Betfred Cambridgeshire, 16:10
Handicaps don’t come tougher than the Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket but Stuart Williams has unlocked his fair share over the years and he is fancied to come top of the class courtesy of Examiner.
The Excellent Art gelding put up a cracking effort in the race 12 months ago when third, beaten a short head and a length, to Third Time Lucky and Master The World and it looks like his campaign has been engineered to improve on that effort this time.
Examiner once again showed his liking for the nine furlongs of the Rowley Mile course in April when beaten half a length by Knight Owl after not enjoying the clearest of passages and the winner has since acquitted himself well in the Ripon Rowels Handicap where he was beaten only a short head by Treasury Notes.
Examiner finds himself 5lb better off with that rival on this occasion and went onto beat Instant Attraction in the valuable Investec Handicap at Epsom in June off a mark of 92 and has been lifted 4lb for that victory.
That looks a reasonable adjustment and Williams could well have been keeping Examiner under wraps to protect his mark. His draw in stall 18 gives regular jockey Oisin Murphy the choice of racing on either side of the course wherever the pace looks strongest and, although he would ideally have been suited by a bit of rain, this Autumm ground should allow him to run up to his best. There is every chance that Williams can encourage further improvement from Examiner and he looks worth a 1pt each way investment.
Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, 15:30
Blue Point looks a worthy favourite for the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (3.30) and shouldn’t be opposed.
The Shamardal colt is probably a little unlucky not to come here with an unbeaten record as he still looked to be learning his job when failing by a neck behind Mehmas in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in July and showed the benefit of that experience when sluicing up by three lengths from Mokarris in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York in August.
The strength of his form has been underlined by Mehmas who has since run with credit behind the Ballydoyle juggernaut Churchill in the National Stakes at the Curragh and Blue Point looks worth a 2pt investment.