Diomed Stakes Betting

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Foaled in 1777, Diomed was a chestnut stallion that gained fame and became an immortal part of British racing history by winning the inaugural Epsom Derby in 1780. It is only fitting that such an illustrious Thoroughbred be remembered in the title of a race, the Diomed Stakes, and there could be no better fixture for it than the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs.

The two-day festival takes place each year in early June, and the organisers have wisely scheduled the Group 3 Diomed Stakes on the second day, Derby Day, just ahead of the main event. This £50,000 race is for Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards, contested over a distance of one mile and 114 yards on the left-handed turf of the Epsom Downs Racecourse.

Each of the youngest starters carries eight stone six pounds, while those aged four and older must bear nine-stone-four. An allowance of three pounds is made for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries successful in races held since 31st August of the previous year, amounting to seven pounds for Group 1 winners, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

The Diomed Stakes was officially established in 1971, although many regard it as an informal extension a previous event known as the St James Stakes. From 1994 until 2007, the race was sponsored by Vodaphone. In 2008, Juddmonte took a turn as its backer and then Investec came on board and has been the sponsor ever since.

In the past four decades, three different runners have won this race twice. All Friends was the first to do so in 1975-76. Nayyir won in 2002 and then returned for a second victory in 2006. And the chestnut gelding Blythe Knight achieved the double back to back in 2007-08.

Lester Piggott has the honour of being the jockey with the most victories in the Diomed Stakes. He accumulated four of them in total, starting with Sparkler in 1971 and then followed by success aboard Averof in 1974, Hardgreen in 1980 and Adonijah in 1984. More recently, Frankie Dettori has been chasing Piggott wit three wins of his own, including Enharmonic in 1993 and Intikhab in 1998 as well as the second ride on Nayyir.

Two trainers have schooled three victors apiece in the Diomed Stakes. Henry Cecil got his wins with Ovac in 1978, Adonijah in 1984 and Shining Steel in 1989. Then came Clive Brittain with Averof in 1974, Sylva Honda in 1991 and Mr Martini in 1995.

The latter horse, Mr Martini, won at 25/1, which is not a rare occurrence here. In the years since then, quite a few horses have won at long odds, including Polar Prince in 1997 at 14/1 and Passing Glance in 2004 at 20/1. In fact, the most recent three winners have all paid out at double-digit odds—Mac Love at 14/1 in 2009, Bushman at 11/1 in 2010 and Fanunalter at 16/1 in 2011.

Of course, the bookmakers can’t be trusted to always get it wrong. They were correct with Intikhab at 2/1 and accurately predicted Nayyir’s first victory at 5/1. They also had Trans Island as the 5/4 favourite when the bay stallion won by a head in 2000.

One good tip here is to avoid the three-year-olds. None of them has been successful since Bluegrass Prince in 1994. And Hazyview was the last four-year-old to win, back in 2005. The eight-year-olds, on the other hand, have come alive, winning three of the last six outings after no luck whatsoever in all the years prior. Blythe Knight was seven at the time of the gelding’s first win, and the winners of 2010-11 were age six and five, respectively.

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