Strensall Stakes Betting

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The £75,000 Strensall Stakes is one of several Group 3 races conducted during the York Ebor Festival in August each year. Originally, it was held on the final day of the four-day meeting, but for 2011 it has been moved up a day to join a pair of other big races—the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes.

The Strensall Stakes is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards. It covers a distance of one mile and 208 yards on the left-handed turf of York’s Knavesmire course. Each three-year-old runner carries eight stone twelve pounds, while those aged four years and older must bear a weight of nine-stone-five.

There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entrants that have succeeded in events since 1st November of the previous year, amounting to eight pounds for Group 1 winners, six pounds for Group 2 winners and four pounds for Group 3 winners.

Inaugurated in 1967 and scheduled in early September, the race was named after a village located several miles north of York. Entry was initially limited to fillies only, and the original distance was set at seven furlongs. From 1971, the Strensall Stakes was classified at the Listed level.

During the late 1980s, male horses were allowed to enter the race, and the distance was increased to the current mile-plus. In 1988, the race was called the Monks Cross Stakes, but when Reference Point took up sponsorship in 1989, the title reverted to the name it is known by today.

In 1998, Kufner Textiles UK assumed the title role in celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary. For the 2000 edition of the Strensall Stakes, uTravel.co.uk was the primary backer, followed by Persimmon Homes in 2001-02. When the event was promoted to its current Group 3 status in 2003, sportingoptions.co.uk (Betting Exchange) became the main sponsor.

To promote a new Poker Grand Prix, bookmakers william hill sponsored the Strensall Stakes in 2005. They were followed by Grahame Stowe Bateson Family Law Unit and TurfTV. In 2008, the event was supposed to become part of the Ebor Festival, but that year’s running was abandoned because of a waterlogged track. The change was effected in 2009, when the current sponsor sky bet came on board and raised the race’s total purse to an all-time high of £100,000.

One horse has been successful here on two occasions. Echo Of Light won back-to-back contests in 2006-07. The bay stallion was trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who leads all other trainers in this event with five wins to his credit. The other three came with Triarius in 1995, Naheef in 2003 and Rio De La Plata in 2010.

Echo Of Light’s rider for both wins was Italy’s Frankie Dettori. His seven victories here put him ahead of all other jockeys. In addition to mounting all five of Saeed bin Suroor’s winners, Dettori also succeeded on Shaima in 1991 for Luca Cumani and Lower Egypt in 1994 for John Gosden.

The oldest horse to win the Strensall Stakes was Right Wing, a six-year-old in 2000. Echo Of Light and Rio De La Plata succeeded at age five, but otherwise the three- and four-year-olds have dominated the past decade with three and four victories, respectively.

Favourites owned the Strensall Stakes in the 1990s, but have had a bit tougher going since the turn of the new millennium. Red Bloom won at evens in 2004, but otherwise Echo Of Light has been the only other favoured entry to triumph, doing so a odds of 5/2 and 5/4. Those looking for a payout at long odds might want to give this race a miss. The last time a winner delivered at double digits was Va Toujours paying 20/1 back in 1990.

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