In 1867 The Cambridgeshire Handicap was at the time one of the major races of the season.
The flat racing season begun that year on 19th February, and The Cambridgshire was always a race that attracted many classic colts and fillies.
The 1867 race was no different and featured several of the classic generation, who lined up in a thirty three runner field at Newmarket. They included a classic winner in Baron Meyer De Rothschild's Oaks victor, Hippia and The Duke of Newcastle’s, three year old Julius (20/1), who had run in all three classics. Two weeks previously Julius had easily won the Cesarewitch and was therefore carrying a 7Ib penalty. The Cambridgeshire was Julius’s 19th run of the season! Another 1867 classic colt was Knight of the Garter (12/1) owned by well-known racing manager Captain James Machell.
Laneret headed the betting at 5/1 with champion jockey to be George Fordham in the saddle, closely followed by Honesty at 6/1 and Henry Chaplin’s horse Blinkhoolie, the unplaced favourite of the Cesarewitch at 100/8. Other interesting outsiders were Wolsey (ridden by the current champion jockey Sam Kenyon) and Lozenge at 22/1 who had both run in the Stewards’ Cup, where the former came 2nd carrying 6st 10Ib’s.
The start of the Cambridgeshire Stakes 1867 oil painting by Benjamin Herring is on display in the Museum galleries at the National Heritage Centre. The painting shows a dazzling array of the major owner’s silks after the red starting flag has just been dropped. Baron Meyer De Rothschilds, dark blue with yellow cap two from the left and Count Frederic de LaGrange’s blue, red sleeves and cap, four from the right are two that stand out.
The Prince of Wales was present and the national press described the weather as brilliantly fine and mild. ‘Sporting Intelligence’ in The Times on 23rd October 1867 reported on the Cambridgeshire Handicap Stakes;
‘The 33 competitors assembled at the post shortly after the time set down, but in consequence of the fractiousness of Jeune Premiere, Wolsey, Blinkhoolie and Julius, the start was delayed some time, which was further extended through Julius flinging out and striking Cannon severely on the knee and foot; in a third attempt he landed one on the ribs of Harry Brailsford [Cannon’s horse]. Fortunately the horse [Julius] was not placed, otherwise the effects would have been serious to both horse and rider.
Sufficient time having been allowed Cannon to recover from the shock, they were again got to the post and despatched to an admirable start, the lot leaving the starter in an extended line, which they retained unbroken for the first 50 yards. The running was then taken up by Wolsey, closely attended by Knight of the Garter, Lozenge, Wroughton and Actaea on the upper ground, with Laneret, Honesty, Leases, Captain Kidd, the Strafford colt, Corporal, and Nu occupying the centre. To these succeeded Blinkhoolie, the Attack colt, Montaguard, Julius, Cecrops, Grey Stocking and Armourer on the left. Adam Bede, Nancy and William Tell being in the extreme rear.
In these positions they streamed across the flat, but on commencing the ascent of the hill, Kenyon steadied his horse [Wolsey], which allowed Knight of the Garter to appear in advance, closely followed by Lozenge, Laneret, Honesty and Actaea, to half-way up the hill, where he gave way, and Wolsey again resumed the command in company with Lozenge, Honesty and Laneret nearly abreast. Actaea at the same time gave way and Wroughton took her place. The race at this point assumed an interesting appearance, as the chances of the leaders appeared so evenly balanced that it was not until they fairly reached the crown of the hill that a positive claimant to the honour became manifest, as Lozenge slightly in advance of Wolsey and Laneret, who had sadly been hampered by Honesty hanging on him, drew away and finished a brilliant race home. Wolsey, however just getting up in the last stride and finishing with a dead heat. Laneret was beaten by a length for third, Honesty was fourth, Wroughton fifth and Knight of the Garter sixth.
In the deciding heat Wolsey (10/11 Fav) by choice made most of the running but was joined half-way in the distance by Lozenge , who running the longest, won the fine race in the last stride by a neck.’