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There is something for everyone this weekend. A maximum field of 35 runners contest the Totesport Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday, a multi-dimensional problem to dissect and enjoy. On Sunday there are six Group One races at Longchamp including the world’s best middle-distance race, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
Tipping the winner of the Cambridgeshire is no easy task, but commentating on the race must be a cause of high anxiety. The last time there was a maximum field, in 2004, it split into three groups. The eventual winner was the unconsidered Spanish Don at 100/1 and as the commentator scanned the colours of the runners the sense of incredulity was palpable. No one should rule out a 100/1 shock today, but with the whole field available at each-way prices the best bet is to back the favourite Smart Enough.
He has to overcome a poor draw in the middle, but is the type of horse for this sort of race. He is only three and open to plenty of improvement, but oozes class. Yet if the draw puts you off it is well worth having a saver on Bolodenka. He looked decidedly unlucky last time when he had to travel very wide to get a run. Bolodenka is capable of taking a decent handicap and at 25/1 is an each-way steal.
The bookies can’t make up their minds on the Arc. Last year’s winner Hurricane Run is available at prices from 5/2 to 3/1, his stablemate Shirocco can be backed at 9/4 to 11/4 and Japanese raider Deep Impact is on offer from 5/2 to 11/4. The key variable is the weather. Deep Impact needs good ground. If the rain stays away he will be difficult to beat. If the ground is softer, Shirocco’s case is much stronger than Hurricane Run’s. However, a better bet if the ground is riding slow is Sixties Icon. The St Leger may be a devalued currency but there has never been an easier winner.
3:10 Newmarket – Red Evie (win)
3:45 Newmarket – Smart Enough (each-way); Bolodenka (each-way)
4:30 Longchamp (Sunday) – Deep Impact (win, if ground good or faster); Sixties Icon (each-way, if ground good to soft or softer)