4/15.00 looks skinny for Greek Order
50/151.00 Cheveley bet is too good to ignore
Ace fav to make Arc Impact on Sunday
I don't tend to look too far ahead when it comes to ante-post markets, so I was surprised that Greek Order was such a strong favourite when I had my first proper look at the market for this Saturday's Cambridgeshire.
He was a 4/15.00 chance with the Betfair Sportsbook and not that much bigger on the Exchange (currently trading at 5.79/2), which was pretty punchy considering there were still 74 in the race at that stage, and we have a potential maximum field of 35 on the day.
In fact, he was 49th in the list on Sunday, but he is assured of a run now after the field was reduced to 46 after Monday's noon confirmations for the 1m1f handicap at 15:40.
I thought I recognised the name of the horse but I couldn't immediately place him, then I remembered Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore (who rode him in his first four races) has always thought a bit of him. The penny seems to have finally dropped with the 3yo after an opening three defeats at very short prices.
That said, Moore wasn't on board when he ran away with a 1m2f Newbury handicap last month, for which he went up 10lb. He powered through that contest, racing a bit too keenly if anything, and picked up in striking fashion when asked to do so on the near rail.
A 10lb rise probably looks on the lenient side now after the 4 ½-length runner-up Maximilan Ceasar went one better at Doncaster next time and is now rated 8lb higher. Greek Order is a full brother to Juddmonte's 114-rated 1m2f winner Sangarius and he clearly has the sexiest of profiles.
But he is surely going to be around his current price on the day if we get a full field, with extra places thrown in, isn't he? (though the Sportsbook are currently paying five places, mind you).
I can obviously see him being very popular, and he may be mighty hard to beat, but 4/15.00 looks skinny enough at this stage before we know the ground and the draw.
Oh, I should mention the weather forecast has worsened from Sunday, with the main site I use now predicting 17mm of rain at Newmarket from Tuesday to Friday, with Thursday seeing the worst of it.
But, on the flip side, the ground is now good after a few drying days from Friday onwards, so hopefully it'll be good to soft - the ground on which Greek Order sluiced up in at Newbury. I will say the forecast seems to be changing by the hour, though (at the moment it has just got better).
Storm Agnes is coming to the UK but it looks like the west and the north are going to cop the bad stuff.
I have had a good look at the handicap for the past 24 hours and have come to the conclusion that I am going to wait until Thursday to play.
I think each way punters can be pretty sure of six places on the day and a similar set of prices for most of the field, but I will make a final sweep of the entries and prices before I file to see if I have missed anything.
Aside from the Cambridgeshire, the Sportsbook also priced up the Middle Park and Cheveley Park from a long-term, ante-post perspective at Newmarket, so they didn't have to start from scratch on Monday afternoon.
Relief Rally and Ramatuelle were the 5/23.50 joint-favourites for the Cheveley Park on Sunday (when there were 26 in the race), though the Exchange market was leaning heavily towards the former, and it was 7/18.00 and bigger the rest.
We found out why the Exchange market was firmly in the Relief Rally camp on the Sabbath when Ramatuelle wasn't confirmed for the race on Monday, and William Haggas's filly, now a 7/42.75 poke, looks to hold outstanding claims, with the field down to just 14.
As the clear form filly (though only by 1lb from Sacred Angel, who has been in the news of late due to her previous connection to John Dance), I wouldn't normally be in a mad rush to take her on. But Prime Art (rated 85 in Ireland) showed us once again when winning a Group 3 at Ayr on Saturday what a shallow pool of juveniles we have in this country and how vulnerable they are to improvers and raiders. Particularly improving raiders.
As such, the unbeaten French filly, 5/16.00 chance Jasna's Secret, has to be hugely respected and She's Quality also massively interested me at 50/151.00. The latter is that price in 14 places on Oddschecker as this column goes live, by the way, and two firms haven't even re-issued their odds.
If I knew She's Quality, a fairly expensive 195k yearling for the Quality Time Racing Syndicate (run her lads, you'll have no problem getting a drink in the empty Newmarket bars at the very least...), was definitely coming over I would have no hesitation in recommending a very decent each-way bet on the filly. I love the angle of her stepping down back to 6f.
I did ask around about her likely participation, but no joy with a yes or a no. Or even a maybe.
She has looked a non-stayer in her two attempts over 7f so far, including in the Group 1 Moyglare last time when sent off a 33/134.00 chance, and a patient ride over 6f could well see this strong-traveller take a big leap forward.
She shaped far better than a 7 ¼-length sixth of nine would suggest in the Moyglare last time, again tanking along in the rear, and coming with a promising run on the outside, which petered out in the closing stages.
And her previous second to Navassa Island over 6f at the Curragh, a race in which she led but got picked up late on, reads very well, too.
The winner ran well in defeat when third at Ayr on Saturday, the third won a Group 3 next time, and the fourth, Prime Art, landed a gamble in the aforementioned Ayr Group 3 race last weekend.
As maidens go, that was rather hot.
In between those Curragh runs, trainer Jack Davison brought her over to easily win a 15k stakes race at Newbury (he also had a Group 3 winner at that track with Thunderbear on Saturday), so that is another positive, I guess.
I was going to tip her at 50/151.00 win-only. Ideally, I want to support her each-way, but win-only is the way to go when I am not even sure she is going to make the journey.
To be honest, I may have a small each-way interest too myself, while playing mainly on the nose.
And the 50s is probably insulting too from a form perspective, as she is rated 98 in Ireland, not a million miles away from Relief Rally, who is on a perch of 106 in England.
And not a lofty perch for once.
This gives connections a very good chance of getting some Group 1 black type, if you ask me, Quality Time Racing Syndicate. She is currently 60.059/1 on the exchange in a very lightly-traded market.
Hang on, a very late update on She's Quality.
I have literally just heard, five minutes before this column went live, that she is an intended runner as long as the ground doesn't get too testing, so I am switching to an each-way recommendation at 50/151.00.
Again, when I looked on Sunday, River Tiber was edging favouritism on the Sportsbook at 5/23.50 over 11/43.75 Vandeek for the Middle Park at 15:00 (there were also 26 in this race then, and we are now down to 13), but the latter was the more popular on the Exchange.
Unlike the Cheveley Park, the big two were both confirmed on Monday, with River Tiber now a 7/42.75 poke and Vandeek at 9/43.25 and 7/18.00 and bigger the rest.
I can't see a bet at this stage, although it is interesting to see Paddy Twomey's Letsbefrankaboutit, third to Navassa Island and She's Quality in that Curragh maiden, entered. Given Twomey's weekend, and general excellence, I wouldn't be laying him at 20/121.00 myself.
We are down to just 15 for the Arc after Monday's first forfeit stage, though Continuous is widely expected to be inserted into the race on Wednesday, maybe along with the Niel winner Fantastic Moon (though connections were initially looking at the Breeders' Cup, then Japan) and even Nations Pride, when horses are allowed to be supplemented.
No-one has been mentioning Nations Pride as a possible supplement - maybe with good reason - but he hammered Fantastic Moon by three lengths over 1m2f on officially soft ground in Germany in late July (he made all there in a departure from previous tactics, so perhaps he was flattered to a degree), and the weather is coming in his favour.
This would be a bolder plan than going for the Canadian International at Woodbine on October 8th (which they bagged with the 7yo Walton Street in 2021) and an Arc win for Godolphin would give their underperforming season a massive, and much-needed, lift.
Who cares if he wins a soft Grade 1 in Canada for about 300K? Godolphin need a high-profile winner, and it is hardly as if money is any consideration if they supplement.
The ground was described as "very soft" by the course on Monday but it is t-shirt and sun cream weather for Longchamp this week, with blue skies and temperatures in the 20s.
A French expert on Twitter, Ande Humphrey, reckons they are 1.01 to water this week.
We will know the final field on Thursday after a live draw (ooh the anticipation) so punters will have 72 hours to trade the race.
The current betting sees Ace Impact head the market at 3/14.00 with the Sportsbook, with Hukum at 9/25.50 and Westover at 7/18.00. Continuous is also 7/18.00 if you want to take the risk now that he will be supplemented on Wednesday.
All are a bit bigger win-only on the Exchange, as you'd expect.
I'll leave the race until we know the final fields and the possibly all-important draw on Thursday, but a bold supplementary move by Godolphin for Nations Pride would very much interest me if the price was right.
He may be more of a 1m2f horse, though his 1m4f form is not too far off his best, but the Arc trip on decent ground is surely well within his compass.
Right, I have just had another scan of the Cambridgeshire and nothing doing for the moment. No bets for me, so no tip.
I may be back tomorrow once more weekend markets have been priced up, but no promises.
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