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Rowleyfile Preview: Cambridgeshire Handicap

Rumour has it that Britain’s Brexit negotiators were warned that if they failed to find a deal acceptable to all parties, while simultaneously honouring international treaties and the Good Friday Agreement, they would be punished by being moved onto something REALLY hard, such as cracking the Cambridgeshire Handicap.

Rowleyfile Preview: Cambridgeshire Handicap

Rumour has it that Britain’s Brexit negotiators were warned that if they failed to find a deal acceptable to all parties, while simultaneously honouring international treaties and the Good Friday Agreement, they would be punished by being moved onto something REALLY hard, such as cracking the Cambridgeshire Handicap.

As intractable problems go, trying to figure out which of the 35 in-form horses due to contest Saturday’s bet365-sponsored event is a good bet or a bad bet is right up there. It would be easy to give up, but many of us don’t. Like Everest, we try to conquer the Cambridgeshire “because it’s there”.

A consideration of the evidence should help. The following looks at some of the key trends from the last 10 years, with high figures for “place impact value” (factor by which horses in a given category have made the first four compared to chance) and “% of rivals beaten” being the best.


There is not a lot in those draw stats (which have been recoded to allow for non-runners and changes in numbering in 2011), but there has been a slight bias against horses drawn very high and in favour of those drawn very low taken on the whole.

That did not stop Dolphin Vista winning from the equivalent of stall 28 last year, when the runner-up Sands Chorus headed straight to the opposite side from stall 21. And it did not stop a number of horses performing particularly well close to the stand rail on the opening day of Newmarket’s three-day meeting.

Nonetheless, those wider figures might make you think twice about siding with the likes of the fancied Stylehunter (stall 32) and Seniority (27).

It is also worth noting at this stage that the distribution of pace-forcers – those with Timeform EPFs of 2.2 or less – is greatest in stalls 6 to 20, while hold-up types dominate the higher-numbered ones.

Horses with good chances on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings have fared well, as you would expect, while a prominent last-time position has been good (if not as good for last-time winners as might be anticipated).

There is essentially nothing in those age-related figures over the last decade, but here it is worth introducing some more recent facts.

The general bias in favour of three-year-olds in longer-distance older-horse handicaps has been in evidence again this season, but it is persisting later than is sometimes the case. Three-year-olds running in Britain against their elders at 9f and more beat 54% to 55% of their rivals in May to August inclusive, and that figure is still at 53.6% in September.

There are five three-year-olds on show on Saturday, and that more recent evidence suggests they deserve plenty of respect.

In particular, I like the look of Kenya Horseform and Danceteria Horseform, who both showed up very well on sectionals last time, if for different reasons.
Timeform




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