Yorkshire Oaks Betting

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The Yorkshire Oaks is one of three Group 1 races conducted during the York Ebor Festival each year in August, along with the Juddmonte International Stakes and the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. Other than the parade of fashion that marks Day Two of the four-day meeting, this race is the featured event of Ladies’ Day, accompanied by the Group 2 Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes.

When the Yorkshire Oaks was inaugurated in 1849, its mile-and-a-half distance was restricted to Thoroughbred three-year-old fillies. So it remained until 1991, when older fillies and mares were allowed to join in. The first “mature” horse to win was four-year-old Only Royale in 1993, and just for good measure she followed up her victory with a repeat performance in 1994, becoming the first five-year-old to win here as well.

The race is conducted on the left-handed turf of York’s Knavemire course. Three-year-old runners carry eight stone eleven pounds, while those four and older bear nine-stone-seven. There is an allowance of three pounds for four-year-olds from the Southern Hemisphere, and no penalties are applied for previous wins.

The winner of the very first running in 1849 was Lord Zetland’s filly Ellen Middleton. Trainer Mathew Dawson owned the second half of the 19th century, putting up no fewer than nine victors between 1868 and 1884. The last six winning fillies were ridden by legendary jockey Fred Archer, who added two additional wins for other trainers, bringing his total number of successes here to an unbeatable eight.

The next century started off with a bang as La Roche won both the Epsom Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks in the same year, one of 21 different fillies to do so in the long history of the races. Brown Duchess was the first to accomplish it in 1861 and Alexandrova was the most recent in 2006. In between, one of the most exciting winners of both was the 1959 champion Petite Etoile, a grey who also won the 1,000 Guineas that year.

Since 1991, only one other horse besides Only Royal has had two triumphs in the Yorkshire Oaks. That honour belongs to the 2002-03 Islington. But when it comes to great winners, the European Horse of the Year for 1992, User Friendly, must be mentioned. She won not only this race that year, but also the Irish Oaks, the Epsom Oaks and the St. Leger Stakes.

Both Willie Carson and Kieren Fallon guided four winners home in the modern era. Carson’s victories came in two sets of back-to-back wins—1983-84 and 1989-90—while Fallon caught his first success aboard Catchascatchcan in 1998, followed by a trio of triumphs that included the double on Islington and then an eleven-length victory on Quiff in 2004.

The most successful trainer of late has been Sir Michael Stoute with nine winners between 1978, when Fair Salinia crossed the line first, and Fallon’s hat-trick. The knight’s other five winners were Sally Brown in 1985, Untold in 1986, Hellenic in 1990, Pure Grain in 1995 and Petrushka in 2000.

Beginning in 1989, Aston Upthorpe assumed the title role of the race, and they held it through 2005. But since 2006, the event has been under the sponsorship of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud and officially known as the Darley Yorkshire Stakes. The total prize purse now comes to £310,000, making it one of the richest contests of the Festival.

Four-year-olds have taken over the Yorkshire Oaks in recent years, as Dar Me Ri won in 2009 and Midday took the top spot in 2010. Add to those the success of Punctilious in 2005 and you may have something of a trend. Oddly enough, the three-year-olds who owned the track during the three intervening years were all favourites: Alexandrova paying 4/9 in 2006, Peeping Fawn at 4/9 in 2007 and Lush Lashes at evens in 2008.

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