Sceptre Stakes Betting

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The biggest highlight of the annual racing schedule at Doncaster Racecourse is the four-day St. Leger Festival held each September. It encompasses one of the three British Triple crown events, the ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes. Day Two is designated as DFS Ladies Day, which features not only Festival fashion is at its very best but also a card of top flight racing, including the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes and the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes.

With a total prize purse of £50,000, the Sceptre Stakes is open to Thoroughbred fillies and mares aged three years and upwards that have not won a Group 1 race. It covers a distance of seven furlongs on the straight turf of the Doncaster Racecourse.

Three-year-old starters carry a weight of eight stone ten pounds each, while those aged four years or older must each bear nine stone even. Penalties are applied to entries successful in previous races since 28th February, amounting to five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

When the Sceptre Stakes was inaugurated in 1986, it was named after a filly that became the only horse ever to win four English Classics in a single year. In 1902, Sceptre captured the 2,000 Guineas, the 1,000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and Doncaster’s own St. Leger Stakes. Se concluded her 25-race career in 2003 with 13 victories, five seconds and three third-place finishes.

For its inaugural meeting, the Sceptre Stakes was conducted as a mile-long event, classified at the Listed level. In 1990, the race came under the sponsorship of Reference Point, who remained the primary backer until the Japan Racing Association (JRA) came on board in 1993. That year, the contest was renamed the Kyoto Sceptre Stakes and the distance was shortened to it current seven-furlong length.

JRA continued as sponsor throughout the remainder of the 1990s. In 2000, the event was known as the Play Scoop6 On totalbet.com Sceptre Fillies Stakes Showcase Race. Subsequently, Betabet sponsored the event for one year, and then JRA returned as the title holder to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of its London Office in 2002. With the exception of 2006, when Weatherbys Bank took over briefly, JRA has been the main sponsor ever since. In 2011, the race was promoted to Group 3 status.

To date, no horse has won the Sceptre Stakes more than once. The most successful jockey here has been Michael Hills, riding four winners over the course of 15 years. He got his first victory aboard My Branch in 1996 and then followed up with wins atop Mamounia in 2002, Tantina in 2003 and Royal Confidence in 2008.

All four of Hills’ mounts were trained by his father, Richard. Previously, in 1986, the elder Hills had also trained the inaugural winner, Asteroid Field ridden by Brent Thomson, giving him five triumphs in total. Trailing at a distance are trainers Mick Channon and Sir Michael Stoute with three wins apiece.

The trend toward taking mares out of competition for breeding has left the Sceptre Stakes dominated by three-year-old fillies. Since the turn of the new millennium, they have claimed all but two of eleven editions, yielding only to a pair of strong five-year-olds, Nice One Care in 2001 and Favourable Terms in 2005. The oldest mares ever to win here were Branston Abby in 1995 and Susu in 1999, both succeeding at age six.

The Sceptre Stakes has not been an easy event for bookmakers to figure out. In the last decade, they predicted four of the winners correctly, including Tantina at 13/8 and Favourable Terms at 5/6 along with Fantasia at 5/6 in 2009 and Dever Dream at 4/1 in 2010. However, they’ve also missed the mark widely on several occasions, giving handicappers an opportunity for big profits.

In 2000, Kalindi ran away with the honours amid a field of eleven sprinters to pay a lovely 25/1. In 2003, Attune lined up with 14 other starters to make a mad dash for a big payday at 12/1 odds, while the 7/2 favourite Nyramba finished fifth. And in 2007, it was Medley’s turn to pull the upset, leaving 5/2 Majestic Roi in fourth place among 15 starters and delivering a handsome 14/1 payout.

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