Dee Stakes Betting

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Seen as a significant trial for the Epsom Derby, the Dee Stakes attracts a lot of attention from bettors and bookmakers each May. This Group 3 flat horse race for three-year-old Thoroughbred colts and geldings takes place at Chester in Cheshire and covers a distance of one mile, two furlongs and 75 yards (2,080 metres).

The Chester Racecourse is noteworthy as the oldest racecourse in Britain. It dates back to Roman times and was made into a permanent structure on land known as “The Roodee” in the 13th century, when Chester served as a major medieval maritime port. The first recorded race at the “Roodee Fields” was held in 1539, during the reign of Henry the Eighth.

The very first Dee Stakes was held in the early 19th century and was named after the River Dee, which parallels the racecourse. A variety of different distances were used over the years, from slightly over one-mile two furlongs to a maximum of just over one-mile four furlongs, but the current length has been intact since 1992. The purse has grown over the years to £65,000, with approximately £39,000 going to the winner.

Racing at Chester

The winner of the inaugural Dee Stakes in 1826 was named Leviathan. It was the first of nine straight victories for the horse that year, including the St. Ledger Stakes. Perhaps the most famous winner in those early days was 1834’s Touchstone, another victor in the St. Ledger. The steed went on to a lifetime record of 15-2-2 in twenty outings.

In more recent times, two jockeys took turns owning the race. Between 1964 and 1990, Lester Piggott and Willie Carson rode five winners apiece. The dominant trainer over the years has been Barry Hills, bringing eleven first-place finishers to the Dee Stakes in the period 1970~2002. And two winners on the Roodee have gone on to claim the Epsom Derby of late. Oath did it in 1999, and Kris Kin followed up with the double win in 2003.

Currently, the Dee Stakes is sponsored by a London law firm, Addleshaw Goddard. It has become a featured event of Chester’s annual May Festival—three days of celebrations and racing that open the flat racing season here and put the course in the racing spotlight nationally. Day One, a Wednesday, is totesport Cup Day; Day Two is Boodles Ladies Day; and Day Three—the day of the Dee State—is Boodles City Day.

Sharing the card with the Addleshaw Goddard Dee Stakes are six other stake races, including the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes and two Class 2 sprints of five furlongs: the Earl Grosvenor States and the Handicap Stakes. Coverage is handled by television Channel 4 for all of these. Later in the day, Racing UK picks up three seven-furlong races that conclude with the Cruise Nightspot Handicap Stakes.

Tips on Wagering

Those looking for tips on an upcoming Dee Stakes winner would do well to watch the entries of trainers Aiden O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute. Between them they have produced four of the last eight victors. Another good indicator is the performance of runners in the Sandown Classic Trial in April.

For example, the 2010 running of the Dee Stakes was an exciting one, pitting Sandown winner Chabal against second-place finisher Azmeel. The prize was ultimately claimed by Azmeel this time with Frankie Dettori aboard. Despite a bump out of the gate, the three-year-old overcame every obstacle on the way to victory, which became a certainty when he quickened nicely through a narrow gap in the straight. The odds were 7/2.

At Chester Racecourse, bets can be made in the outside Betting Ring, the indoor Betting Hall, or with the Tote. It is a good idea to check several bookmakers, as some may offer better odds for one horse than others. Ten minutes before the race starts, just before the horses leave the Parade Ring to canter down to the Start Line, is the optimum time for wagering at the track.

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