Weekend Racing Blog - Horse Racing Back Behind Closed Doors

First The Bad News

The ongoing coronavirus crisis took a huge turn for the worse for horse racing this week with the announcement by the government of restrictions that could see the absence of racegoers until next March.

It’s about balancing health with the economic well-being of the sport. However, as we are continually being told the Covid 19 pandemic situation changes from day to day. Even so racing in the UK takes place behind closed doors until further notice but another six months without spectators could be the worst case scenario.

A Cheltenham Festival without a crowd would be soulless. The Galway Festival went ahead in Ireland but it then became a week of mainly ordinary racing and not one of the best social occasions in the Irish sporting calendar.

Six months without racing fans at the tracks does seem at the extreme end of the projections. The health news could be better after a few weeks of localised lockdowns and less severe rules. I’d say it’s about 5/4 the King George on Boxing Day is seen by a crowd at Kempton.

But It Gets Better – The Cambridgeshire Is On!

Here are some 20-year betting trends for the bet365 Cambridgeshire on Saturday which is the first leg of the Autumn Double:

  • Average price of the winner: 20/1.
  • Range of SP’s: 9/2 to 100/1.
  • Favourites: 4.
  • Single figure winners: 8
  • Double figure odds winners: 11.
  • Treble figure winners: 1.
  • Most common SP range: six winners from 11/1 to 14/1.

The winning most age this century is four with seven wins and the age range of the winners is three to six. Since 2000, seven winners have carried nine stones or more.

Wissahickon (2018) (pictured above) and Lord North (2019) subsequently won Group races so they were in retrospect handicap good things so it does happen.

Who fits the bill in the field for Saturday’s maximum 35-runner handicap at Newmarket?

You can back Montatham at 12/1 with sponsors bet365* which seems a big price. The William Hill Haggas runner beat Sir Busker by a neck in a Class 2 handicap at York last month, carrying three pounds less.

He gets the same weight in the Cambridgeshire so these horses are evenly matched. It makes sense that Sir Busker is the same ante post price but Montatham is better placed to graduate to Group company after running a big race.

What is the bet365 Cambridgeshire?

The Cambridgeshire is a historic handicap race (first run in 1839) over one mile and one furlong on the Rowley Mile course at the HQ of Flat racing, Newmarket. It’s one of the most competitive handicaps of the seasons.

Each Way Betting (Win & Place)

The standard each way betting terms are one quarter the odds for four places but you can get usually find much better terms.

Some bookies are offering an extra place but there is a trade-off because each way bets will likely be settled at one fifth the odds. If you shop around you can even get 6-places at the likes of Betfair, Paddy Power and Boylesports.

If you want to back an outsider visit sponsors bet365* for the each way value. At the time of writing they are still best price or best joint price about three of the top five runners in the betting entered to run.

The downside could be reduced stake limits but you can only suck it and see. However, seeing the race in person is not an option just now! Over to you Boris to help our industry.

Is The Winner Of The 1,000 Guineas In The Cheveley Park Stakes?

In the gloom and doom of autumn and the global pandemic let’s look to next spring and the 1,000 Guineas. Hopefully, racegoers can get in to watch the race at the start of May.

The Cheveley Park Stakes is one of the major juvenile races for fillies and often identifies contenders for the next year’s opening Classic race.

The current favourite for Saturday’s six furlong Group 1 contest is Dandalla at 11/4 with bet365*. Miss Amulet is vying for favouritism and is being backed.

However, Happy Romance is also shortening in the 1000 Guineas betting and may be sent off at less than the best price of 5/1 with bet365*. She has won her last three starts and can go four from four at Newmarket on Saturday and then jump to the head of the 1,000 Guineas betting.

And finally…

The horse racing and betting industries have been exemplary in mitigating against the health risk from Covid 19.

It’s challenging to social distance in betting offices but bookmakers have put the best measures in place.

However, there is enough space on a racecourse for racing to be at the front of the queue when spectators are allowed to attend sporting events. We hope that’s not March 2021!