A truly cracking day’s racing on Saturday with the Cambridgeshire card at Newmarket augmented by a fine Haydock card.
The big race at Newmarket (1535 BST) sees a daunting 35 runners facing the annual cavalry charge over Newmarket’s straight 9 furlongs.
This race can go to a big outsider, but equally it offers up more than its fair share of shorter priced winners – quality will generally win out over quantity.
We won’t be looking any further than the top of the market, as longstanding ante-post favourite Thundering Blue must have an outstanding chance. When he won a good race at Sandown last time he was really eye-catching, travelling well and then just bursting clear like a horse with a ton in hand.
The runner-up that day has subsequently won in higher class, and the 6lb rise for Davis Menuisier’s progressive 4yo looks pretty generous. Jockey Jim Crowley will need to be aware of some wayward tendencies when hitting the front, but Thundering Blue is likely to be thundering home, and hopefully it will just be the bookies feeling blue. Its maximum bet time.
Over at Haydock the 6f handicap (1515) has been hastily scheduled as an opportunity for those that had been expected to contest last week’s Ayr Gold Cup. We were set to be sweet in Scotland on the chances of Shanghai Glory and we are still greatly respectful of his chance. However, the change in venue and the heavy ground should play into the chance of old favourite Johnny Barnes.
Drawn (appropriately enough) to come flying down the near wing, Johnny is 5lbs higher than when shooting home from a charmed run at Goodwood last time. He was well clear then in holding off a horse who has since won a valuable Irish handicap.
He has won his only race on heavy, a group 3 on very soft in France, and his 3rd on soft at Newbury recently has been franked since. It is a high mark, but he has everything in his favour here and the switch in venue could just be the making of him.
Johnny Barnes, (1515 Haydock), 2pts win, 8/1 Coral, Betfred
Thundering Blue, (1535 Newmarket), 3pts win, 8/1 William Hill
Johnny Barnes & Thundering Blue, 1pt each way double, approx. 75/1
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