MICHAEL PROSSER: Cambridgeshire meeting is set to dazzle

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The three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting has always been one of the jewels in the crown of Newmarket Racecourses.

The quality of the racing on The Rowley Mile starting today makes it one of the standouts among the flat racing festivals held in Britain.

The 22 races are worth more than £1.2 million in prize money which means the top training yards not only in Newmarket but right across the country have them in their sights.

One critical difference this year is that the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes returns to the Saturday of the meeting from the former Dubai Future Champions Day.

What is significant about this is that, with a two week interval until the new look Dubai Future Champions Festival, it is now possible for one horse to achieve the Middle Park-Dubai Dewhurst Stakes double, last achieved by the late Sir Henry Cecil-trained Diesis 33 years ago.

Today’s highlight is the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes, followed tomorrow by two Group 2s, each worth £100,000 – the Shadwell sponsored Rockfel Stakes and Joel Stakes.

On Saturday, as well as the drama of the Betfred Cambridgeshire, there are the Group 1 races, the Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes, which is sponsored by Juddmonte for the first time.

Juddmonte is also the sponsor of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.

The longest standing race at this most historic of fixtures is of course the Betfred Cambridgeshire, the first half of the famous Autumn Double which is completed on Dubai Future Champions Day with the Betfred Cesarewitch.

The Betfred Cambridgeshire is run over nine furlongs – the Cesarewitch twice that distance – and, with a field size limit of 35, is the race using starting stalls with the largest number of runners in the world.

Both races in the Autumn Double, which are among the biggest betting heats in the British racing calendar, marked their 175th anniversary 12 months ago, providing them a history stretching back to 1839 when the Grand National was first run at Aintree.

It’s not just about the high quality of horseracing at the Cambridgeshire Meeting, one of the highlights of the Gold Season on The Rowley Mile.

Newmarket Racecourses will be holding its very own beer festival.

There will be an array of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages on offer, including dozens of real ales and ciders in a marquee in the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure.

The beer festival marquee is also the location for live music each day.

Today, the entertainment comes from The Peas, tomorrow, it’s folk music from Anto Morra, and to close the meeting on Saturday, spectators can enjoy live folk music from The Tom Fairbairn Duo and later from The Cracklin Griffiths.

The after racing parties are free to attend for racegoers, so everyone is encouraged to put off the drive home and stay for the party.

Accompanied children aged 17 and under are admitted free to all enclosures.

On Cambridgeshire Saturday, there is free children’s entertainment too, including a fairground slide, a fun run, bouncy castle, face painting and Rowley’s Kids Club.

For all the details, including ticketing, visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk.