The two-day Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting at Newbury Racecourse features several exciting Group 3 events in mid-April each year. Among them is the £50,000 Greenham Stakes, a Group 3 sprint for three-year-old Thoroughbred colts and geldings. It covers a distance of seven furlongs on the straight turf of the Newbury track, with each starter carrying nine stone even.
When the Greenham Stakes was launched in 1906, it drew its name from a village southeast of Newbury, which is also the name of the civil parish where the racecourse is located. Early one, the distance was a full mile, but it was reduced to seven furlongs in 1949, when racing resumed after the conclusion of World War II.
Back in the late 1980s, Singer & Friedlander were among the first sponsors of this event. They remained the primary backer until Tripleprint took up the title role in 1995 and for a time the race was known as the Tripleprint Stakes. The registered official name never changed, however, and under new sponsorship from 2000 to 2007, the race was called the Lane’s End Greenham Stakes. In 2008, Bathwick Tyres signed a three-year contract as sponsor. When it ended in 2011, totesport.com became the primary backer.
An impressive roll of honour has been established for the Greenham Stakes. Past winners include such legendary steeds as 1909’s phenomenon Minoru, who claimed both the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby before the year was done, and 1923’s champion Parth, who took the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe six months later. Mill Reef also won here in 1971 before taking the Epsom Derby and becoming the 1971 European Horse of the Year, as did Kris in 1979 before becoming the year’s Champion European Miler.
Two jockeys have five wins each in the Greenham Stakes. Steve Donoghue set the bar high by riding to victory on Sydmonton in 1911, Polygnotus in 1919, Silvern in 1920, Green Fire in 1924 and Zelina in 1934. Then Joe Mercer proved he could do it, too, aboard Counsel in 1955, Heathen in 1968 and Boldboy in 1973, followed by Kris and Creag-an-Sgor in 1984.
The leading trainer in the Greenham Stakes has no rival. With a daunting six triumphs here, peerless Henry Cecil schooled Wollow in 1976 before winning with Kris and then Cajun in 1982, Faustus in 1986, Enrique in 1999 and most recently the 1/4 favourite Frankel in 2011, who turned around and won the 2000 Guineas Stakes right afterwards, paying 1/2.
No horse has looked quite as dominant here as Frankel in recent years. But winning at single-digit odds is certainly not uncommon. When a truly strong competitor enters, the fields tend to be quite small. In 2011, only six colts competed. When 8/1 Dick Turpin upset 10/11 Canford Cliffs in 2010, only five were at the line for the start. And the 2009 winner, favoured 2/1 Vocalised, had just seven chasers to beat.
There are still some great values to be had in wagering on the Greenham Stakes—especially the Perfecta and Trifecta combinations that pay out at higher odds. Trackside, Newbury Racecourse offers two options for wagering: placing a bet at one of the totepool windows or dealing directly with one of the many bookmakers on hand. Plenty of off-track and online opportunities are available, too, for those who can’t make it to