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30 Sep 2017

Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage)

Regular readers will know I make a bee-line for the enhanced place terms offered in top quality big field handicaps; so I've been rubbing my hands this morning as they don't come much bigger than the Cambridgeshire.

A strongly run handicap over the unusual 9fl trip on a straight course is perfect fodder for big prices in the frame. Especially, in the case of Hills or Sky, where that frame is 8 places.

Every year, this handicap is like 2 races. The upwardly mobile improvers with marks up around 100 and the lesser lights with perhaps more experience and lighter loads who can run to their mark, or a little better, in a very strongly run race.

Almost every year the RPR's of the first 5 or 6 home jump around all over the place. For example in 2015 the first 5 home were awarded RPR's of; 106, 111, 96, 98 and 104 (the winner 106). The horses who achieved RPR's of 96 and 98 were priced at 50/1 and 20/1 respectively. That's just one year.

If you go back far enough over the last 20 years, you'll even find a winner of this race at 100/1. Clearly, you could do your brains trying to root out a horse like that, but there is a nice way to check whether the field might hold a likely candidate:

Age 5 or 6
Handicap mark same as last win or up to 7lbs higher
Weight 8-6 to 8-9 (before any riders' claim)
Finished 1st or 2nd in any of last 3 runs

The fairly-weighted, in form, competitive 5 and 6yo's are heavily overlooked. To be fair you don’t get too many of the right kind but they do crop up. Over the last 20 renewals there has been just 14 qualifiers, but 7 of those either won or made the frame. The most recent example was Bronze Angel in 2014. Many will also remember Prince of Johanne winning in 2011 at 40/1.

There is a qualifier this year, NICHOLAS T trained by Jim Goldie.

A late bloomer, he's been in career best form this season and quietly improving. He's also very flexible, coping equally well with turf as different as Ayr, Ascot or York.

The most recent run at York was very interesting: stepped up to 10.5fl in a high quality handicap, he was bang there with a furlong to go, fading quickly. However the run needs marking up, as he had no chance racing on the slowest part of the track. That was a very strongly run race, and he proved he could go toe to toe for 9.5fl. The drop to 9fl looks plumb perfect here.

He's drawn low and that may or may not work out the place to be. He would also probably appreciate good ground rather than gd-sft - although he ran a very big race recently at Ascot with cut. He's a standing dish at Ayr where the ground soon gets very holding and I suspect Newmarket gd-sft will be fine if they avoid more rain.

At the prices though, I'm more than happy to pay to find out.

Good luck,

3.35 Newmarket, Nicholas T - 1pt EW 100/1, 1/5 odds to 8 places Hills

Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:

About us: http://www.keyracingnews.com/about-us/4593890647

** FeedbackUnlucky yesterday, Sands Chorus, 2nd at 100/1 carried 8-05, just 1lb outside the criteria used. Suffice to say we've amended the weight range for next year! Great example though of the angle...the TV pundits completely bemused! Nicholas T out of sorts, keep an eye on him, he's much better than that but likely needs better ground and/or flat track **

Nicholas T, looks well suited to a 9fl trip in the Cambridgeshire for Jim Goldie

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