Racing: Chip a value gamble

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The Independent Online
TWO OF this week's feature races could scarcely provide a starker contrast. The Cambridgeshire at Newmarket next Saturday will, as ever, attract a tightly-handicapped and heavily-backed field of up to 40, but the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes on Wednesday will offer, at most, a miserable muster of four. An enterprising owner could have supplemented their cat for pounds 12,500 last week, with every chance of showing a healthy profit.

We should all be thankful that when a leading trainer commented, only half in jest, that he would like to see handicaps abolished, no one took the slightest bit of notice. The Cheveley Park pits Lyric Fantasy against Sayeddati, but from a punting point of view is less than invigorating.

The presence of Poker Chip (3.40) does provide a chink of light for speculative backers, though. Ian Balding's filly was a 33-1 chance when winning the Flying Childers at Doncaster, after a succession of problems had prevented her from showing her best, but is clearly talented and should be a value price to upstage the market leaders. Harvest Girl (3.05) and Deer Hunt (2.35) will also go well earlier in the afternoon.

Andre Fabre's decision to supplement Zieten for the Middle Park Stakes on Thursday is not a hint to be ignored, but the only way to get truly rich at this time of year is success in the Autumn Double, the Cambridgeshire and then the Cesarewitch two weeks later.

Methuselah was probably kept going in his old age by a desire to get the Double up, but while the good book is silent on the matter it seems unlikely that he succeeded - 900 years just is not long enough. Two Left Feet and Mellottie are a couple of suggestions for the first leg, with Star Player and Farsi nominated for the second.