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Thursday, 27 September 2018

3.40 Newmarket, Saturday, September 29

In terms of competition, horse races don’t come much ‘deeper’ than the first leg of the traditional “Autumn Double”, the Cambridgeshire Handicap (3.40) at Newmarket on Saturday. The race, which has a safety limit of 35, typically features a perplexing mixture of dyed-in-the-wool handicappers and progressive, unexposed three-year-olds, not to mention the odd out-and-out ‘plot’ horse, so winners at 50/1, 40/1, 25/1, 16/1 and 14/1 (three times) in the last ten years come as no great surprise.

One that we hope can follow in their footsteps, though, is Stuart Williams’ four-year-old Via Serendipity, who has been a model of consistency this season and fully deserves to win a valuable prize. That said, the Invincible Spirit gelding has failed to trouble the judge just once – and, on that occasion, finished fifth of 27, beaten just 1¼ lengths, in the Victoria Cup at Ascot – in six starts this season, winning at Sandown in June and at Ascot last month.

Both wins came over a mile but, while he has yet to run over further, Via Serendipity shapes as though an extra furlong is well within his compass and may, indeed, bring about further improvement. A 3lb rise in the weights for winning the Shergar Cup Mile at Ascot last time looks entirely fair and, with winning form on good to firm and good going, he should have underfoot conditions to his liking on the Rowley Mile. Gerald Mosse, who has an 8-44 (18%) strike rate on the course, for a massive 100.25 points level stakes profit, is an interesting jockey booking.

At 25/1 in the ante post price lists, Via Serendipity looks worth a speculative wager and, with leading bookmakers likely to bet on five, six or seven places on the day, even makes some appeal for a little each-way ‘tickle’.

Selection: Newmarket 3.40 Via Serendipity to win   2-1


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