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Cambridgeshire report

If a typical big-field Saturday handicap is a cryptex, then Richard Fahey is the man with all the codes.  Last Saturday he won the Ayr Gold Cup with Don’t Touch, then yesterday, on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, he sent out Third Time Lucky to land the Betfred Cambridgeshire.

And just like Don’t Touch, Third Time Lucky is a progressive three-year-old who was competing against his elders.  It is often difficult for a three-year-old to get into these valuable all-aged handicaps.  There is a balance to be struck.  You need a high enough handicap rating to get yourself into the race, but a low enough rating to give yourself a chance of winning it.  Fahey is a master of that balancing act.

There was drama at the start of the race as Brendan Brackan emerged from stall six, ducked sharply and unshipped his rider.  That meant that Adam Beschizza on Third Time Lucky in stall seven had to change his plans.

“My aim was to get a lead from Brendan Brackan beside us,” said the winning rider, “but after he unseated his rider, we had to go to Plan B.”

Plan B went something like this: race prominently on the far side, towards the far rail, allow Master The World go a length and a half up on you at the furlong pole, then run him down on the run to the line and get up to win by a short head.

“When the other horse went past,” said Beschizza, “I thought that he had gone too soon.  He hung across me, but that gave my horse a chance to change his lead and get back at him.  I thought that we just got there.  It’s great to win the Cambridgeshire, but I can’t take any credit for it, he has been trained to perfection by Mr Fahey.  You just can’t beat riding for Mr Fahey on a Saturday.  Or on any day.”

The first four home all finished off their race on the far side, with the well-backed favourite, the Michael Halford-trained Portage, finishing fifth overall and doing best of those horses that raced towards the near side.

There were clues for next year’s Classics dotted around throughout the day with some top class juveniles competing.  The John Gosden-trained Foundation got the better of his duel with Deauville to land the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, and was cut to as short as 10/1 for next year’s Epsom Derby.

“He will learn a lot from that,” said winning rider Frankie Dettori.  “He will be a very good ride to have in the Racing Post Trophy.  A mile will be his minimum trip though, I think he wants further than that.”

Dettori doubled up on Shalaa, who justified odds of 1/2 when making just about all the running to land the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, also for John Gosden.  Bookmakers cut the Invincible Spirit colt to as short as 10/1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas, but it may be that he will not be asked to stretch out to a mile next year.

“He’s very, very fast,” said Gosden.  “He has so much speed, he has that sprinter’s build.  He reminds us all of (former champion sprinter) Oasis Dream, and he is not crying out for a mile.”

The other Group 1 race on the day, the Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes, was won by Lumiere, who also made all the running under William Buick, and got the best of a thrilling three-way go to the line to see off Illuminate and Besharah.  The Mark Johnston-trained filly was cut by several bookmakers to 8/1 co-favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas.

 © The Sunday Times,  27th September 2015