Nunthorpe Stakes Betting

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The £240,000 Nunthorpe Stakes is one of three Group 1 races conducted during the York Ebor Festival in August each year, along with the Juddmonte International Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks. It takes place on Day Three of the four-day meeting, preceded by a pair of Group 2 races: the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes and the sky bet Strensall Stakes.

The Nunthorpe Stakes is a five-furlong sprint for Thoroughbred horse aged two years and older, run upon the straight turf of York’s Knavemire course. Two-year-old runners carry eight stone one pound, while three-year-olds bear nine-stone-nine and those aged four and up carry nine-stone-eleven. There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares.

Named after an area of York north of the racecourse, the Nunthorpe Stakes was inaugurated in 1903 as a low-grade stakes race, in which the winner was put up for auction. It became a higher class conditions race in 1922, when the event gained its first sponsor, william hill from 1976 to 1989, it became known as the william hill Sprint Championship, but returned to its original title in 1990

A number of different backers have been associated with the Nunthorpe Stakes in the past two decades. They include Keeneland from 1990 to 1994, followed a hiatus and then Persimmon Homes in 1998-99 and Victor Chandler/vc Bet from 2000 to 2006. The current sponsor, Coolmore Stud, came on board in 2007.

What sets the Nunthorpe Stakes apart from most other flat races is the opportunity for juveniles to compete against more experienced runners. The first two-year-old to win was High Treason in 1953. More recently, Sir Michael Stoute’s Irish-bred baby Kingsgate Native outran 15 of his elders in 2007, paying 12/1.

Two horses managed three wins here in the past 100 years. Tag end did it first with a hat-trick of victories in 1928-30, followed by Sharpo with a trio of wins in 1980-82. A number of runners have put up back-to-back triumphs, the most recent being Borderlescott in 2008-09.

The trainer with the most victories in the Nunthorpe Stakes was Ossie Bell. His five wins started with a double by Highborn II in 1926-27, followed by wins with Greenore in 1932, Concerto in 1933 and Ipsden in 1937.

Among jockeys, Lester Piggott tops the list with seven wins, including two on Right Boy in 1958-59) and a solo triumph on Solinus in 1978. In between, Piggott rode to first place finishes on Matatina in 1963, Caterina in 1966, Tower Walk in 1969 and Swing Easy in 1971.

The field is typically made up of a dozen or more entrants of various age groups, ranging from two to nine. Although the juveniles are at a disadvantage in terms of experience, they bring excitement to the betting, rarely listed as favourites and often offered at odds of 10/1 or higher.

But don’t count out the older entrants. In 2004, nine-year-old Bahamian Pirate from the United States shocked the bookmakers and won at 16/1 odds. Three-year-olds have won eight of the past 21 meetings, but four-year-olds have claimed only three and five-year-olds have four wins in that period.

By the same token, trainers and jockeys are not great guide to winners here, either. The usually reliable combination of Aiden O’Brien and Michael Kinane has not had success in the Nunthorpe Stakes since 2001 when the latter rode Mozart home ahead of all others. In the past ten years, no jockey has piloted more than a single winner, and but for Borderlescott giving Robin Bastiman a second victory, no trainer would either. It really is a wide-open race.

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