Saturday Racing Tips: Two to play on Cambridgeshire day

Ajaya, in green, is a value shot to beat odds-on Shalaa in the Middle Park Stakes
Ajaya, in green, is a value shot to beat odds-on Shalaa in the Middle Park Stakes

It's a big day at Newmarket and our man has a pair to back at big prices, to accompany a couple of 25/1 antepost shots for the feature race

"William Haggas reports that Ajaya was tiny earlier in the season but has changed out of all proportion physically in recent weeks, and is on a big upward curve."

Back Ajaya at 8.07/1 in the 15:10 at Newmarket

Other Bets
Back Sixth Sense at 26.025/1 in the 14:00 at Newmarket

No time or space for flowery intros today. Ajaya is no 8.07/1 chance in my book to end the winning run of top juvenile Shalaa in the Middle Park at 15:10 at Newmarket and should be backed accordingly.

Quite clearly, Shalaa is a worthy odds-on poke here at around the 1.454/9 mark and in the next 24 hours you may hear something along the lines of "you wouldn't get a 45pc return on your money in just over a minute from a bank, would you?"

No, you wouldn't. And you wouldn't also see your entire balance disappear if he gets chinned either, which is entirely plausible.

Funnily enough, the people who trot out that garbage tend to omit the last part.

Okay, Shalaa boasts the best form coming into this race and he was very impressive under a 3lb penalty in the Richmond and when beating Gutaifan by 1¾ lengths in the Morny despite only "tolerating" the testing ground.

He has had a four-week break since then but it is conceivable that the race in very deep ground may have left its mark - races won in such conditions are rarely won easily, despite the manner and margin of victory - and, anyway, it is not out of the realms of possibility that Ajaya will improve past him.

And I think he may just well do that.

William Haggas reports that Ajaya was tiny earlier in the season but has changed out of all proportion physically in recent weeks, and is on a big upward curve.

But it is clear that he has always thought the world of this horse, pitching him in at Royal Ascot despite being beaten on his debut at Nottingham, and in fact he may have bustled up the winner in the Norfolk had he not completely blown the start. He was only beaten three lengths, and he lost far more than that with his tardy exit from the gates.

He duly won his maiden next time, before finishing an unlucky head second to Gutaifan in the Papin, where he didn't have much racing room on the inner in the closing stages.

But he made further progress when comfortably seeing off subsequent Mill Reef winner Ribchester in the Gimcrack last time, and I think he is a 2yo going places.

Officially, he has 6lb to find with Shalaa, but the discrepancy in price between him and the favourite - 7/1 plays 4-9 - is far too big. Take an interest.

Haggas also has an obvious chance of a Group 1 juvenile double as Besharah heads the Cheveley Park market at 14:35 at the 3.3512/5 mark.

Like stablemate Ajaya, she is progressing fast, and has improved a fair deal since being beaten by a nose by Illuminate on the July course in July, comfortably putting Lumiere in her place in the Lowther last time.

But it wouldn't surprise me at all if Lumiere reversed the 2¼ lengths that she was beaten at York given that she was noticeably green when challenged there, and would have learned a hell of a lot from her first real racing experience, having sauntered home from the front in a modest maiden on the July course first time up.

But at around 4.77/2, she is not great value to do so, though she certainly makes more appeal than Illuminate at the prices.

In the Royal Lodge at 14:00 it is no surprise to see the unbeaten pair of Foundation and Deauville dominate the market.

Foundation was very impressive at Haydock last time and Deauville was crying out for a mile when beating Thursday's winner Sanus Per Aquam ½ length in a Group 3 at Leopardstown last time.

But Foundation is short enough in the market as he steps up in grade and the form of the Aidan O'Brien yard would slightly bother me if I were a Deauville backer. He had a 6/4 winner at Cork on Thursday night (in a three-runner race, mind you) but his previous 31 runners all lost, very moderate form for a stable with a seasonal strike rate of 22%.

So I am going to take a flier with Sixth Sense at 26.025/1, as hopefully he will get an easy lead out in front - Newcastle maiden winner Beast Mode looks the only other pace rival - and surprise these.

Sure, he is far more exposed than most, but experience is no bad thing in these races and a mile looks Sixth Sense's trip judged on performances on the track and breeding.

His two best efforts in this country have come over 7f - when going a shade too soon finishing third in the Chesham in a good time and when making all in soft ground at Ascot in July - and he could have been meeting two top-class prospects in Cloth Of Stars and Vedevani in a Group 3 at Longchamp over 1m last time.

Both were once-raced maiden winners from top stables, and after the race Andre Fabre said his winner was earmarked for the Lagardere. And that could still be the plan for the highly-regarded runner-up, whose clearly disappointed trainer Alain De Royer-Dupre reported that his colt "remains a very good horse" and not one to ignore in top races going forward.

It could be that Sixth Sense put up a very good effort in finishing a 3½ length third to that pair and I'm more than happy to take a chance at the price. Mark Johnston has won this race twice in the last seven years.

Regular readers of my ante-post column will know that I have already put up two 25-1 pokes for the Cambridgeshire at 15:50 namely Earth Drummer a few weeks back and My Dream Boat on Tuesday.

I am bit worried about a potential lack of pace on Earth Drummer's side of the the track (he is drawn 35 of 35) but at least My Dream Boat is drawn on the other side of the course in three. Luck will, as ever, play a big part in deciding the winner but I am happy with those plays.

Here is the reasoning for the selections if you are interested, part one and part two.

I'm not going in again but it is no surprise that Third Time Lucky has been supported from 25-1 to 14-1 in the last 48 hours as the impressive Thirsk winner is 4lb well even under a 4lb penalty, and has a lot going for him.

The jumps season proper is nearly upon us, as evidenced by C4 also showing two valuable handicaps at Market Rasen.

I can't say that I have a strong opinion - it will take me a while to get fully into National Hunt mode - and am happy just to stick to the two new Flat plays for now.

Recommended Bets
Back Sixth Sense at 26.025/1 in the 14:00 at Newmarket
Back Ajaya at 8.07/1 in the 15:10 at Newmarket

Already advised
Back Earth Drummer at 25/1 for the Cambridgeshire at 15:50
Back My Dream Boat each way at 25/1 for the Cambridgeshire at 15:50

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