Cambridgeshire Meeting: Five to watch at Newmarket this week

This year's Cambridgeshire Meeting will be behind closed doors.
This year's Cambridgeshire Meeting will be behind closed doors.

With the three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting kicking off at Newmarket on Thursday, Nick Seddon has picked out five horses to note away from the headline races…

While we will no longer see spectators at Newmarket this weekend, we do at least have three days of top-class action to look forward to, which features no less than seven Group contests across the meeting. 

That offering includes two top level contests on Saturday in the form of the Middle Park Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes for the two-year-old colts and fillies respectively, while the ensuing Cambridgeshire Handicap is one of the biggest betting races of the season. 

However, there’s a stellar supporting card to boot, and with that in mind, we’ve picked out some horses to note at the meeting - each of whom bring a different profile to the table. 

La Barrosa - Tattersalls Stakes (Thursday)

La Barrosa was an expensive purchase as a yearling, and he has a beautiful pedigree as a son of Lope De Vega, being closely related to several Group performers at a range of distances. He was an impressive winner on debut at Ascot at the beginning of this month, and now takes the step into Group 3 company in the Tattersalls Stakes, a race which has been won by the likes of Wichita (2019) and Elarqam (2017) in recent years.

It was difficult not to be taken with the way he travelled into proceedings at Ascot, quickly putting matters to bed once hitting the front, and he looks a very smart prospect for next year. Indeed, he's already available at the 50/1 mark for next year's 2000 Guineas, and bearing in mind that the form of his debut success has already been boosted by the third and the eleventh-placed horses winning subsequently, it looks worth keeping an eye on La Barrosa.

Tattersalls Stakes
La Barrosa silk

La Barrosa


Withhold - Rose Bowl Stakes (Thursday)

It's no surprise to see Mark Johnston's Mildenberger trading at a short price for this at the time of writing, particularly when you bear in mind that he goes well fresh, though in Withhold he's going to be meeting a worthy foe. Withhold is a seasoned name in the staying division, looking a lively player for the 2018 Melbourne Cup before suffering an injury in Australia, and he's largely held his own in some lofty assignments so far this term - which included finishing fourth behind Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup. He's picked up a win at this level already this season, having struck over two furlongs shorter on the July Course last month, and while he must carry a 3 lb penalty for that here, he's likely to get his own way in-front. He's about a solid a benchmark as you'll find at this kind of level, and having produced one of his best efforts of the season so far to finish second in a conditions race at Salisbury earlier this month, it would be no surprise to see him go close. 

Rose Bowl Stakes
Withhold silk



Born With Pride - Princess Royal Stakes (Non-Runner)

It feels like a long time now since the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton at the beginning of June, before which the filly Born With Pride was being touted as a three-year-old to follow this season. That was due to the nature of her impressive winning debut in a listed contest at Newmarket last November, a feat which is rarely achieved, though it's certainly fair to say that things haven't gone to plan for her in three starts so far this term. Having looked in need of the run at Kempton, she was a well-held fourth behind Santiago on her next start in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, and she was unable to get past fellow British raider Wonderful Tonight in last month's Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville, eventually fading into fifth.

She arrives here with something to prove as a consequence, and will face older rivals for the first time - including fellow Sunderland Holding-owned filly Sea Of Faith. Fellow three-year-olds Alpinista and Katara have rather improved past where Born Of Pride was at the beginning of the campaign, but that Deauville run represented a step back in the right direction, and she wasn't beaten too far in soft conditions. She's untried on good to firm going, but returns to the scene of her course and distance success, and she may be worth a look each-way at a double figure price. 

Princess Royal Stakes
Born With Pride silk

Born With Pride

Benbatl - Joel Stakes (Friday)

It seemed likely that we were going to see Benbatl in last month's Celebration Mile at Goodwood, though the difficult conditions that day meant that he was rerouted, and his campaign will now begin in the Group 2 Joel Stakes for the second year running, a race which he of course won in good style 12 months ago. It's perhaps strange to be talking about a campaign starting in late September, but Benbatl's campaign circles around the Dubai World Cup, a valuable prize which he was unable to have a shot at this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

He's a high-class operator on his day, as he showed when winning this by five lengths last year, and it's likely that this could serve as a warm-up race for next month's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day - provided that the going doesn't get too soft at Ascot. He sets the standard here on his peak form, and has won on the back of a long absence in the past, though he'd certainly have his work cut out with the 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, who would arrive here with a point to prove if taking his chance. He's been defeated in all three of his three starts since winning the first classic of the season, though there were mitigating circumstances for each of those - looking stretched by the trip in the International Stakes at York last time out - and his connections will be confident of a big run now returned to a mile. 

Joel Stakes
Benbatl silk



High Definition - Royal Lodge Stakes (Non-Runner)

While the Cheveley Park and the Middle Park are the key juvenile races on Saturday, the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes is more than adept at highlighting a star of the future, and the likes of Elm Park (2014), Roaring Lion (2017) and Frankel (2010) have won this in recent years. Aidan O'Brien has won the past two renewals with Mohawk and Royal Dornoch, and of his proposed quartet for this year's renewal, High Definition looks a lovely prospect. He has an excellent pedigree as a son of Galileo and a full-brother to the Group 3 winner Innisfree, and there was plenty to like about his effort to win on debut over a mile at the Curragh last month. Indeed, he did plenty wrong that day, taking a good while to get the hang of things, but it was difficult not to be taken with the way he made a sweeping move from last to first in the closing stages of the race, and there should be plenty more to come from this colt yet. 

Royal Lodge Stakes
High Definition silk

High Definition

Middle Park Stakes Odds
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