Agonisingly, ante post favourite Air Pilot, who was officially 14lb in well in under a 4lb penalty, failed to make the cut for the Betfred Cambridgeshire by one place when the final declarations were published on Thursday. Nevertheless, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good and, with a maximum field of 35 runners and winners at 100/1, 40/1, 25/1, 16/1 and 14/1 in the last 10 years, the Cambridgeshire is a race made for us.
This year’s renewal, due off at 3.50 p.m. on Saturday, September 27, has attracted any number of horses capable of running well at generous odds but, as usual, we’ve highlighted two or three that took our eye.
Balty Boys (33/1) beat several higher-rated rivals when second to comfortable winner Captain Cat in the Group 3 Betfred.com Superior Mile at Haydock three weeks ago, but can race here off an unchanged handicap mark. He finished well on that occasion so, while all his previous efforts beyond a mile, except one, have been nothing to shout about, an extra furlong should be well within his compass. If it is, he’s only 3lb higher in the weights than when winning a valuable handicap on the July Course at Newmarket and should run his race whatever the weather in the East of England between now and Saturday.
Tenor (33/1) has been one of the success stories of the season, winning six times and rising 39lb in the handicap as a result. A 7lb penalty for winning the Listed Nigel & Elwes Fortune Stakes at Sandown ten days ago (a career-best effort) means that he’s now 29lb higher in the weights than when last winning a handicap, but only 8lb higher than when second, beaten a neck, in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile at Ascot last month. The son of Eclipse Stakes winner Oratorio probably needs to improve again if he’s to become the first horse since Cap Juluca, in 1995, to carry 9st 10lb to victory, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he’s capable of doing so.
Dance And Dance (40/1) finished a neck behind Tenor (rec. 11lb) in a handicap on the Rowley Mile in May, but reopposes here on 27lb better terms, so simply cannot be ignored from a handicapping point-of-view. The Royal Applause gelding ran on well in the closing stages to finish sixth, beaten 5¼ lengths, behind Educate in this race last year, despite being denied a clear run with two furlongs to run, so appears to have bright prospects off a 1lb lower mark this time around. He meets the winner on 7lb better terms and the third, Tres Coronas, on 8lb better terms, so the bookmakers may have underestimated his chance.
His best run this season came over the testing straight mile at Newcastle, where he finished second, beaten a short head, but was awarded the race in the stewards’ room after being bumped in the closing stages. He is just 3lb higher in the weights here, appears to act on just about any ground and has the services of Silvestre De Sousa, who has a 1-4 (25%) strike rate for Ed Vaughan, so he has plenty going for him.
In summary, our three against the field, in no particular order are:
Balty Boys (33/1 with Coral)
Tenor (33/1 with Coral)
Dance And Dance (40/1 generally).