Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course hosts one of the most attractive autumn festivals on the UK horse racing calendar, the three-day Cambridgeshire meeting. This sumptuous feast of racing action includes seven Group races, including two Group 1 contests, and culminates in the latest edition of the spectacular and historic Cambridgeshire Handicap. The Cambridgeshire was run for the first time in 1839, the same year as the Cesarewitch, and ever since then the two races, held a couple of weeks apart at Newmarket, have constituted the Autumn Double.
Finding the winner of one of these spectacular cavalry charges is difficult enough, while pulling off the feat of backing both is a rare and precious achievement. With up to 35 runners, the Cambridgeshire Handicap is always a thrilling sight and the fact that it is run over the unusual distance of nine furlongs adds to its mystique and allure. It’s not technically a sprint, it’s not a mile, and it’s not long enough to be a middle-distance race. It does, however, take plenty of winning and it always attracts a big crowd to the Newmarket Rowley Mile course.
Spectators are also drawn to the many other attractive features on the card on the final day of the meeting, Juddmonte Day, and on the two previous days that host several excellent races.
The Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting opens on Thursday with the highlight of the day the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes. There’s another Group 3 and two Group 2s on Friday. Saturday, however, sees a stellar line-up with the focus on this year’s classy juveniles before switching to the Cambridgeshire Handicap. The Cheveley Park Stakes for fillies and the Middle Park Stakes for colts, are both Group 1s with rolls of honour dating back to the 19th century. The Royal Lodge Stakes is a Group 2 which is notable for being one of the two-year-old prizes Frankel claimed in 2010 on his inexorable path to immortality. Without any doubt, Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting will attract the attention of fans across the country over three days of superb racing.
Despite the quality of all three days of the meeting, most of the Cambridgeshire tips at Newmarket will be focused on the race that gives this festival its name. This is one of the trickiest handicaps to solve on the racing calendar, and punters relish the challenge of trying to pick a horse to lead home the huge field charging across the Newmarket Rowley Mile course.
No horse has ever won the Cambridgeshire Handicap three times; only two horses have repeated the feat in the last 100 years and only one, Bronze Angel (2012 and 2014) has done so this century. Only four favourites have come home first in the last 23 years, and in the past decade there have been two winners at 40/1 and one at 50/1. That said, there are always ways to narrow down the field in a big race like this.
John Gosden is the leading trainer in the event with five victories dating back to 1994, including two of the last three winners. Frankie Dettori, still riding as well as ever, rode both of Gosden’s recent winners, and it will be intriguing to see how many contenders Gosden saddles this year – and which horse is Dettori’s partner. It’s also worth checking to see which horses thrive on wide, galloping tracks that are similar to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course, such as Doncaster and Newbury. One other useful statistic relates to the pace in the Cambridgeshire Handicap, which is always ferocious.
The race is known colloquially as a nine-furlong sprint – so you need to be sure your selection stays every yard of the trip. Horses whose most recent victory was over 10 furlongs have an impressive record in the Cambridgeshire – if you make such a runner your selection, you can at least be confident it will get the trip in this quirky and fascinating race.
The countdown is on to three fantastic days of racing over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course, with the highlight of the meeting the Cambridgeshire Handicap. Finding winners in such competitive races is always a challenge, but let’s find a favourite, contender and longshot worthy of some support this week.
The Group 1 Middle Park Stakes often provides a pointer to next season’s Classics. Many of this year’s entrants have shown only brief flashes of promise during their two-year-old campaigns and the jury is still out on horses like Ebro River, Lusail and Asymmetric. As a result, the verdict has to be that PERFECT POWER looks likely to justify favouritism on Juddmonte Day. Richard Fahey’s charge won the Prix Morny at Deauville last time out with an irresistible burst of speed and it is surely significant that his pilot that day, Christophe Soumillon, makes the trip to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course to take the mount again.
Uncle Bryn, trained by the master of the Cambridgeshire Handicap, John Gosden, looks certain to go off favourite for this year’s renewal. But there is compelling evidence that he should be opposed by ANMAAT, who put up a performance that had “perfect Cambridgeshire warm-up” stamped all over it at the Doncaster St Leger meeting. The Owen Burrows-trained three-year-old won emphatically over ten furlongs – always an indicator that nine furlongs at top speed will be no problem – and lowered the colours of the unbeaten Faisal in the process. Having thrived at Doncaster, the wide-open spaces of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course will hold no terrors for Anmaat, who looks to be one of the most compelling Cambridgeshire tips at Newmarket at decent odds.
Anyone looking for clues to next year’s Classic generation is in for a treat at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course on Juddmonte Day, with three excellent two-year-old Group races to enjoy. The first of these is the Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile, which features highly promising colts such as Masekela and Coroebus. However, it may be worth taking a chance here at decent odds on UNCONQUERABLE.
Donnacha O’Brien’s juvenile has been put in his place twice this season by Point Lonsdale, but there is no shame in that. He shaped in their most recent clash over seven furlongs at Leopardstown as if the extra furlong here might bring a bit of improvement, and he can get in the shake-up at a fancy price.
The Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes (G3)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) July 22, 2021
1430m, 50.000 EUR, for 2yo
Point Lonsdale (IRE)
(2C Australia @coolmorestud - Sweepstake, by Acclamation)
J : Ryan Moore
T : A.P. O'Brien
O : D Smith/Mrs J Magnier/M Tabor/Westerberg
B : Epona Bloodstock pic.twitter.com/8eX0VMSDnk
All eyes will be on Newmarket for the Cambridgeshire meeting, and naturally it will be televised. ITV4 is the channel to choose for the four main races on Saturday, as well as three races on Friday.
You can also catch coverage from the Newmarket Rowley Mile course on the specialist Racing TV channel. If you are not able to get to a television, there are still ways to watch the action. Any bookmaker that has a live streaming facility – and virtually all the leading operators these days do – will enable you to watch the action on its website or app.
When is the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket?
The 2021 Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting takes place across three days at the Newmarket Rowley Mile course between Thursday 23rd and Saturday 25th September. There are a total of 22 races across the three days, including no fewer than seven Group contests, making this one of the highlights of the autumn horse racing calendar.
Where is Newmarket Racecourse?
The Newmarket Rowley Mile course is located to the west of the town of Newmarket, in the wide-open expanses of rural Suffolk. This is the centre of British flat racing, and numerous trainers have their yards in and around the town. Newmarket itself is just over 60 miles to the north of London.
What should I wear to wear to the races at Newmarket?
Your choice of outfit for the Newmarket Cambridgeshire festival depends on which enclosure you plan to use. If you are heading for the Grandstand & Paddock or Garden enclosures, pretty much anything goes; however, if your ticket is for the Premier enclosure, you are expected to dress much more smartly.
What time is the first race at Newmarket on Saturday?
Racing on Juddmonte Day, as the final day of the Newmarket Cambridgeshire festival is known, gets under way at 1.15 with the first of seven good-quality horse races. The highlight of the day, the Cambridgeshire Handicap, is due to start at 3.40, with the final race scheduled for 4.50.