The Betfred Cambridgeshire is a Class 2 Heritage Handicap for runners aged 3 years and older, which is run over 1 mile and 1 furlong at Newmarket on Saturday, 30 September 2017 and is the first leg of the traditional Autumn double.
With an average field size of just over 32 runners during the past decade, the Betfred Cambridgeshire often provides an fiendishly difficult puzzle for punters to assess, due to the sheer number of participants and the unusual race distance.
During the past decade, 2 market leaders have obliged for a LSP of 5.00 points, whilst a further 6 of the remaining 8 winners were sent off at odds of 16/1 or shorter, with the 2 exceptions starting at odds of 25/1 and 40/1, which suggests that winners can come from just about anywhere in the betting market, although it often pays to concentrate on runners towards the front of the betting market.
It is also interesting to note that the winners of 3 of the last 5 renewals, Bronze Angel (2012 and 2014) and Spark Plug (2016) have all been entered in the race again this year.
Key Race Trends
For the purpose of this analysis I will be using the key race trends for the Betfred Cambridgeshire which were compiled by Kevin Morley and recently published in the Racing Post, although I suspect that similar analysis could be undertaken using trends from another source.
The Racing Post published 9 key trends for the Betfred Cambridgeshire, although I have added a further age related trend, so will be assessing the past winners and this year’s runners against 10 key trends, as follows:
Ran between 4 and 8 times earlier during the season: 10/10
Aged between 3 and 5 years old: 9/10
Previously won a race against at least 13 rivals: 9/10
Official rating between 91 and 104: 9/10
Previously won either a class 2 or 3 handicap: 9/10
Recorded best Racing Post Rating during last 12 months last time out: 9/10
Recorded a top 5 finish last time out: 9/10
Won earlier during the season: 8/10
Adjusted RPR within 6 lbs of top rated runner: 8/10
Carried no more than 9.02: 8/10
By multiplying the above listed fractions together it is possible to ascertain the theoretical chance of the winner meeting all of the key trends, which produces a figure of 27%.
Past Winners and Key Race Trend Scores
The next stage requires each of the last 10 winners to be scored based on which trends that they met or failed, in order to produce a typical profile score for the winner of the Betfred Cambridgeshire.
To do this, the top number of the fraction is awarded to a horse that has met each trend, whilst a horse that has failed the trend is awarded 10 points minus the value awarded to a horse that has met the trend, e.g. If a horse had an official rating of between 91 and 104 it would receive 9 points, whereas a horse that had a rating either higher, or lower than the ideal level would be awarded 1 point.
The previous 10 winners of the Betfred Cambridgeshire were therefore scored as follows:
2016: Spark Plug: 76 pts
2015: Third Time Lucky: 80 pts
2014: Bronze Angel: 88 pts
2013: Educate: 76 pts
2012: Bronze Angel: 88 pts
2011: Prince Of Johanne: 82 pts
2010: Credit Swap: 72 pts
2009: Supaseus: 74 pts
2008: Tazeez: 72 pts
2007: Pipedreamer: 88 pts
As the maximum score possible is 88 pts, it can be seen that 3 of the past 10 winners (30%) of the Betfred Cambridgeshire achieved all 10 of the key trends prior to winning the race, which is slightly higher than the theoretical figure of 27%, which was calculated earlier.
The 3 winners to have met all 10 of the key race trends were Pipedreamer and Bronze Angel (2012 and 2014), who were sent off at odds of 5/1, 9/1 and 14/1 respectively, but as it would require a Herculean undertaking to score all of the 321 horses that have participated in the Betfred Cambridgeshire during the past decade, it is not feasible to confirm whether backing all runners that met all of the trends would have been a profitable strategy to follow in the race.
However, the fact that all of the last 10 winners have achieved a score of at least 72 points, which equates to just under 82% of the maximum points available, suggests that punters should perhaps be wary of any runner that has not achieved this figure.
It is also worth noting that there are a number of other trends/statistics linked to the Betfred Cambridgeshire that may be worth considering, especially when attempting to narrow down the shortlisted runners to produce the final selections for the race, as follows:
7 of the last 8 beaten favourites were 3yos.
5 of the last 10 winners had previously won over both 8 and 10 furlongs.
The impact of the draw is difficult to fathom as winners have come from across the spectrum: stalls 1 to 9 (2 winners), stalls 10 to 25 (5 winners), stall 26 or higher (3 winners).
John Gosden has trained 2 winners during the past decade (Pipedreamer in 2007 and Tazeez in 2008).
Marcus Tregoning has also struck twice during the period (Bronze Angel in 2012 and 2014).
Initial Key Race Trend Scores
There are currently 134 entries listed on the Racing Post iPad edition for the Betfred Cambridgeshire which makes it impractical to score all of the possible runners at this stage.
However, I thought that it may be interesting to assess the top 10 entries in the betting market, as these are likely to be of most interest to many ante post punters, as follows:
Thundering Blue (12/1): 82 pts
Big Country (16/1): 82 pts
Naval Warfare (16/1): 74 pts
El Hayem (20/1): 80 pts
Khairaat (20/1): 44 pts
Victory Bond (20/1): 30 pts
Chelsea Lad (20/1): 60 pts
Qassem (20/1): 78 pts
Banksea (20/1): 50 pts
Very Talented (20/1): 50 pts
As things currently stand, there are 5 entries amongst the top 10 in the current betting market that have either achieved or exceeded the minimum threshold score of 72 points (all qualifiers marked in bold), although none of them have met all 10 of the key race trends.
However, the position may change, should neither of the current joint top weights Carry On Deryck, or last year’s victor Spark Plug be amongst the final declarations, whilst the non participation of the current top rated entry based on Racing Post Ratings, Candelisa (currently 85th of the entries in the handicap) would also generate some amendments, as would an improved performance of a number of entries in their preparatory races, or the use of a claiming, apprentice jockey for those entries that are due to carry more than 9.02, so there are clearly plenty of possibilities for change between now and race day.
Personally, I am not inclined to place any ante post wagers on this event at this time and will await the publication of the final declarations prior to considering my selections for the race, but I will be happy to score any of the remaining runners for readers on receipt of a request via the comments section at the foot of this blog.
I will also provide a further update, once the 5 day entries have been published.
In the meantime, I hope that readers have found this analysis of interest and as usual, I would welcome any comments and feedback and if you have enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share the link on social media, with your friends and contacts who are interested in horse racing.
Finally, I wish all readers the best of luck with their selections for the Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap.