Autumn Stakes Betting

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The Group 3 Autumn Stakes has always taken place as part of Ascot’s Autumn Meeting, but owing to the new QIPCO British Champions Series in 2011, it has been shifted to Newmarket, where it becomes a feature of the Dubai Future Champions Day in October. The £50,000 event will be conducted on a Saturday and joined on the card by two exciting Group 1 races—the Middlepark Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes—along with the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes.

The Autumn Stakes will still cover a distance of one mile, but now upon the straight turf of the acclaimed Rowley Mile—the so-called “Course of Champions.” It is open only to two-year-old Thoroughbreds, each of which bears a weight of nine stone even. An allowance of three pounds is granted for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries that have been successful in previous races, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 or Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

Originally classified at the Listed level, the Autumn Stakes was to have its debut in 1987, but the event had to be canceled due to a waterlogged course. The 1988 running featured the chestnut stallion Nashwan winning his second straight race in as many outings after a maiden victory at Newbury in August. The Champion went on in 1989 to win four more consecutive events, including the 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby and the Eclipse Stakes before returning to Ascot to claim the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Red Oaks were the inaugural sponsor of the Autumn Stakes, followed by Bovis in 1990. The event was abandoned in 1993 due to a soggy track, and in 1994 Anglo African Holdings took up the title role. There was no sponsor in 1996, and from 1997 until 2003, the McGee Group/Tom McGee stood as the primary backer. It was in McGee’s final year that the Autumn Stakes was upgraded to Group 3 status.

In 2005, Skybet.com became the race’s official sponsor, followed by Les Ambassadeurs Club in 2006 and Deloitte in 2007-08. In 2009, Jaguar assumed the title role and used it to promote the All-New XJ. The automaker has remained the Autumn Stakes sponsor ever since.

Apart from Nashwan, there have been some great horses showing their form at this event. Among them, the bay stallion named Nayef won his second straight race here in 2000 after a victory at Newbury in September. The horse’s nine career triumphs included return wins at Ascot for the Cumberland Lodge Stakes in 2001 and the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes in 2003.

Until recently, runners that performed well in the Autumn Stakes have been expected to appear in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in late October. However, only one runner has ever managed to win both races, that being Ibn Khaldun in 2007.

Foremost among all jockeys riding here has been Pat Eddery with three victories. His first came aboard High Roller in 1996, followed by wins on French Fellow in 1999 and Big Bad Bob in 2002. Frankie Dettori, Richard Hills, Steve Cauthen and Willie Carson trail him with two wins apiece.

The trainer with the most success here also has three victories to his credit. That’s John Dunlop, who started off winning with noble Patriarch in 1989 and Beauchamp King in 1995, and then added Big Bad Bob.

Bookmakers have been fairly accurate in predicting Autumn Stakes winners since the turn of the new millennium. They include such favourites as Nayef at 7/4 and Ibn Khaldun at 4/7. Also correctly chosen to finish first were Fantastic View at 13/8 in 2003, Caldra at 6/4 in 2006 and Kite Wood at 9/4 in 2008.

Of course, that’s not to say the oddsmakers always get this race right. In 2005, they failed to call Blitzkrieg’s number at 20/1, and they missed badly in 2010, when the French-raised Abjer raced to the finish post ahead of seven chasers to pay a handsome 33/1.

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