Lockinge Stakes Betting

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Held each year in May at the Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire, the Lockinge Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race for Thoroughbreds aged four years or older. It covers a distance of one straight mile on turf with no turns. Runners in the Lockinge Stakes carry nine stone, with allowances of three pounds for fillies and mares. There are no penalty weights for previous winners.

The very first running of the Lockinge Stakes was in 1958, when it was open to horses aged three or older. The winner of that inaugural race was Pall Mall, who also succeeded in the 2,000 Guineas that year. The defending champion returned to Newbury in 1959 to win again, becoming the first of only three back-to-back winners here. The other two were Welsh Pageant in 1970-71 and Soviet Line in 1995-96.

In 1971, the Lockinge Stakes was initially classed at Group 2 level, and then it was relegated to Group 3 in 1983. Two years later, the race was restored to Group 2 status. When the minimum age was increased to four years in 1995, the event gained its current status as a Group 1 race and became the highlight of Newbury’s flat racing season.

From 1988 to 2009, the race was known as the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes. For the 2010 edition, Totesport.com was the sponsor, and in 2011 JLT has taken up the title role. The prize purse nearly doubled to over £100,000 when the race earned its Group I status, and it has continued to grow, now amounting to some £250,000, of which more than half goes to the winner.

The most successful jockey here was Lester Piggott, who started out with a win on Sovereign Path in 1960 and then added five more. He rode to victory on The Creditor in 1964, Sparkler in 1973, Belmont Bay in 1981, and Polar Falcon in 1991. His last win here was aboard Swing Low in 1993.

Among trainers, Sir Michael Stoute leads the pack with seven successes. His winners include the 1986 champion Scottish Reel, Safawan in 1990, Soviet Line in 1995-96, Medicean in 2001, Russian Rhythm in 2004, and Peeress in 2006. All but two of those (Safawan and Soviet Line) were owned by Cheveley Park Stud, who also raised the 2009 victor, Virtual, trained by John Gosden.

In 2011, the JLT Lockinge Stakes is undergoing some changes. First among them is the inclusion of this popular one-mile event in the QIPCO British Champion Series. It is a major new premier series of British horseracing, launched in April with Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and concluding on QIPCO British Champions Day, a brand-new event staged at Ascot in October. The series features Britain’s seven highest-rated races in the one-mile category, including the Sandown Mile as well as the Lockinge Stakes. Many of the runners here will also be seen in the Queen Anne Stakes run at Ascot in June.

Another new wrinkle is the “Best of British Beer Festival,” which is being inaugurated for the JLT Lockinge Stakes in association with West Berkshire Brewery. It promises a selection of local real ales, some 50 beers and ciders available for tastings from thirteen U.K. breweries, as well as popular food items, such as fish and chips, plus live music. Tickets start from £18 for admission to the festival venue, which is the Copper King Lawn in the Grandstand Enclosure of the racecourse.

Meanwhile, the day’s race card will offer six other flat races in addition to the Lockinge Stakes. Ante-post wagering is available more than a month ahead of post time, although winners at single-digit odds are the rule here, rather than the exception. Refuse To Bend was the last long-odds winner at 12/1 in 2004, when 16 horses made the start. In 2010, 11/8 favorite Goldikova ran away with the honors by ten full lengths over 2009’s champion Paco Boy and a field of eight other starters.

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