The Cambridgeshire Meeting is staged on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday in late September on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket, on the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire border, and culminates with the Cambridgeshire Heritage Handicap on the final day. The Cambridgeshire was inaugurated in 1839, the same year as the Cesarewitch, which is run over 2 miles 2 furlongs on the Cesarewitch Course at Newmarket two weeks later, and together they constitute the traditional “Autumn Double”. Nowadays, horses rarely, if ever, contest both races.
The Rowley Mile is an exceedingly wide, galloping course with a safety limit of 35 which, combined with the specialist distance of 1 mile 1 furlong and the typical assortment of entries, makes the Cambridgeshire a fiendishly difficult race to unravel. Three favourites have won the Cambridgeshire since the turn of the twenty-first century, but winners at 100/1, 50/1, 40/1, 33/1 and 25/1 in the same period provide an indication of the onerous task faced by punters.
Of course, the Cambridgeshire, climatic though it is, is just one of 22 races – not including the Shetland Pony Grand National Team Flat Race – run over the three days of the Cambridgeshire Meeting. The Thursday features the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes, an informative contest for juvenile colts and geldings, run over 7 furlongs, closely followed by the Listed Jockey Club Rose Bowl, open to horses aged three years and upwards, over 2 miles. The latter is a fairly recent addition to the Newmarket programme, having been run as the Fenwolf Stakes, at Ascot, until 2011.
Two Group 2 races, the Rockfel Stakes, over 7 furlongs for juvenile fillies, and the Joel Stakes, over a mile for three-year-olds and older horses, dominate proceedings on the Friday, while the Cheveley Park Stakes, for juvenile fillies, and the Middle Park Stakes, for juvenile colts, both run over 6 furlongs, are keenly anticipated Group 1 contests on the Saturday.