Our resident tipster has one eye on the Autumn Double with today's selections.
It’s not just about the Ayr Gold Cup this afternoon – you can read my thoughts on that big sprint here – with Newbury and Newmarket staging competitive cards.
The Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes is the feature at the former track, but I’m more interested in the big 1m2f handicap also run under the Dubai Duty Free banner. I’m hopeful of snapping up a bargain too with the Luca Cumani trained LAURENCE temptingly priced at 15/2 with Betfair. The three-year-old has been running well all season but he might only now be peaking judging by his latest success in a valuable handicap at Beverley, where he showed a pleasing turn of foot to put the race to bed in a few strides.
He’s been raised 5lb for that effort and he is 10lb higher than when winning at Newmarket back in May, but his shrewd trainer may well have left something to work on with his big autumnal target being the Cambridgeshire back at HQ. That’s a race Cumani has won twice before and he nearly always has a fancied runner. In Laurence, he possesses a likely type and he has used this race as a stepping stone in more recent times, winning it three times and sending out two other placed horses from just nine runners.
He’s not the only trainer trying to win it of course and Sir Michael Stoute’s Top Tug, who is disputing favouritism, has to be respected, though he’s been raised a harsh 4lb for finishing third at York last time and he does appear to lack a turn of foot. A bigger danger then may be fellow three-year-old Pacify, who finished fourth on a similar race at the Ebor meeting, having scored at Newmarket previously off 5lb lower.
I’m not sure who my Cambridgeshire horse is at this stage, but with a big run expected from Laurence this afternoon he has to be worth a small each-way nibble at the 40/1 on offer with race sponsor Betfred.
The other leg of the ‘Autumn Double’ is the Cesarewitch also run at Newmarket and that track is staging a trial this afternoon, with the appropriately named Betfred Cesarewitch Trial over 2m2f attracting some promising stayers. The Philip Hobbs-trained Big Easy has already been there and got the t-shirt having won last year’s Cesarewitch, for which he warmed up by finishing second in this race, and he’s clearly going down the same path again. However, like last year, he’s unlikely to be 100 per cent to wound up on his first run since run since the Cheltenham Festival in March and that makes him opposable.
On the other hand, fitness won’t be an issue for the David Pipe-trained LOW KEY as the eight-year-old has been making hay over hurdles this summer, winning twice, and he now switches his attentions to the flat off what is a potentially generous mark of 82, with highly talented claimer Tom Marquand taking 3lb off his back. Lightly-raced for his age and formerly very smart when trained in Germany, it could be that Pipe is only now getting to the bottom of him.
The stable does well with those horses they run on the flat and the Cesarewitch in particular has been a happy hunting ground with David’s father Martin winning it twice, something he will be keen to emulate. In Low Key he could have the right weapon and he’s got to be worth an each-way interest at Betfred’s 33/1, but have a bigger bet at the same firm’s 11/2 on him to win today’s trial.
For the eternal optimists out there, the Laurence-Low Ley (Cambridgeshire-Cesarewitch) win double pays 1393/1 with sponsors Betfred.
Newbury 2.50, Laurence @ 15/2 Betfair
Newmarket 3.50, Low Key @ 11/2 Betfred