Huxley Stakes Betting

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The Huxley Stakes is a Class 1, Group 3 flat race for Thoroughbreds aged four years and older, which has become an important feature of the three-day May Festival at Chester Racecourse. Conducted on Ladies Day, Day Two, it shares the card with six other races: the Class 2 Boodles Diamond Eternity Handicap Stakes, the Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase, the Times Handicap Stakes, the Class 2 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes, the Class 3 B&M Retail Handicap Stakes, and the Class 3 Investec Structured Products Handicap Stakes.

Covering a distance of one mile two furlongs and 75 yards, runners in the Huxley Stakes carry nine stone even, with allowances of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to horses finishing first in meetings since August 31 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.

When the event was first introduced in 1999, it was classed at Listed level. Its promotion to Group 3 status occurred in 2005. There was no sponsor for the first two runnings, and then SIS assumed the title spot in 2001. They were followed by Breitling Watches & Waltons of Chester in 2002, Jardine Lloyd Thompson in 2006, Akkroball in 2007, Grant Thornton in 2008, and extrabet.com in 2009. The current sponsor, betfair, came on board in 2010.

The prize pool has grown steadily since the inaugural running, when the winner’s share was £13,355. Ten years later, the total purse had grown to £65,000, with £39,900 going to the 2009 victor, the favourite Doctor Freemantle, who returned even money. One aspect of the Huxley Stakes that has not changed over the years is its trophy—the Tradesman’s Cup—which was first put up in 1824 for the race of the same name.

The very first winner of this race was the Henry Cecil-trained Chester House, ridden by Kieren Fallon. In the middle of the first decade of the new millennium, one horse dominated the Huxley Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute’s Maraahel romped to a hat-trick of victories in 2005~2007. The horse was piloted by Richard Hills on all three occasions, and he also rode Bandari to a first place finish here in 2004. Stoute, too, had additional wins with Adilabad in 2001 and then Doctor Fremantle.

The field for the Huxley Stakes may contain as few as four or as many as ten runners. But don’t put all hope on the favorite. Three horses have won here at double-digit odds. Freefourinternet did it first in 2002 at 12/1 with Patrick Eddery aboard, and Championship Point did it again in 2008, ridden by Darryll Holland at 12/1.

The third occurrence was in 2010, when Debussy was guided to victory by William Buick and paid 11/1. It is worth noting that Debussy, owned by Her Royal Highness Princess Haya of Jordan, also won the Arlington Million in the United States that year.

Given its history of upsets, the betfair Huxley Stakes attracts considerable interest from ante-post bettors. But bookmakers say the smartest bets are found closer to post time, when savvy punters and novices alike gather around Chester’s left-handed track to see the entrants up close and try to pick a lucky one.

One other smart move is to take advantage of the many promotional offers available online. Prior to the 2011 edition, the sponsor was offering a £25 free bet. Other opportunities include a £zero deposit match at bet365, a £30 free bet at ladbrokes, and £20 from paddypower. Former sponsor extrabet.com also had a promotion worth up to £125.

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