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

Ascot Parade Ring 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.

Other Trends

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

OLBG Park Stakes, OLBG Branding 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.

Key Race Trend Scores at the 5 Day Entry Stage

There are 77 entries remaining at the 5 day stage, so with a maximum field of 35 runners, it would seem inappropriate to score all of the possible runners.

However, I have scored the top 40 entries in the handicap, which should provide the bulk of the final field, as follows:

Carry On Deryck: 44 pts
Master The World: 52 pts
Gm Hopkins: 44 pts
You’re Fired: 54 pts
Central Square: 46 pts
Banksea: 68 pts
Linguistic: 44 pts
Yattwee: 66 pts
Eddystone Rock: 56 pts
Big Country: 82 pts
Tha’ir: 50 pts
Sir Chauvelin: 66 pts
Qassem: 78 pts
Very Talented: 42 pts
Chelsea Lad: 60 pts
Hibou: 58 pts
Weekend Offender: 58 pts
Briardale: 72 pts
Greenside: 56 pts
Bravery: 66 pts
Battle Of Marathon: 52 pts
Dark Red: 60 pts
El Hayem: 72 pts
Dolphin Vista: 58 pts
Leader Writer: 80 pts
Bless Him: 74 pts
Kings Gift: 60 pts
Novoman: 74 pts
Lord Of The Rock: 72 pts
Examiner: 56 pts
Isomer: 42 pts
Captain Cat: 52 pts
Cote D’Azur: 72 pts
Thundering Blue: 82 pts
Naval Warfare: 80 pts
Brorocco: 72 pts
Nicholas T: 56 pts
Secret Art: 66 pts
Red Tea: 58 pts
Sands Chorus: 48 pts

Grouped Horses Although none of the top 40 entries in the handicap have met all the key race trends, there are currently 12 possible runners who have either achieved, or surpassed the minimum threshold score of 72 points (all qualifiers marked in bold).

However, the scores could still change significantly due to a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the runner with the current highest adjusted RPR is Fire Brigade, who is currently ranked 59th in the handicap and is therefore unlikely to make the final cut, in which case quite a few of the top 40 entries will have their scores boosted by 6 points.

I will provide a further update, including updated scores for all of the confirmed runners, once the final declarations have been published on Thursday.

Key Race Trend Scores at the Final Declaration Stage

A maximum field of 35 runners has been declared for the race, including 2 runners (Mulligatawny and Sinfonietta) that were not scored against the trends at the 5 day stage, whilst as expected the top rated horse based on adjusted RPRs (Fire Brigade) failed to make the cut, which has resulted in a widespread revision of the scores, as follows:

Carry On Deryck: 50 pts
Master The World: 58 pts
Gm Hopkins: 44 pts
You’re Fired: 60 pts
Central Square: 52 pts
Linguistic: 50 pts
Eddystone Rock: 62 pts
BIG COUNTRY: 88 pts
Tha’ir: 50 pts
Sir Chauvelin: 72 pts
Qassem: 78 pts
Very Talented: 42 pts
Chelsea Lad: 66 pts
Weekend Offender: 64 pts
Briardale: 72 pts
Greenside: 56 pts
Bravery: 72 pts
Battle Of Marathon: 52 pts
El Hayem: 72 pts
Dolphin Vista: 58 pts
Leader Writer: 80 pts
Kings Gift: 66 pts
Novoman: 80 pts
Examiner: 56 pts
Captain Cat: 52 pts
Cote D’Azur: 72 pts
THUNDERING BLUE: 88 pts
Naval Warfare: 80 pts
Brorocco: 80 pts
Nicholas T: 62 pts
Secret Art: 72 pts
Red Tea: 64 pts
Sands Chorus: 56 pts
Mulligatawny: 54 pts
Sinfonietta: 50 pts

St Leger 2012 There are now 13 confirmed runners who have achieved, or surpassed the minimum threshold score of 72 points (all qualifiers marked in bold), including BIG COUNTRY and THUNDERING BLUE, both of whom have met all the key race trends.

I will consider all of the qualifiers in more detail, including the application of some further trends over the next 24 hours, which will hopefully reduce the rather extensive shortlist down to a more manageable group, from which my final selections will be made.

Final Comments and Selections

With a shortlist of 13 runners to cover, I intend to whittle them down, using some additional trends, as follows:

All of the winner this decade had recorded a RPR of at least 95 on their latest start, with 132 beaten horses having having failed this trend.

The following 3 shortlisted runners have failed this trend:
Briardale: 38
Cote D’Azur: 80
Secret Art: 93

All of the last 8 winners have raced at least 10 times earlier in their career, so the following lightly raced horses have failed this trend:

Qassem: 9
El Hayem: 9
Naval Warfare: 8

8 of the past 10 winners had raced during the previous 6 weeks, which is a negative for the following runners:

Big Country: 77 days
Sir Chauvelin: 56 days
Briardale: 77 days
Cote D’Azur: 71 days

Only 1 winner during the past decade had yet to race over further than 8 furlongs, which suggests that the following runners may lack the necessary experience over further:

El Hayem
Naval Warfare

After applying the above additional trends, only 5 runners have met all of the latest requirements, namely:

Bravery: has failed 2 key race trends, as he managed only 7th place last time out and did not record his best RPR for the last 12 months in that race. Although he has finished outside the places on all 6 attempts since winning the Lincoln at Doncaster on the opening day of the turf season, he is now rated 3lbs lower than when winning that prestigious handicap over 1 mile. A return to that level of form in a race that should be run at a frenetic pace that should suit him, may just see him sneak a place at big odds.

Leader Writer: has failed just 1 key race trend, as he has yet to win a race with 13, or more runners. It is also a little concerning that his only attempt over further than 1 mile resulted in him finishing last of 9 runners, albeit in a Listed race in France on good to soft ground. However, he won last time out over 1 mile at Ascot on soft ground as can effectively run off a mark which is 2 lbs lower than his revised BHA rating, so is technically well handicapped. Most of his best form in France was on soft/heavy going, which suggests that he is a major contender provided the ground is riding on the slow side at Newmarket on Saturday.

Novoman: has failed 1 key race trend, as he is yet to win a race with at least 13 runners. He is an improving 3yo, who has won his last 2 starts since being upped in trip to 10 furlongs. However, he has to prove that he is just as effective now dropped in trip to 9 furlongs and would probably not want too much rain, as all 3 of his career successes have been on good, or faster ground (has been placed on slower).

Thundering Blue: has met all the key race trends and whilst he failed to win any of his first 9 career starts, he has made up for lost time with 3 consecutive victories. All of his wins and best RPRs have been over 10 furlongs, so there is a slight question ,ark as to whether he will cope with the drop in trip to 9 furlongs, whilst his usual hold up style of running may not be suited to this race, as all of the last 10 winners have raced prominently.

Brorocco: has failed 1 key race trend, as he has already raced 9 times so far this season. However, he appeared to be in fine form when winning a 19 runner handicap at Newbury last week and can race off a mark of 93 (including 4 lb penalty) here, which is 2lbs below his revised rating, so is another who is technically well handicapped. Although most of his best form has been achieved over 10 furlongs, he did win a race at Yarmouth over 9 furlongs last year, so will probably cope with the drop back in distance, however slow ground may be an issue, as he has generally been raced on good or faster going during his career.

It has not been easy to decide on which runners should be discarded and those that should be backed as they all have relatively strong claims, however having taken another look at the weather forecast for Newmarket, it would appear that there is little likelihood of further heavy rain, whilst the chance of the ground drying out to provide genuinely good going is also fairly small.

The first shortlisted runner to be discarded is the current favourite Thundering Blue, as his current odds of around 7/1 are too short in my opinion, bearing in mind that he has shown all his best form over 10 furlongs and his normal hold up style of running may not be suited to the demands of this race.

I will also discard Leader Writer, as I doubt that there will be enough juice in the ground to suit him, as his profile screams that he needs soft, or heavy going to show his best form.

In my opinion, Novoman would be better suited by going described as good, or faster which he is unlikely to have if the weather forecast is to be believed, plus he has a similar profile to Thundering Blue, in that his improvement has coincided with the step up in trip to 10 furlongs.

Horse Racing Finish That leaves just BROROCCO and BRAVERY to be backed.

I guess there is a slight doubt that the ground may be a bit slow for BROROCCO, but he appears to travel supremely well in his races and has won twice after short breaks between his races (less than 2 weeks), so he is worth chancing bearing in mind he appears to be on the upgrade and is 2lbs well in.

As for BRAVERY, he is far from consistent and will need to improve on his most recent form, but is well weighted being 3 lbs lower than for his Lincoln win at the start of the season and he should be suited by the end to end gallop on this straight course and at current odds, I can’t resist a speculative each way bet.

RECOMMENDED BETS:

1pt each way BROROCCO at 12/1 BOG with William Hill who are paying 1/5 odds on an incredible 8 places (14/1 is available with other bookmakers who are offering fewer places).

0.50 pts each way BRAVERY at 33/1 BOG again with William Hill (40/1 is available elsewhere, but with fewer places).

Odds correct at 4.30 pm on Friday.

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.