Sacred Act: the five-year-old has raced just five times in his career
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By Graham Dench 6:17PM 20 SEP 2016
BOOKMAKERS may have made John Gosden’s Sacred Act the outright favourite for Saturday’s Betfred Cambridgeshire but Frankie Dettori, the man to be tasked with riding the five-year-old, on Tuesday expressed doubts over the horse’s chances.
The now 8-1 shot, who made a winning return to the track earlier this month over a mile at Sandown, has just five career starts to his name and has never raced in a field of more than ten runners – both factors the three-time champion jockey feels the son of Oasis Dream has to overcome.
‘He lacks experience’
Speaking at Lingfield, where he rode a double, Dettori said: “He’s a nice horse but if I had to be critical I would say he lacks the experience of those well-seasoned handicappers, and he has the draw and the pace and so on to negotiate.”
Dettori seems to be the only one with concerns if reports from Paddy Power are to be believed, with the firm reporting such considerable support for the horse they have now been forced to cut into their outright market leader.
Spokesman Paul Binfield said: “The gamble on Sacred Act is becoming reminiscent of those on John Gosden’s Halling and Pipedreamer and, if this weight of money continues, the recent Sandown winner could well go off at around 5-1.”
Sacred Act did not make his debut until three, which he won, before finishing fifth of eight in the Esher Cup and not being seen again on a racecourse until the following spring. He raced twice at four, again with both runs coming in the month of April, finishing last on his first start before finishing half a length behind a then 91-rated Lightning Spear in an all-weather handicap at Lingfield when in receipt of just 3lb.
With Lightning Spear now a Group 2 winner, and Sacred Act carrying just a 4lb penalty for his recent Sandown win – meaning he is officially 3lb well-in having been raised to a mark of 96 – it is easy to see why punters have latched onto the five-year-old, even if Dettori has his doubts.