (Ginger Jack tenth, Gabrial's Kaka 18th, Bronze Angel 21st and Educate 24th).
The reason Richard Fahey's grey looks reasonably handicapped for this repeat bid is that he was dropped a couple of pounds after two disappointing runs at York and Goodwood earlier this season.
But, significantly, Third Time Lucky ran a much better race at the York Ebor meeting last time, keeping on strongly into fifth behind Firmament in a hotly-contested mile handicap and appears additionally well treated here with Ebor-winning jockey Adam McNamara (a real find this season) claiming his 5lb allowance.
While facing a toughish task in his bid to turn the tables, Mastertheworld is a grand handicapper who was slightly unlucky not to beat handicap 'good thing' Franklin D in the Betfred Mile at Goodwood in late July since when he chased home Zonderland in a Group Three at Salisbury.
However, David Elsworth's gallant five-year-old failed to fire at Sandown last time.
Examiner is up 8lb since last year after a couple of good efforts in the spring when second to Knight Owl (2lb better off) over this course and distance before winning at Epsom at the Derby meeting in early June. But he has been off since.
KNIGHT OWL could be a leading contender, certainly for a place, having gone under by a short head to the much improved Treasury Notes at Ripon last month, and can now meet the winner on 4lb better terms. James Fanshawe's gelding is attractively weighted on 8st6lb with George Wood taking off 5lb.
Despite being well beaten last year, other past winners Educate (successful in the John Smith's Cup at York earlier in the season) and Bronze Angel cannot be entirely ruled out given the specialist nature of this race while the top-weighted GM Hopkins is ideally suited to these fast-run, big-field handicaps.
A strong gallop could also bring out the best in the long-priced Erik The Red who has proved a bit frustrating this season but may well be staying on strongly at the finish here while Frankie Dettori takes the mount on Bravo Zolo, who runs for the first time since finishing second to Secret Brief in the Lincoln at Doncaster in April and is a potential improver.
There are some tremendous two-year-old races on the card and the Group One Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes clash between brilliant Queen Mary Stakes winner Lady Aurelia (subsequently less impressive when winning the Prix Morny at Deauville) and the Frankel filly Queen Kindly, who beat the reopposing Roly Poly in the Lowther at York, will be something to savour.
So too the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in which Blue Point seeks to follow up his brilliant win in the Gimcrack Stakes at York (from Mokarris and The Last Lion) while also trying to turn the tables on the ultra tough Mehmas who beat him in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood where Intelligence Cross, a Group Three winner since, was behind them in third.
Impressive Doncaster sales race winner Mubtasim is another to consider in what also looks a fascinating race.
Earlier, BEST OF DAYS is fancied to relish a step up to a mile in the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes.
Hugo Palmer's strapping colt looked really good when winning at Sandown on his debut in July before going under by a head to the fast-finishing Syphax (subsequently bought by Godolphin) in the Group Three Acomb Stakes over seven furlongs at York.
Third-placed Lockheed did the form little harm when far from disgraced behind Churchill and Mehmas in the National Stakes at The Curragh next time.
Posted at 1220 BST on 23/09/16.
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