2018 Cambridgeshire Handicap Odds and Betting Preview
A maximum cavalry-charged field of 35 runners will go to post on Saturday afternoon – race time 15:40 GMT – at Newmarket racecourse for one of the most competitive handicap races of the season – The Cambridgeshire.
The Cambridgeshire Handicap is a British flat race held annually in late September or early October. The contest is raced over one mile and one furlong and is hosted on the famous Rowley Mile course. The Cambridgeshire Handicap is open to thoroughbred racehorses aged three years and older, who will compete for a total purse of £160,000, with the winner collecting a fraction short of £100,000.
Newmarket’s three-day Cambridgeshire fixture begins on Thursday, which forms as part of the Autumn Double at the iconic venue. The Autumn Double culminates with The Cesarewitch Handicap that takes place at Newmarket in two weeks’ time. Both races were formed back in 1839, and have since become two of the most prestigious handicap races in the British racing calendar.
A pair of indicators to suggest the competitive nature of this particular race is that just seven horses have gained more than one victory in the race in its almost 180-year history. Last season’s 1-2-3 were priced at 50/1, 100/1 and 50/1 which also highlights that it is not always sensible to just look at the market leaders in the betting for the winner.
This article was unfortunately compiled before the benefit of seeing the final declarations on Thursday lunchtime, but we will take a closer look at some of the potential winners of this ultra-competitive race to attempt at pointing our readers in the right direction of a profitable selection.
The David Barron-trained Kynren has the unenviable position of being the bookmakers’ consensus of ante-post favourite in the lead-up to The Cambridgeshire at 8/1, while Ladbrokes and Betfred, go the best industry price of 9/1.
Kynren was unraced as a two-year-old but quickly racked-up three wins in his debut season, following other consistent efforts leading up to this race. The four-year-old gelding’s neck defeat to Poet’s Society at York back in August was an excellent effort, but the extra furlong here, even with the urgings of top jockey William Buick may not be enough for him to succeed.
Haggas’ Three-Pronged Assault for Success?
Local trainer to Newmarket, William Haggas could have three chances to claim The Cambridgeshire on Saturday with Alfarris at 9/1 with Betway and William Hill; Seniority, at a generally available 16/1, while Original Choice is a widely available 25/1 chance.
Of the trio, I would prefer to focus upon Alfarris and Seniority. The former won well at the Glorious Goodwood meeting back in July and followed that up with a solid runner-up effort over a furlong further than the Cambridgeshire trip at York last month. Alfarris has not been out of the first two in his four starts this season, will like the ground and races well off a fast gallop – one for the shortlist.
Seniority, owned by none other than The Queen, could also run very competitively, if the ground remains no worse than good. After three wins already, this season, Danny Tudhope takes the ride and Haggas surely looks to have a strong hand in this year’s race.
Wary of Wissahickon
John Gosden has won the Cambridgeshire three times, but not since 2008. His best chance of the race looks to be with Wissahickon, who has already been chosen by Frankie Dettori. The general price of the three-year-old is 12/1, but you can expect that price to shorten further leading up to the race, considering the trainer and jockey combination.
Wissahickon has been highly progressive and claimed a stylish win last time out at Chelmsford. He has an exceptional pedigree and could still offer improvement from a six-pound rise in the weights following his most recent victory. Another thing to consider is the five-pound weight allowance that three-year-olds get in this race, which effectively puts him just one pound higher than his previous run.
The standard of top-quality racing and prize money at Newmarket over the next three days dictates interest from over the Irish Sea and Aidan O’Brien has Kenya as his only entry left in the race.
If – and it is an if – Kenya takes his chance, it can be taken as a tip in itself. The Galileo colt – a 14/1 chance with SportingBet and William Hill – was an impressive winner of the Irish Cambridgeshire on his penultimate start and backed that up with a fine effort to finish second to stablemate I Can Fly in the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions weekend.
Ryan Moore is likely to be free to ride the colt and Kenya, provided he takes his chance could give O’Brien another big prize here.
Others of Note
Without attempting to bore you, I will briefly add another four horses to the considerable number of potential contenders for the race.
The aptly-named Very Talented will run in the Godolphin blue and partnered by outstanding apprentice Rossa Ryan, claiming three pounds off. The five-year old finished third in the 2016 Cambridgeshire and won nicely at Chelmsford recently. Very Talented could run well again at 14/1 with William Hill.
Do not rule out another three-year-old from the Gosden yard in Stylehunter. He gets in off a light weight and can run well at a generally available 14/1.
The Charles Hills trained Afaak has seen some recent activity within the ante-post markets in recent hours and the mount of Dane O’Neill can perform admirably at the stand-out odds of 20/1 with 188Bet.
Emerging Northern trainer, Keith Dalgleish could send his Euro Nightmare to Newmarket, with apprentice jockey Cameron Noble taking off five pounds. At 33/1 with 188Bet, he may outrun his odds if the going stays good.
In all honesty, the Cambridgeshire is a race for small stakes. 35 runners mean that you could pick ten horses in the race and still not get the winner. It is highly difficult, but very rewarding if selecting the right animal.
I tend to offer two selections for my betting previews, but in light of such of a competitive field, I will suggest three on this occasion. I would also say that do not be put off by the ones that have been covered above but not selected in the final three, as I believe all of the aforementioned could potentially win.
Narrow preference is for Wissahickon, Very Talented and Euro Nightmare but in a tough race, all three are each way punts.
- Wissahickon each-way at 10/1 with 188Bet
- Euro Nightmare each-way at 33/1 with 188Bet.