Molecomb Stakes Betting

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Every year in late July or early August, the five-day Glorious Goodwood Festival takes place, roughly six weeks after the Royal Ascot meeting. Opening day has been designated as “Sporting Greats Day,” gathering a variety of Olympians and other sporting heroes in celebration of British sporting excellence.

Of course, the day also features a full card of seven races from 2:10pm till 5:45pm, highlighted by the seven-furlong Group 2 Lennox Stakes (aka betfair Cup). Joining this £155,000 event on the Day One card is another much anticipated sprint—the £60,000 Group 3 Molecomb Stakes.

This race covers a distance of five furlongs on the straight turf of the Goodwood Racecourse. It is open to two-year-old Thoroughbreds, each of which carries a weight of nine stone. An allowance of three pounds is allotted to fillies, and there are penalties for previous success, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 or Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

The history of the Molecomb Stakes traces back to 1829, when it was named after a portion of the Goodwood Estate. From 1932 to 1980, the event was restricted to fillies only, but colts and geldings have been allowed to enter in subsequent years.

The racer got its first sponsor, Philip Cornes, in 1991. From 1993 to 1995, it had no primary backer, and then Jockey Club of Kenya took up sponsorship and retained it till the close of the 1990s. In 2000, the race honored Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother`s 100th Birthday. In 2001, cantorsport.co.uk held the title position, followed in 2002 by betfair, the betting exchange that has served as sponsor ever since.

Perhaps the greatest of early champions to appear in the Molecomb Stakes was Crucifix. The bay mare won here in 1839, en route to an undefeated career of twelve races that included the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks. Other famed winners include two contenders for the “greatest two-year-old of all time”—Tetratema in 1919 and Mumtaz Mahal in 1923.

One jockey stands head and shoulders above all others at the Molecomb Stakes. That’s Lester Piggott, whose collection of eight victories began with Abelia in 1957. He also rode to the finish post first on Smooth in 1966, Flying Legs in 1968, Lady Rowley in 1974, Hayloft in 1975, Marwell in 1980 and Prowess Prince in 1981. Hs last triumph came aboard Precocious in 1983.

The leading trainers here, each with seven wins to their credit, got the job done in the 19th century. The man who schooled Crucifix, John Barham Day got his victories between 1834 and 1852, while John Porter spread his out from 1877 to 1895. More recently, Richard Hannon has been the trainer to beat, notching up three wins with Risky in 1993, Monsieur Chevalier in 2009 and Zebedee in 2010.

Bookmakers have been rather sharp since the turn of the new millennium, picking the winners correctly in five of eleven outings. They were right about 3/1 Misty Eyed in 2000 and 9/4 Majestic Missile in 2003. They had Enticing as the favourite in 2006 when the Irish filly paid 3/1. And there were not off the mark for either of Hannon’s latest winners, pegging Monsieur Chevalier at 10/11 and Zebedee at 2/1.

Of course, that’s not to say the oddsmakers never stumble. In 2001, they missed Whitbarrow, an Irish gelding that made at the Molecomb Stakes the fourth victory in his first six races, paying a lovely 10/1. Then, in 2004, another Irish gelding named Tournedos snuck past the bookmakers to deliver at 14/1 odds. Handicappers say this race is one of the best Glorious Goodwood in which to look for a generous return, since there is precious little information for backers to draw on.

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