John of Gaunt Stakes Betting

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Also known as the Timeform Jury Stakes, the John of Gaunt Stakes is a Group 3 sprint conducted at the end of May or in early June each year at Haydock Park in Merseyside, Northwest England. The £50,000 event is open to Thoroughbreds aged four years or older and covers a distance of seven furlongs on the left-handed turf with a slightly uphill home straight.

This is the main race on a Saturday card featuring six other contests sponsored by online betting business Blue Square. This particular event, however, has been sponsored by the Timeform organisation since 2009. Although it is formally registered as the John of Gaunt Stakes, honouring the 1st Duke of Lancaster, who lived in this vicinity during the 14th century, the race is now more closely associated with the Jury, Timeformís highly-profitable telephone tipping service.

When the event was inaugurated in 1976, it was open to horses aged three or older and classified at the Listed level. In 1998, the minimum age was increased to four. Ten years latter, the John of Gaunt Stakes was accorded Group 3 status. Over the years, previous sponsors have included Focus T.V. and Video Centres, Joseph Holt Derby Brewery, Halliwell Landau, bet365.com, betfair, Bank of Scotland, Sunwin Renault and J.W. Lees.

Today, every starter in the John of Gaunt Stakes must carry nine stone even, although there is an allowance of three pounds 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.

Over the past four decades, two sprinters have been successful here on a pair of occasions. The first to achieve the elusive double was Warningford wins in 1999 and 2002. The big bay stallion ran fifth as the 3/1 favourite in 2000 and rested after coming runner-up in the 201 Lockinge Stakes in mid-May. The second horse to claim two victories did so back to back in 2009-10. That was Main Aim, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore on both occasions.

Indeed, that second win completed the hat-trick for Ryan, who had won in 2008 atop Major Cadeaux for trainer Richard Hannon. No other jockey has managed three John of Gaunt Stakes victories, although several have claimed two, including Michael Hills, Richard Quinn, Gary Hind, Oscar Urbina and Jimmy Fortune.

Among trainers, the greatest number of wins here is four, a record held only John Gosden. He brought his first victor, Mutakddim, to Haydock Park in 1995, followed soon after by Decorated Hero in 1997. Since the turn of century, heís added two moreóMount Abu in 2001 and Sleeping Indian in 2005.

Bookmakers correctly identified four of the ten winners in the first decade of the new millennium. They had Mount Abu pegged at 5/2 and Major Cadeaux at 10/11. They also predicted both of Main Aimís victories at 7/4 and 2/1, respectively. Where they missed big, however, was in 2007, when two Irish long-shots eclipsed 4/6 Soldierís tale. A stallion named Mine won the day at 16/1, while the 25/1 bay gelding Beckermet trailed by a half length.

What was even more amazing about the Saturday evening in early June was the age of the winnerónine years old. And it was the second year in a row for an Irish nine-year-old to prevail, because Quito had just done so in 2006 at 9/2 odds. Warningford was eight when grabbing his second win, so the track certainly does not belong only to the four- and five-year-olds, who have won three times apiece since 2002. Suggestive was six when winning in 2004, so donít count the older entries out in the John of Gaunt Stakes.

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