Coventry Stakes Betting

The six-furlong Coventry Stakes for two-year-old Thoroughbreds takes place on the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting each June. It is surrounded by tradition, pageantry, fashion, and style, leading off five full days of great horse racing, including 18 Group races with combined purse of £4 million.

On the same card with the Group 2 Coventry Stakes are three Group 1 races: the Queen Anne Stakes for four-year-olds and up and the St James’s Palace Stakes for three-year-old colts, both covering one mile, plus the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes for horses aged three years and older. The St. James’s race features a right-hand turn, but the others are all conducted on the famous turf of the Ascot Racecourse straight mile.

Runners in the Coventry Stakes carry nine stone one pound, with an allowance of three pounds for fillies. The total prize fund for this event is a substantial £100,000, of which slightly more than half goes to the winner.

Although the Coventry Stakes is considered a rather “recent” addition to the Royal Ascot meeting, which dates back to 1711, it is certainly not a new race at all. The inaugural running took place in 1890, when the event was named after the 9th Earl of Coventry. Between 1886 and 1892, he served as Ascot’s Master of the Buckhounds.

The great stallion Persimmon made his debut victory here as a juvenile in 1895, before going on the win both the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger the following year. Britain’s 10th Triple crown winner, Rock Sand, also got his career started here with success in 1902. And this was one of five races won in 1913 by Tetrarch, the grey Irish colt that would later be named “Britain`s two-year-old of the 20th century.”

Indeed, many of the greatest runners in history put the Coventry Stakes their win column en route to fame and fortune. There was Dante in 1941, Tudor Minstrel in 1946, Palestine in 1949, Martial in 1959, and Mill Reef in 1970. The event was classified as a Group 3 flat race in 1971, which remained the case until promotion to its current status in 2004.

The jockey whose name is most closely associated with the Coventry Stakes is Sir Gordon Richards. His nine victories here started in 1932 aboard Manitoba and concluded in 1951, when he piloted King’s Bench to triumph. The other winners were Medieval Knight in 1933, Hairan in 1934, Nasrullah in 1942, Khaled in 1945 and The Cobbler in 1947, along with successful rides on Tudor Minstrel and Palestine.

Among trainers, two sprint specialists managed seven wins apiece here. Frank Butters got his between 1927 and 1949, with four of Richards’ mounts among them—Hairan, Nasrullah, Khaled and Palestine. The others were Fairway in 1927, Mirza II in 1937 and Turkhan in 1939. Likewise, Fred Darling trained four of the knighted jockey’s winning rides: Manitoba, Medieval Knight, Tudor Minstrel and The Cobbler. Darling’s other champions were Lemnarchus in 1930, Cockpen in 1931 and Big Game in1941.

In recent years, trainer Aiden O’Brien has done well here, bringing five winners to the starting post. He paired with rider Michael Kinane on three of the occasions: Fasliyev in 1999, Statue of Liberty in 2002 and the much-acclaimed Henrythenavigator in 2007. The other two wins came with Harbour Master in 1997 and Landseer in 2001.

Another combination of trainer-jockey that has caught the attention of bookmakers and handicappers alike is the two Richards—Hannon and Hughes. In 2009, they won with Canford Cliffs, followed by Strong Suit in 2010. No surprise, perhaps, both two-year-olds ran as favourites at 7/4 and 15/8, respectively.

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