Cornwallis Stakes Betting

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The Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes has long been one of the highlights of Ascot’s Autumn Meeting. However, beginning in 2011, the event has been shifted to a new home at Newmarket as an extension of the Dubai Future Champions Day in October. It will be run on a Friday, a day ahead of the main events on Saturday, joining a completely new card that includes the Group 3 Darley Stakes.

This £55,000 event will still cover a distance of five furlongs, but it will be held on the straight turf of the famous Rowley Mile—the so-called “Course of Champions.” Entry is restricted to two-year-old Thoroughbreds, each of which carries a weight of nine stone even. There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries that have finished first in previous meetings, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 or Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

When the sprint was inaugurated in 1946, it was first run over six furlongs. That length was extended to a full mile in 1948 before being reduced to current distance in 1957. The Cornwallis Stakes has always been classified at the Group 3 level since the present system of race grading was launch in 1971.

There were no sponsors for this race until Willmott Dixon came on board in 1995. As one of the world’s largest privately owned specialists in construction, development and support services, the company has come and gone as the event’s backer several times, including 1995-99, 2001-03 and 2006-09.

Between times, Vodaphone was the main sponsor in 2000, and Skybet.com took up the title role for 2005. In 2010, an award-winning U.K. catering company called Sodexo Prestige assumed sponsorship of the Cornwallis Stakes, and they will remain in the title spot despite the change of venue.

Over the years, this race has introduced many fine runners to flat racing, such as Favorita, the winner here in 1960 that claimed both the Group 3 Jersey Stakes and the Group 2 July Stakes the following year. The 1977 winner Absalom went on to capture the Group 2 British Champions Sprint Stakes (Diadem Stakes) in 1979, and more recently the 2007 winner Captain Gerrard took the Group 3 Palace House Stakes in 2008.

Three jockeys have chalked up three wins apiece at the Cornwallis Stakes. They include Favorita’s rider Lester Piggott, who also triumphed on Abelia in 1957 and Tin King in 1965, along with Joe Mercer, who won aboard Plainsong in 1953, Rosalba in 1958 and Pushy in 1980. The latest member to join the trio was Martin Dwyer, with success atop Halmahera in 1997, Dominica in 2001 and Alzerra in 2006.

Leading all trainers here with three wins is Noel Murless. He schooled Piggott’s first two winners, Abelia and Favorita, and then followed up with Splashing in 1973. Robert Armstrong trained two Cornwallis Stakes winners, Hadif in 1988 and Mujadil in 1990, but since then no trainer has managed to gain more than a single victory here.

Those looking for trends will find them hard to come by. The lack of experience and history for the two-year-olds makes them very difficult to handicap. Bookmakers have been correct on only three occasions since the turn of the new millennium. They favoured Danehurst at 7/2 in 2000 and got Alzerra right at 4/1. There other successful prediction was Captain Gerrard at 9/4.

On the other hand, Dominica snuck past their oddsmaking skills when the chestnut mare paid off at 12/1. She returned to Ascot in 2002 to grab the King’s Stand Stakes, too. And in 2008, a surprise was delivered by a chestnut gelding named Amour Propre, winning by a neck to pay 10/1.

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