Haggas team chase glory
William Haggas will be the envy of most trainers when he saddles six runners in the in the Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on Saturday.
The massively popular nine-furlong handicap has eluded the Yorkshire-born handler so far but he is hoping his mob-handed approach can reap its reward in the first leg of the autumn double.
He has two strongly-fancied runners in Queensberry Rules (drawn 18) and Graphic (20), ridden by Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori respectively.
But his other four - Arsaadi (11), Fury (27), Danchai (eight) and Nine Realms (six) - are not without claims either.
He admits having so many runners in not ideal in some ways, but it does give him a good chance of getting the first past the post.
"They are fully entitled to be there, so we will see how we go," said the Newmarket trainer.
Ismail Mohammed has had this race as Educate's objective for some time and would see victory in one of Newmarket's most prestigious and historic races as a dream come true for his stable.
"He is training well and we have targeted him at this race. This is my dream, to win a big race at Newmarket," said the locally-based handler.
"I hope he should run well and keep all the staff happy. We have a good jockey (Johnny Murtagh). The horse stumbled when he rode him for the first time (third at Haydock) when he was cruising.
"It was bad luck for us. He should have won easily that day, but you never know in racing. It's fingers crossed."
George Baker has tasted success in a big handicap this season with Belgian Bill in the Royal Hunt Cup and hopes the five-year-old can repeat the trick.
"Belgian Bill is a Hunt Cup winner so we know big fields hold no fears for him. He ran very well on his penultimate run in France when he was second in a Group race at Deauville," said the Manton trainer.
"He wasn't beaten far in Munich last time when he got a bit stuck in the mud.
The ground will suit him better, so we are hopeful of another big run from him."
Baker also runs Jack's Revenge, who will be ridden by crack apprentice Oisin Murphy fresh from his triumph in the Ayr Gold Cup on Highland Colori last Saturday.
"It's a bit of a cliche but he's been threatening to win a big race at some point. He loves getting into trouble, he loves the hurly burly of these races," said Baker.
"He is in very good form and we've got the right man on top. We're off a very handy light weight which can make a big difference in these big races.
"We're looking forward to it. It's exciting to have two runners in a race like this," he said.
"They are spread across the track as well so one of them will be on the right side anyway.
"It's not perfect having six runners. They can't all win, but it's great to have a chance."
It would be a remarkable training performance by Marcus Tregoning should Bronze Angel follow up last year's victory on his seasonal debut.
No horse has achieved that feat since Prince de Galles in 1969 and 1970, but just getting Bronze Angel to defend his crown is a feat in itself.
"He had a setback so we have not been able to run him. But he is moving very well now and has done plenty of work so I am hopeful that he will give a good account of himself," said the Whitsbury handler.
"Last year I was very confident that he was the best horse at the weights, but he only just scraped in off bottom weight. It was just a matter of getting into the race - I wasn't worried about anything else.
"It's hard to say how he is now compared to 12 months ago and it is always very tough in a race like this where they are sure to go very fast, but he seems to be in very good form.
"It would be lovely to win the Cambridgeshire again. I was looking through the records the other day and it would be really special to emulate Prince De Galles as I worked with him for a while when he was a stallion."
Henry Candy saddles Code Of Honor in the hope of trying to emulate his father Derek, who won successive Cambridgeshires with King Midas (1971) and Negus (1972).
"The horse is in great form. I just wished it hadn't got hot and sunny and had just rained a little bit," the Kingston Warren trainer told Racing UK.
"Richard Hughes rode him the other day over a mile and a quarter in a trappy race at Goodwood and he said he would prefer to ride him over a mile when they go a bit quicker and he can go through beaten horses at the end. I think this is the next best thing.
"There will be a huge field and they'll go a million miles an hour."
Brian Ellison will make an early check on the course before deciding whether to let leading contender Top Notch Tonto take his chance.
The North Yorkshire handler would like to run the progressive three-year-old, who officially has 13lb in hand, but is wary of risking him on quick conditions.
He is handicapped on a mark of 99 for this nine-furlong cavalry charge but is now rated 112 after winning the Group Three Superior Mile at Haydock off 95.
"He's flying. I'm delighted with the draw (24), but it's just the ground I'm worried about it," said Ellison.
"He likes good ground and it was good on Thursday, but it's going to dry up.
"I'm staying over and I will walk the track in the morning. I will speak to the owner and we will make a decision
"We would all like to run and it's his last chance in a handicap - he's rated 112 now - for that kind of money, but the owner doesn't want to take any chances with him.
"He won at Newmarket on good to firm (over a mile in July), but they don't want to be going on it very often."
Ellison has no qualms about conditions for his other runner Pacific Heights, who has sneaked in at the bottom of the maximum 35-strong handicap.
"He's done nothing wrong. He's won three of his last four, he's down at the weights and has never stopped improving all year," he said.
"He loves fast ground and I think he'll run well."