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Performance metrics: it could be worth going low in Cambridgeshire charge

Dolphin Vista rattles home for a shock success
Dolphin Vista: showed that there is not always safety in numbers in the CambridgeshireCredit: Mark Cranham

The Cambridgeshire often produces the biggest Flat field of the year in Britain and being able to predict the way a large field behaves is no easy task.

The fact the race takes place over 1m1f makes it even more difficult compared with the likes of last week's Ayr Gold Cup. Sprinters can be better relied upon to keep up a good gallop from the start than those racing over virtually middle distances.

A basic heatmap, derived from recorded first-furlong speeds of the runners, shows that the known pace is mostly in the lowest third of the draw.

Heatmap of pace in the Cambridgeshire
Heatmap of pace in the Cambridgeshire

Treat this information advisedly, however, as tactics are a greater part of the equation than at Ayr. While the pure pace is more towards the middle, in the form of Another Touch and Chance, those horses are often asked to curb their natural enthusiasm. The habitual front runners are Al Jellaby (stall one) and Zhui Feng (four), who still show up as pace angles in the data.

All may not be as bad as it seems for those drawn high, however. There is a bit of pace in the 20s and some of the totally unexposed runners like Majestic Dawn (20), Fifth Position (24) and Lord North (29) have shown early speed in their limited careers so far, but have not yet been suitably tracked to include in the data set.

Hopefully this discrepancy in how British racecourses record and publish data will be remedied in the coming years. For now, with the pace being so polarised, what we can predict with certainty is that the tendency for the Cambridgeshire field to split into at least two large groups will continue, and that the lower stalls represent the percentage call.

Juvenile burn-up could be on the cards

The data also had some interesting conclusions about the British Stallion Studs EBF "Jersey Lily" Fillies' Nursery Handicap at Newmarket (4.50).

A notably high proportion of the runners have fast strides (around 2.4 strides/second or higher), which are associated with sprinting.

A well-run race in which plenty do not get home could easily play out. If it does, the two who look best suited to take advantage are Dutch Painting and Separate.

Both have strides longer than average (which is associated with high levels of ability) and the right sort of cadence for the trip. It so happens that both improved for stepping up to 7f on their latest starts and the indications are that may well continue.

All data courtesy of Total Performance Data, whose tracking covers more than 20 courses in the UK and North America

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Published on 27 September 2019Last updated 19:06, 27 September 2019