Cambridgeshire Handicap preview: Fifth Position the punt at Newmarket

Published on: September 26, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Cambridgeshire Handicap preview from Newmarket

The big betting race at Newmarket on Saturday is the 1m 1f Cambridgeshire Handicap (15:40) and Fifth Position looks the one to be on now dropped in class.

This Roger Varian trained three-year-old shaped with stacks of promise on debut when a tenderly handled fourth of 13 to Fox Chairman in a warm maiden at Newbury.

Fifth Position duly showed the benefit of that experience when landing a nine-runner novice contest over 1m at Nottingham, where he stayed on gamely to get the better of Space Blues by a head.

The pair pulled five lengths clear of the third home. Space Blues went on to win his next two starts and has been placed twice in Group 1 contests to be rated 114.

That gives the form a very strong look and Fifth Position backed that up with a solid a 2 1/2 lengths third to Private Secretary, who has since finished fourth in a Royal Ascot Group 2, in a 1m 3f Listed contest at Goodwood.

The son of Dark Angel has been far from disgraced in two starts since, finishing a 3 1/4 lengths fifth to Elarqam in a Listed contest at Sandown and a 4 1/4 lengths fifth to the thriving Duke Of Hazzard in a Goodwood Group 3.

Fifth Position now drops in grade and makes his handicap debut off a mark of 100. That looks very exploitable based on his defeat of Space Blues.

You also often need a pattern performer to win this valuable Heritage Handicap, and he certainly fits that bill.

So, taking everything into account, there is nothing not to like about the profile of Fifth Position and he thus makes plenty of appeal at the 10/1 on offer with Coral.

Good Birthday a big player under Murphy

There are a whole host of dangers in the Cambridgeshire Handicap where a huge field of 33 are set to go to post.

The Andrew Balding trained Good Birthday is feared most under champion jockey elect Oisin Murphy.

This three-year-old has won three of his eights starts and ran a blinder in defeat second time up this season when a length third of 15 to Headman in the valuable London Gold Cup at Newbury.

The winner went on to land Group 2 contest in France on his next two starts, before being far from disgraced when a 3 1/2 lengths fifth to Magical in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown off an official rating of 112.

Forest Of Dean, who finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Good Birthday in fourth, also went on to win his next two starts and the race has also thrown-up a whole host of other winners. It gives the form a very strong look.

Good Birthday has since run well to finish a 2 1/2 lengths fifth of 14 to subsequent Group 3 placed Walkinthesand in a warm contest at this venue.

He also comes into the race having resumed winning ways in good style at Beverley last month, when overcoming trouble in-running and showing a smart turn of foot to beat Desert Icon by half-a-length.

A 3lb rise for that looks lenient and revised rating of 98 should not be beyond Good Birthday, judged on his aforementioned run in the London Gold Cup.

Everything points to a big run, so he looks a solid each-way contender at 7/1 with William Hill who pay six places.

Mordin appeals each-way in Cambridgeshire Handicap

Mordin ran a cracker in this 12 months ago when third of 33 to Wissahickon and on the pick of his form once again looks weighted to make his presence felt.

This Simon Crisford trained five-year-old stuck to the task well to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths by John Gosden’s handicap blot off a mark of 95.

He looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance when beating Leadham by 2 1/2 lengths at Haydock off 5lb higher.

This son of Invincible Spirit went on to finish a fine 4 1/2 lengths 10th of 28 to Afaak in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot off 106, and ran well off his current rating of 104 on his penultimate outing at Doncaster when third of 12 to Spanish Archer.

The Cambridgeshire Handicap is likely to have been Mordin’s long-term target all season and connections have booked highly promising apprentice Marco Ghiani to do the steering.

He is terrific value for his 7lb claim. Taking it into account, Mordin is running off 3lb lower than when last successful.

It gives him every chance from a handicap perspective, so that makes him another to consider each-way at 16/1 with 888Sport – who also pay six places.

Baltic Baron a lively outsider

The ex-French trained Baltic Baron has posted some solid efforts this season since joining David O’Meara and looks massively overpriced at a standout 40/1 with Coral.

They include when a cracking fifth of 20 the the progressive Beat Le Bon in the ultra-competitive Golden Mile Handicap at Glorious Goodwood off a mark off 97.

After being held-up well off the pace, Baltic Baron was denied a clear run when making a move between horses a furlong from home.

He had to be switched right to see daylight and then kept on strongly all the way to the line to be nearest at the finish and beaten just over three lengths.

The son of Shamardal would have gone close granted a clear passage, and the way in which he finished off the race suggests the extra furlong of this will be right up his street.

Baltic Baron is also able to race off just 1lb higher and a repeat of that effort would give him a big shout of making the frame at least.

Hence, at the odds on offer, he had to feature as another potential each-way punt and thus completes this Cambridgeshire Handicap preview.