Winter Derby Betting

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Open to Thoroughbreds aged four years and older, the £50,000 Winter Derby is a Group 3 flat horse race that takes place each year in March, making it the very first Group event of the British flat racing season. It is run over a distance of one mile and two furlongs on the left-handed Polytrack surface of Lingfield Parkís all-weather track in Surrey.

Each starter carries nine stone even, with an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to winners of previous races since 31st May of the previous year, amount to seven pounds for winners of Group 1 events, five pounds for Group 2 and three pounds for Group 3.

Inaugurated in 1998 with Teletext as its initial sponsor, the Winter Derby bears the distinction of having always been run on an artificial surface. Lingfield Park had installed an Equitrack all-weather racecourse in 1989óthe first artificial race track in the U.K.óand its use for this race meant ideal conditions during one of the coldest months of the year for racing.

In 1999, the Winter Derby was accorded Listed status and Mitsubishi Shogun became the sponsor. littlewoods Bet Direct took up the title role in 2000 and retained it for the next eight years. In 2001, the current Polytrack surface was installed and in 2006 the event was promoted to the Group 3 level.

This was not, however, the first Group race to be run on an artificial track, as the Group 3 Silver Trophy Stakes (today known as the Group 2 Summer Mile) was temporarily conducted here in 2005. In 2009, sportingbet.com became the sponsor of the Winter Derby, a role it has fulfilled ever since.

In the fourteen runnings of the Winter Derby between 1998 and 2011, no horse has ever succeeded here twice. A pair of jockeys have claimed two wins apieceóRichard Hughes got his on Sergeant York in 2001 and Scintillo in 2009, while Frankie Dettori rode his winners back-to-back, first Parasol in 2003 and then Caluki in 2004.

By contrast, only one trainer has managed two victories in the Winter Derby. Thatís Clive Brittain, who obtained his first win with Hattan in 2008 and followed it up with Nideeb in 2011. Mick Easterby, Richard Hannon and Henry Cecil each have a single triumph here, while Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston have yet to leave their mark on this event.

Fully half of the first 14 editions of the Winter Derby were won by four-year-olds. Six-year-olds, however, have claimed four victories in the most recent six outings. The only two five-year-olds to cross the finish line first here were Supreme Sound in 1999 and Hughesís ride Sergeant York. The sole seven-year-old to reach the winnerís enclosure was Dettoriís mount Caluki, paying a handsome 14/1.

Long odds winners are not rarities here; Sergeant York paid 25/1 and Hattan came home at 14/1. However, favourites are much more commonly the correct bet, with six of them proving the bookmakers right since the turn of the new millennium. They include 5/4 Zanay in 2000 and 13/8 Adiemus in 2002 followed by joint-fave Parasol paying 5/2. In 2007, another joint choice, Gentlemanís Deal, delivered at 4/1, and in 2010 it was Tranquil Tiger winning at 11/8. The most recent favourite to win was Nideeb, worth 9/4 in the latest edition of this race.

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