Middleton Stakes Betting

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For three days each May, the Dante Meeting is conducted at York Racecourse, which has been rated among Europe’s premier tracks, having recently won the prestigious Flat Racecourse of the Year Award. One of the highlights of Day Two is the Middleton Stakes, a Group 2 flat race that precedes the day’s main event, the Group 2 Dante Stakes.

The Middleton Stakes covers a distance of one mile, two furlongs and 88 yards on York’s left-handed Knavesmire turf. It is open to Thoroughbred fillies and mares aged four years and older. Runners here carry eight stone 12 pounds, with penalties applied to those who have finished first in meetings since August 31 of the previous year. The penalties amount to six pounds for Group 1 winners, four pounds for Group 2 winners, and two pounds for Group 3 winners.

This race originated as an ungraded event for three-year-old fillies only and was known in 1988 as the B.B.A. Middleton Stakes Graduation. It featured a number of different sponsors until 1997, when Grosvenor Casinos signed a three-year contract for the title spot and the present qualifications were introduced.

In 2004, the race was upgraded from a Listed event to the Group 3 level under sponsorship from Totepool. The most recent increase in status came in 2010, when the sponsorship again changed to totesport.com and the total prize purse was increased from £65,000 to £100,000. Some £56,000 goes to the first place finisher.

In its relatively short history, the Middleton Stakes has seen no filly or mare win more than once. The inaugural winner under the current conditions was the Irish favourite Papering, paying 8/11 with Frankie Dettori in the saddle. In 2004, Dettori succeeded again, riding Crimson Palace to victory, joining Richard Quinn as the event’s first two-time winners. Quinn rode triumphantly on Lady in Waiting in 1999 and Moselle in 2001.

Since then, four other jockeys have managed the double. Michael Hills did it on Arriving in 1998, followed by Topatoo in 2007. Kieren Fallon got his victories on Zee Zee Top in 2003 and All Too Beautiful in 2005. Ryan Moore’s winners were Promising Lead in 2008 and Crystal Capella in 2009. And Jamie Spencer is the most recent addition to the group, riding Strawberry Dale in 2006 and Sariska in 2010.

Three of those winners—Zee Zee Top, Promising Lead and Crystal Capella—were trained by Sir Michael Stoute, giving him a leg up on all other trainers in the Middleton Stakes. It is worth noting that all three were four-year-olds when they won, maintaining a trend that has characterized this race since 1997. Only two five-year-olds, Crimson Palace and Strawberry Dale, have won here since the upgrade to Group status.

Although the ante-post odds for the Middleton Stakes tend to follow the jockeys and trainers, rather than the horses, handicappers should be aware that favourites fare well here. In the past ten outings, they have come in first five times, placed four times, and run third once. In 2000, Lafite paid 20/1, but double-digit winners are certainly the exception in this event.

Those who wait till race day to place their bets trackside have plenty of options at the York Racecourse. Wagering starts at just £2 and can be accomplished in several ways: with the Tote, at any of the course’s three betting rings, or by using a Totesport betting point. There are more than 300 of the latter dotting the course, so one is always right at hand.

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