Winter Hill Stakes Betting

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The Royal Windsor Racecourse closes its summer season is August each year with a terrific Saturday evening of festivities and top class racing. Known as the Summer Celebration, this fixture offers race-goers live bands, Pimms on the lawn and a true party atmosphere. The main event of the evening is the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes, which features a total prize purse £70,000.

Covering a distance of one mile, two furlongs and seven yards, the Winter Hill Stakes is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards, excluding any Group 1 winners since 1st September of the previous year. The three-year-olds carry a weight of eight stone six pounds, while starters aged four years and older must bear nine stone even. There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares.

Penalties are applied to entrants that have had success in races since 1st November of the preceding year, amounting to eight pounds for Group 2 winners and four pounds for Group 3 winners. However, a penalty exemption is made for any two-year-old wins.

The inaugural running of the Winter Hill Stakes was in 1987. Initially the race was backed by EBF, and it was classified at the Listed level in 1989. The event was promoted to its current Group 3 status in 1995, making it the one and only conditions race at the Group level conducted at the Royal Windsor Racecourse throughout the year.

In 1998, Solaglas came on board as the primary sponsor of the Winter Hill Stakes, but only for a year. Technology Facility Management Plc took up the title role in 2001, followed by TFMCyntergy Ltd. and Stan James. Since 2005, the Tote has held the race’s sponsorship, using the title to alternately promote its various brands, including totepool, totesport.com and toteswinger.

Among all of the great horses to compete in the Winter Hill Stakes, one stands out in particular. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Annus Mirabilis came to the track as a four-year-old in 1996 and beat a strong field that included the Henry Cecil-trained favourite Storm Trooper.

In 1997, the bay stallion was favoured and outran three younger challengers to get his second victory. Then, in 1998 he completed the hat-trick amid a field of nine. That was the last win for Annus Mirabilis in a career of 30 races that included nine victories, seven seconds, and six thirds.

Jockey Frankie Dettori was aboard that champion for the first two wins and he went on to become the rider with the most Winter Hill Stakes victories by adding two more. His third win came atop Naheef in 2002, followed by success with Campanologist in 2009.

Besides Annus Mirabilis, both of Dettori’s other victors were trained by bin Suroor for the Godolphin stables, which also contributed another Winter Hill Stakes winner, Ancient World, in 2004. Tied with bin Suroor as the top trainer here with six wins is Sir Michael Stoute. He started with Dolpour in 1989 and then added Desert Shot in 1995 before getting a double triumph with Adilabad in 2000-01. Stoute’s most recent victories came from Tam Lin in 2006 and Queen’s Best in 2007.

Bookmakers have done rather well in predicting the outcome of the Winter Hill Stakes over the years. They correctly picked Adilabad at 6/4 odds in his first win and were right about Naheef at 6/4, Tam Lin at 5/2 and Campanologist at 11/10. To find a meeting where they missed by double digits, one must look all the way back to Desert Shot, when the bay gelding owned by Sheikh Rashid Bin Maktoum upset Ireland’s 7/4 Captain Horatius and reached the finish post a full length and a half ahead to pay 12/1.

Since 1987, three-year-olds have succeeded in nine occasions, while four-year-olds have won eight times. There have been four five-year-olds in the winner’s enclosure, and two six-year-olds other than Annus Mirabilis have found success here: Song of Sixpence in 1990 and Young Buster in 1994.

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