Sir Busker tops weights in Cambridgeshire as he seeks to book QEII ticket

Thu 24 Sep 2020

Sir Busker could put himself in the frame for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes if he can make his presence felt in Saturday’s bet365 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

The four-year-old was last seen finishing second to Century Dream in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood, before which he also claimed the runner-up spot in York’s Clipper Logistics Handicap.

Beaten at York by William Haggas’ Montatham, the William Knight-trained Sir Busker is set to cross swords with that rival again as he shoulders second top weight of 9st 11lb in the handicap feature.

Sir Busker had an alternate engagement in Friday’s Joel Stakes, but Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owner Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds, feels the Cambridgeshire is a better option.

He said: “(Joel runners) Benbatl and Kameko are proven Group horses. Ultimately the prize money is more for the Cambridgeshire than it is for the Joel.

“We feel we’ve probably got a better chance in the Cambridgeshire than the Joel and the race is worth more, and he’s a gelding so it doesn’t really make a difference if he runs in a Group race. Running in a Group race is for prestige, which doesn’t really mean anything for a gelding, so we’re shooting for the money.

“We feel he’s got a better win chance – you’d probably have a better chance of being third in the Joel because there are probably only eight or nine in it, but he’s got a better win chance in the Cambridgeshire.

“It’ll be intriguing seeing him at nine furlongs as well. He should stay, but it could be interesting to see where we could go in the future.”

Sir Busker has been entered in the QEII on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 17, but Hoskins realises a Group One engagement might be too lofty an aim for the 111-rated performer.

He added: “He’s in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot, which is obviously shooting quite high.

“It’s probably unlikely – he’d have to go very close to winning the Cambridgeshire to run there.”

If ground conditions at Ascot were to prove unfavourable, however, overseas fixtures could be considered, or the four-year-old may simply be rested until next season.

“If the ground was heavy, we could just rough him off early and bring him back and there are international races that could be worth considering as well,” Hoskins said.

“We need to sit down and talk about those, but it’s not definite. This could be his last run of the season here, we’ll just see what happens on Saturday.

“These are nice problems to have, he’s just been such a star, he’s an amazing horse. As a two-year-old he started off rated in the 70s and now he’s rated 111 – what a journey. William’s done a great job and he’s just been a really brilliant horse.”

Sir Busker and Montatham are among 29 runners declared for Saturday’s showpiece handicap, with only Mick Channon’s Strensall Stakes winner Certain Lad above the former in the weights.

Haggas also runs John Smith’s Cup winner Sinjaari, who will be ridden by the red-hot Tom Marquand, as well as the prolific Ilaraab, the mount of Cieren Fallon.

Tempus runs for Roger Charlton, while Frankie Dettori rides John Gosden’s Al Rufaa.

Bell Rock, Derevo, Fifth Position and Lucander are among the other ante-post fancies set to take their chance.

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