JOHN Gosden has won the historic Cambridgeshire Handicap (4.10pm) three times, but punters were dealt a bitter blow when his hot favourite Sacred Act was ruled out on Wednesday evening.
The lightly-raced five-year-old won impressively at Sandown earlier this month and many were hoping he would turn out to be the next Pipedreamer or Halling.
Eddystone Rock, who had also been well supported all week, was another not to be declared after an unsatisfactory scope.
Last year’s winner Third Time Lucky is bidding to become just the eighth dual winner of this race.
His first two performances this campaign were tame but his fifth at York last time was more like it and Adam McNamara takes 5lbs off.
Although he has to be respected, at the prices I prefer the claims of SPARK PLUG, who finished a nose in front of Third Time Lucky on the Knavesmire last month.
The five-year-old has always threatened to win a big handicap and this nine furlong trip is perfect. Brian Meehan had a winner on Wednesday and Spark Plug is a fair each-way price at 12/1 with Betway.
Hopefully his draw in stall 28 won’t be a hindrance, but it’s always worth having one on each side.
AMERICAN ARTIST will burst out of 12 and he looks a really interesting contender at 33/1 with Betway.
Admittedly, he’s not been at his best so far this term, yet he was sent off as the 11/4 favourite when finishing a close third in the Silver Cambridgeshire a year ago.
Roger Varian’s horses have been in flying form recently, while Harry Bentley is riding with plenty of confidence. He can outrun his price.
Knight Owl and Examiner, who finished first and second over course and distance at the Guineas meeting, are both respected and could go well.
The two-year-olds take centre stage on the rest of the card.
Lady Aurelia looked a world-beater when bolting up in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and will take plenty of catching in the Cheveley Park Stakes (2.55pm).
That said, she is short enough at 4/6 with Betway as this six-furlong trip will stretch her to her limits. She also faces a very smart filly in the shape of Queen Kindly.
There may be better value in the Middle Park Stakes (3.30pm) which arguably looks the best two-year-old race run so far this season.
Favourite Blue Point looked a bit special at York last time, while regular followers of this column will know how highly I rate Mehmas.
A strong case can also be made for Mokarris, but at the current prices, I’d rather concentrate on the Irish-trained pair of Intelligence Cross and PEACE ENVOY with slight preference for the latter.
My selection will be having his eighth race of a busy campaign, but he seems to be getting better with each run.
The key is the trip, as he has won two of his three races over six furlongs and was only just repelled late on in the other one.
Admittedly, he has to step up again to mix it with the best of these, but his fast finishing third in the Group One Prix Morny last time isn’t far off what is required.
Ryan Moore takes the ride and 12/1 looks a fair each-way price.
Peace Envoy 3.30pm Newmarket
Spark Plug e/w 4.10pm Newmarket
American Artist e/w 4.10pm Newmarket