With a 50-1 winner and two more at 40-1 in the last five years, the Cambridgeshire has re-emphasized its status as the most unpredictable Flat handicap of the season and the bookmakers will go into the latest renewal at Newmarket on Saturday with high hopes of another upset to boost their bottom line.
Mujtaba, a lightly raced son of Dubawi from the William Haggas stable, heads the market at around 5-1 but he failed to justify a similarly short price in a 22-runner Lincoln Handicap back in March and looks painfully short in the betting against 28 battle-hardened rivals on Saturday.
Haggas’s challenge is backed up by Protagonist, the second-favourite, who beat Dual Identity – also fancied for Saturday’ race – by less than a length in a well-run race at Sandown in August. Both are dropping back from 10 furlongs to nine here, however, and also have single-figure draws, which has not been a positive in recent seasons.
Ouzo, who has been knocking on the door in similar races for much of the year, is an interesting each-way option at around 40-1 with firms offering seven places, but Electric Storm (3.40)top-priced at 16-1 in the early odds, appeals as a more likely winner.
This nine-furlong trip looks ideal for Saeed bin Suroor’s runner, who won a strong race at York in June over a similar distance before running late over a mile at Haydock last time.
The Curragh 1.35 Continuous could be the pick of Aidan O’Brien’s two runners as he goes for a 12th consecutive win in this Group Two contest.
Newmarket 1.50 The visual impression of Flying Honors’ five-and-a-half length success at Salisbury in August was backed up by a strong time and it will be disappointing if he cannot maintain his progressive form here.
Haydock 2.05 Montassib should get a fair pace to aim at and could still be competitive off his latest mark.
Newmarket 2.25 Trillium has taken big steps forward with every run since her debut in June and put up her best performance yet to edge out The Platinum Queen – the Nunthorpe runner-up – in the Flying Childers at Doncaster earlier this month. That form should make her at least a joint-favourite for this with Aidan O’Brien’s Meditate, and early odds of around 5-2 are definitely worth taking.
Haydock 2.40 Hard to rule anything out in this sprint handicap but The Thin Blue Line remains in form and should appreciate this drop back to the minimum trip.
Newmarket 3.00 A strong renewal of the Middle Park Stakes in which Mischief Magic could be the value bet at around 3-1. Charlie Appleby, who had several potential candidates for this race in his yard, has brought him on steadily since a win at Goodwood in July and he showed an impressive burst of finishing speed to sweep past the field in a Group Three at Kempton last time.
The Curragh 3.20 A seven-figure pot for graduates of last year’s Orby sale, with Hellsing fancied to follow a recent win at Tipperary when Greenland, second-favourite for the Royal Lodge at Newmarket earlier in the afternoon, was among the also-rans.
Commissioning hot for Guineas glory
Commissioning shot towards the head of ante-post lists for next year’s 1,000 Guineas after maintaining her unbeaten record with a stylish display in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.
Always traveling strongly, Commissioning went through the gears quickly once popped the question and never really looked in any danger once going clear of the chasing pack, and Paddy Power cut Commissioning to 6-1 from 16-1 for the fillies’ Classic, making her their second-favourite behind Dermot Weld’s Tahiyra at 3-1.
The John Gosden-trained winner is the 7-4 market leader (from 7-2) with the same firm to further enhance her Classic credentials in the Fillies’ Mile back at Newmarket on 7 October – a race won last year by her brilliant stablemate Inspiral.
Gosden said: “We wanted to give her time after her debut as she was growing and she’s not a robust filly. She’d trained nicely into this race so we decided to wait for this rather than go for the May Hill. Whether we wait for the Guineas or consider the Breeders’ Cup invitation, which we did with another filly who won this [Juliet Capulet] who didn’t stay – this filly certainly will.” PA Media