Saturday Horse Racing Tips: Tom Collins throws two darts at the 2023 Cambridgeshire

29 September 2023

Longchamp is sure to garner a lot of attention with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe taking centre stage on Sunday, but don’t sleep on Saturday’s sumptuous Newmarket card.

A pair of Group 1 two-year-old events - the Cheveley Park (2.25) and Middle Park (3.00) - headline the early portion of the card, before the real punting test comes in the form of the Cambridgeshire (3.40). I will come back to one of those aforementioned juvenile events in due course, but I want to give the heritage handicap top spot in this column.

With 35 runners competing over 1m1f on the Rowley Mile, it is fair to say that you need a lot of luck as well as good judgement to cash in a bet placed on this contest. The last three victors have returned at 40/1 (twice) and 25/1, although you don’t have to go back too far to find the last winning favourite as Lord North landed some tasty wagers under Frankie Dettori in 2019.

This year’s jolly, Greek Order, boasts a similar profile to Lord North and could be a Group horse masquerading as a handicapper. I cannot easily pass up on as I’ve tipped and backed him the last twice. Add in that he’s well drawn and should relish the conditions and it’s pretty obvious that he deserves to top the market. However, I keep saying that loyalty gets you nowhere in this game and I need to follow my own advice in this instance.

The reason for opposing him is that he’s generally quoted as the 7/2 favourite. That price converts to around a 22% chance of winning - surely that overestimates his supposed superiority? As I’ve already said, a lot needs to go right to win this event and the reward at his current odds isn’t really worth the risk. He’s a classic case of an overbet favourite due to his attractive profile.

Instead, I’ll throw a dart at two double-figure-priced rivals beginning with Dual Identity, who should be able to get across to join the near-side group from his draw in gate 16. William Knight’s five-year-old finished an excellent third in the 2022 renewal of this race despite racing on the severely unfavoured far rail - a piece of form that has to be right at the top of what’s on offer in this year’s line-up. 

He only lost by a length-and-a-quarter that day and drew five lengths clear of the remainder on his side (second in the group, Protagonist, finished way back in tenth). He was rated 91 and carried just 8st 7lb that day, but he’s only 4lb higher this time around and enters on the back of a career-best victory at Sandown earlier in the month.

Dual Identity showcased his high cruising speed on that occasion before exploding once asked for effort to record a cosy success. This trip, track and ground clearly suit, as does the big field and strong early pace, so there’s a lot going for him. Marco Ghiani is 1/1 onboard, too.

Last year’s winner, Majestic, is also worth a few quid at 25/1. Jack Channon has campaigned him with this race in mind and, despite finishing in the top four on five of his seven starts this term, the handicapper has slowly dropped him down to a mark 4lb higher than 12 months ago.

He has been freshened up with a 51-day layoff, has drawn nicely in stall 29, and I love the booking of Benoit De La Sayette. The young jock has never ridden for Channon before, but has a knack of riding his best races in big-field handicaps as proven by his success aboard Migration in the Lincoln earlier this season.

It’s time to return to the Middle Park (3.00) as I’m all over River Tiber for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. This son of Wootton Bassett looked extremely good on his first three outings, which included a 10-length debut romp and an impressive victory in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, before he pulled a muscle in the build-up to the Prix Morny.

O’Brien managed to get him to the race, but he missed a crucial piece of work and wasn’t 100% fit to do himself justice. With that being said, I’m happy to mark up his third-place finish, especially given the extremely testing ground wouldn’t have been ideal for him.

He’s had six weeks to get over that effort and has a lot more in his favour on Saturday with faster ground and a slower-run race looking likely. Of course he has to reverse the form with Vandeek, but that rival couldn’t have been better suited by the setup in France as he’s a keen-going type who needs a breakneck gallop to fully settle. He might not get that here.

Those two runners look to be the clear form standouts - as the market suggests - and only drastic improvement from a horse like Task Force could instigate a shock. 

Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips

River Tiber (3.00 Newmarket) @ 9/4
Dual Identity (3.40 Newmarket) @ 12/1
Majestic (3.40 Newmarket) @ 25/1

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