The culmination of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting arrives on the Saturday, with the seven-race card headlined by the contest which gives its name to the meeting. It may only be a handicap event, but when it comes to big autumn betting heats, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Cambridgeshire.
A bumper field of over 30 runners usually go to post for one of the true cavalry charges of the season, in a race which never fails to capture the imagination of the punting public. The Cambridgeshire is one of the very best handicap puzzles of the year will always take some solving.
The first Cambridgeshire was run in 1839, the same year as another big Newmarket handicap, the Cesarewitch. Together these two races are known as the Autumn double.
Cambridgeshire Handicap Past Winners
|2020||Majestic Dawn||40/1||Paul & Oliver Cole||Paul Hanagan|
|2019||Lord North||9/2||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Wissahickon||11/1||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2017||Dolphin Vista||50/1||Martyn Meade||George Wood|
|2016||Spark Plug||12/1||Brian Meehan||Jimmy Fortune|
|2015||Third Time Lucky||14/1||Richard Fahey||Adam Beschizza|
|2014||Bronze Angel||14/1||Marcus Tregoning||Louis Steward|
|2013||Educate||8/1||Ismail Mohammed||Johnny Murtagh|
|2012||Bronze Angel||9/1||Marcus Tregoning||William Buick|
|2011||Prince Of Johanne||40/1||Tom Tate||John Fahy|
|2010||Credit Swap||14/1||Michael Wigham||Jim Crowley|
|2009||Supaseus||16/1||Hughie Morrison||Travis Block|
|2008||Tazeez||25/1||John Gosden||Richard Hills|
|2007||Pipedreamer||5/1||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2006||Formal Decree||9/1||Alan Swinbank||Jamie Spencer|
|2005||Blue Monday||5/1||Roger Charlton||Steve Drowne|
|2004||Spanish Don||100/1||David Elsworth||Liam Keniry|
|2003||Chivalry||14/1||Sir Mark Prescott||George Duffield|
|2002||Beauchamp Pilot||9/1||Gerard Butler||Eddie Ahern|
|2001||I Cried for You||33/1||James Given||Micky Fenton|
About the Cambridgeshire Handicap
It’s not often you can watch a stampede of horses storm down the Rowley Mile but the Cambridgeshire Handicap makes it possible. Featuring a maximum of 35 runners, the one mile, one furlong contest is a true sight to behold on the final day of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Festival. It has long been an extremely tough race to win but doing so is rewarded handsomely with £120,000 up for grabs in 2020. Lucky punters can also find themselves scooping a big prize with long-odds winners part and parcel of this heritage handicap.
Born within weeks of the Cesarewitch handicap in 1839, the two races quickly became known as the Autumn Double. In the decades follow their creation, attempting to win both races was not unheard of with three horse successfully completing the double between 1876 and 1885. There’s not been another since though with the feat rarely ever attempted these days. Originally the Cesarewitch was the first on the calendar but a reversal of the schedule now sees the Cambridgeshire fall two weeks earlier on.
FOLLOW THE TRENDS
Regularly attracting 30+ runners, you’ll be forgiven for not analysing the form of every single horse named on the racecard for the Cambridgeshire Handicap. In order to whittle down the field before you dive into research, the first thing you should do is head to the race trends. By looking at the information of past winners, we can see some strong patterns that have emerged and ones that could well stay true for future renewals. One trend that immediately catches the eye is the age of the winners, something that makes for bad reading for older horses.
There hasn’t been a winner over the age of six since 1992 even though their rate of participation has averaged above 10% in recent years. It’s therefore a safe bet to cross off any older horses from your shortlist. Five year olds have also underperformed given how often they feature in this race, with four wins way below what you’d expect based on pure averages. Caution should therefore be applied when examining any five year old as a result but they cannot be immediately dismissed.
Another trend to watch out for is number of previous victories. This century there’s only been one horse who’s secured glory in the Cambridgeshire having failed to win at least three previous races. Winning experience is certainly needed but after three races the amount seems to lose significance.
Finally we would like to direct your attention to another interesting stat, one which points towards a long break being disadvantageous ahead of this handicap. Since 2000, only two horses won this competitive contest having not raced within the eight preceding weeks. The smallest rest period goes to 2008 champion Credit Check who was in action at Newmarket just two days earlier on!
A CHALLENGING DOUBLE
It’s not an uncommon sight to see horses entered numerous times in the Cambridgeshire Handicap, former champions being no exceptions. Recent examples of winners coming back for more are Educate and Prince of Johanne who both returned to Newmarket seeking an incredibly tough double win.
With so many horses going for gold, winning this race more than once seems near impossible but it’s been pulled off more times than you might think. Over the course of the handicap’s history, seven horses have claimed a repeat win, three doing so back to back. Bronze Angel is the most recent addition to the list, winning in both 2012 and 2014. A Newmarket regular, he featured in the Cambridgeshire a total of five times but 15th was his best non-winning finish.
MULTIPLE CAMBRIDGESHIRE WINNERS: 1839 TO 2019
|Prince De Galles||1969||1970|