Donn McClean previews the Cambridgeshire

10 min

You can’t really call it a shortlist when it stretches from the top of the page to the bottom. You just have to remember that you are not allowed to have all 35 horses on it.

It’s the nature of the Cambridgeshire.

Kynren is on the list anyway. He has been on it for a while now. David Barron’s horse has shaped all season as if there could be a big handicap in him, and he ran a big race at York last time when he just went down by a neck to Poet’s Society.

The handicapper has raised him by 3lb to a mark of 100, so he is going to have to progress at least a little from that York run if he is to win a Cambridgeshire. But there is every chance that he will progress. He has a nice progressive profile, and that York run was just his ninth run ever.

He has won three of his nine races, and he has only once finished out of the first three, in this year’s Royal Hunt Cup, when he raced on the wrong side and when he raced without cover for a mile. He may not have fully seen out the extended 10 and a half furlongs of the John Smith’s Cup at York in July, but he races over a mile as if he will get further, and it may be that this nine furlongs will prove to be ideal for him.

His chance probably would have been enhanced by a little bit of rain, but he goes well on fast ground, and he is a player.

Danceteria is also a player. David Menuisier’s horse has been on a serious upward trajectory all season. Winless in three attempts last season as a juvenile, he started off this term on a mark of 79. Dropped another 2lb after getting well beaten in a handicap that was won by Old Persian at Newmarket in April, he started his winning spree at Sandown in June. He won four on the spin, rising through the handicap ratings from 77 to the 104 off which he raced at The Curragh two weeks ago.

He could only finish fifth in that handicap at The Curragh, but it was a competitive handicap, he was beaten less than four lengths, and he did well to get as close as he did, coming from the rear in a race in which the prominent racers were probably advantaged.

He was a little keen that day, so the drop to nine furlongs and the faster pace that this large field should generate are positives.

He goes well on fast ground and, while he was well beaten on his only run on the Rowley Mile course, he is three for three on Newmarket’s July Course.

That said, at respective prices, Kenya is even more interesting. Winner of the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes last season as a juvenile, it took Aidan O’Brien’s horse a few runs to find his range this season, but his last two runs have been very good.

On his penultimate run, he put up a really impressive performance to spring a bit of a surprise in the Irish Cambridgeshire. The lesser-fancied of two Ballydoyle horses in the race, he raced prominently from flagfall and, despite coming under pressure early, he picked up well on the run to the furlong marker, and he cleared away to put three and a half lengths between himself and his pursuers by the time he reached the winning line.

The handicapper raised him by 8lb for that win to a mark of 106, but he was worth all of that, and he proved that he was worthy of a mark of that magnitude when he finished second behind his stable companion I Can Fly in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown last time.

I Can Fly & Ryan Moore (left) win the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes from Stable Companion Kenya & Seamus Heffernan (right) during day one of the 2018 Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin.

He set a fast pace that day. They went far faster than the fillies did in the Matron Stakes on the same day, and the winner came from last at the top of the home straight, so Kenya did really well to keep on as well as he did and take second place. He finished two and a half lengths in front of Pincheck, who had landed the Group 3 Desmond Stakes on his previous run.

It is interesting that Aidan O’Brien has decided to allow Kenya take his chance in the Cambridgeshire instead of allowing him run in the five-runner Group 2 Joel Stakes on Friday, in which he held an entry, and in which he would have been a player. His trainer obviously feels that he has a real chance of landing the Cambridgeshire.

The Galileo colt is only three and he has raced just eight times in his life, which leaves him with the potential to go higher than the handicap rating of 106 off which he will race. His inexperience should not be a negative either. He proved in the Irish Cambridgeshire that he could operate in a big-field handicap on a straight, galloping track.

He stays a stiff mile well and, while he was well beaten on each of the two occasions on which he raced over 10 and a half furlongs, he is by Galileo, and his half-brother by Zamindar, Shadad, won his maiden over an extended mile. He should get nine furlongs all right.

His prominent style of racing is not a negative at Newmarket, even in a Cambridgeshire and, in Seamie Heffernan he has a top-class rider who has ridden him just twice, in his last two races, when he has put up the two best performances of his life. There are lots of positives.

Click here for Matchbook’s latest Horse Racing markets