Firth of Clyde Stakes Betting

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As the only Grade 1 track in the country, Scotland’s Ayr Racecourse hosts some 30 race meetings each year. One of its most anticipated gatherings is a three-day extravaganza of flat racing and entertainment held each September on Ayr’s 155-acre grounds. It is known as the william hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival.

The main event of this meeting is conducted on Day Three. It features the richest sprint handicap in all of Europe—the £150,000 Ayr Gold Cup. It is accompanied on the racecard by seven other fine races, including the only Group-status conditions race held in Scotland—the £70,000 Firth of Clyde Stakes. Both of these major events cover a distance of six furlongs on Ayr’s straight turf.

The Firth of Clyde Stakes is open exclusively to two-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. Each sprinter must carry a weight of eight stone twelve pounds. There are penalties applied to entries than have bee successful in previous races, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 or Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

Established in 1986, the event gets its name from an area of water called the Firth of Clyde, just off the coast of Ayr. From the beginning the race was classified at the Listed level and it went without sponsorship until 1990, when Shadwell Estates came on board. Through 1997, they backed the event under the name Shadwell Stud.

From 1998 to 2002, the race’s title became something of a tongue-twister: The Faucets First For Faucets Firth of Clyde Fillies Stakes. For 2003, Sioexho Prestige was the primary backer. Then came a turning point in the event’s history in 2004, when promotion to Group 3 status was achieved and TSG assumed sponsorship. For a single year in 2006, the Sportsman Newspaper backed the race, and the current sponsor became involved—Laundry Cottage Stud.

All of the successful jockeys in the Firth of Clyde Stakes have but a single win apiece, with two notable exceptions. Kieren Fallon became the first rider to gain two victories here, when he followed up his win aboard Queen Sceptre in 1996 with a triumphant ride on Femme Fatale in 1999. Chasing him was Frankie Dettori, who got his first win here atop Loyalize in 1994. In 2007, the Italian at last claimed his second success by guiding Unilateral to the finish post first.

Among trainers, only one has been able to put together a collection of three victories. That honour goes to Barry Hills, who schooled Braari in 1993, My Branch in 1995 and Queen Sceptre in 1996. His closest competition comes from Bryan Smart, who is sitting on two recent wins: Unilateral plus a 2009 victory with Distinctive.

The bookmakers started out the new millennium by picking four out of six Firth of Clyde Stakes winners correctly. They had Alshadiyah right as a co-favourite at 4/1 odds in 2000, followed by perfect forecasts for Misterah in 2001 and Airwave in 2002, both at 2/1 odds. Then they chose Violette in 2005, and the bay filly delivered in style, winning by three full lengths at 9/4 odds.

However, midway through the decade something must have gone terribly wrong with the crystal balls used for Firth of Clyde Stakes oddsmaking. Winners at long odds began to emerge one after another. In 2006, Princess Iris finished first at 11/1. In 2008, Aspen Darlin paid out at 12/1. And then Distinctive defied all expectations and a dozen other chasers, winning by 3¾ lengths to pay 33/1. Bookmakers must have hoped that was the end of their errors, but in 2010 they misread Majestic Dubawi, who won by a length to yield 22/1.

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