Trainer Chris Wall is hoping that First Sitting can make a bold show in what is shaping up to be a vintage renewal of the Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, 24th September.
No less than 105 horses remained engaged in this nine furlong £160,000 heritage handicap following Tuesday’s scratching stage, representing a 19 per cent rise on the corresponding stage in 2015.
It has a maximum field size of 35, but those horses missing the cut will have the opportunity to contest the £30,000 Shadwell Farm Handicap (Silver Cambridgeshire) over the same course and distance on Friday, 23rd September.
First Sitting proved himself a strong Betfred Cambridgeshire candidate when winning the mile and a quarter Buy, Breed And Training In Germany Handicap at the Adnams July Course on 6th August with something to spare. He has since finished a solid second when stepping up to Listed company for the first time in the Prix de Boulogne at Saint-Cloud in France.
The massive entry includes the last four winners of the Bettered Cambridgeshire: Bronze Angel, who landed it in both 2014 and 2012; its 2013 hero, Educate; and last year’s winner, Third Time Lucky.
But the Betfred ante post betting market is headed by John Gosden’s Sacred Act, a very lightly-raced five-year-old who made a triumphant return from a 16-month absence at Sandown five days ago, and the David O’Meara-trained Firmament, a fast-finishing runner-up at Ascot earlier this month.
Chris Wall, trainer of First Sitting, said: “Providing First Sitting is still healthy and well in ten days’ time, the intention is for him to run in the Betfred Cambridgeshire.
“He won on the July Course last month and, though the Rowley Mile is a slightly different kettle of fish, I believe that victory shows that he should be able to cope with the demands of the Cambridgeshire.
“His latest run in France was a very good effort as the way that they race out there was never going to play to his strengths – he is better off a strong gallop.
“He should get an end-to-end gallop in the Cambridgeshire and the fact that he stays further than nine furlongs will be in his favour. I began the year thinking that he was a typical son of Dansili who needed plenty of juice in the ground but the ground was quickish for his last win so he is versatile in that department.
“The Cambridgeshire is a race that I hold in high regard and am always keen to have a go at. My best chance was [in 2008] when Premio Loco finished sixth after losing a shoe at halfway but I live in hope that things will click for us in it one day.”