Why youth and inexperience are the key to Cambridgeshire success


With over 30 runners lining up one would expect solving the riddle that is the Cambridgeshire to be an impossible task.

You could also come to the conclusion that in such a big field it is best to side with the more experienced jockeys. However that is not necessarily the case.

When Louis Steward guided Bronze Angel to a second success in the race 12 months ago, he became the third winning jockey in a decade to still claim a weight allowance.

The pair team up again to search for an unprecedented third win in the historic handicap for Marcus Tregonning, and with Steward still claiming that all important 3lbs the task looks a doable one.

The difference a pound or two can do in a contest as competitive as this could go some way to explaining the relatively strong record claimers have had in the race in recent years.

While they may not be dominating the elder statesmen of the weighing room, they have been more than holding their own.

In the last seven years, 21 per cent of the places have been filled by claiming jockeys. That may not sound impressive, but counter that with the fact that they have made up just seven per cent of the riders and it is worth noting.

Furthermore, they have filled at least a place in eight of the last 11 renewals and on average just shy of one claimer has made the frame in each race in the past two decades.

The question then, is where to look for the 2015 renewal.

The aforementioned Louis Steward and Bronze Angel head the market as 8/1 shots, and warrant plenty of respect. He was a winner at Doncaster last time and clearly still possesses plenty of talent, but off a mark 9lbs above last year’s and 13lbs above 2012 he can be easily opposed.

Bronze Angel would be come the first three-time winner of the race

Bronze Angel would become the first three-time winner of the race

Another near the head of the weights, and probably requiring the assistance of Jordan Vaughan’s 5lb claim is Master Carpenter.

Rod Millman’s colt has been running with credit at Group level this season, most recently beat just three lengths in the Superior Mile at Haydock.

He won the John Smith’s Cup off a 6lb lower mark, but had Philip Makin on board that day, so is effectively only 1lb worse off.

Never out of the first three in five handicap outings, he will be expected to run his race and is consistent in terms of ground.

At 20/1 he could warrant plenty of value, but whether he is open to be usurped by something lower down the weights is a worry.

One of those could be Donncha, set to be partnered by Champion Apprentice-elect Tom Marquand.

The 3lb claimer was on board when Robert Eddery’s colt won at Goodwood in June, as well as finishing an excellent third in the International at Ascot.

Tom Marquand is five wins clear in the Apprentice Championship

Tom Marquand is five wins clear in the Apprentice Championship

He’s only gone up 2lbs in the weights for that result after finishing a respectable seventh of 18 in the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood.

The extra furlong that he would face at Newmarket could bring more out of him as well as any cut in the ground going in his favour, he might just be the value in the race.

Whichever one of the trio you think warrants the best chance, sticking with the up-and-coming claimers looks to be the way to go in the first half of the Autumn Double at HQ.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.