Chipchase Stakes Betting

Of the 30 fixtures scheduled at Newcastle Racecourse each year, the three-day John Smith’s Northumberland Plate Festival in late June or early July is among the most popular. Particularly on Saturday, Day Three of racing, the card is filled with seven dramatic contests, including one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world—the Northumberland Plate. All of the day’s action is led off by another much-anticipated event—the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes.

This £66,000 sprint is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and older. It is conducted on the straight turf of the Newcastle Racecourse over a distance of six furlongs, with each younger runner carrying eight stone ten pounds while those aged four years and upwards must bear nine-stone-three.

There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to horses successful in previous races since 31st August of the preceding year, amount to eight pounds for Group 1 winners, six pounds for Group 2 winners and four pounds for Group 3 winners.

The Chipchase Stakes was inaugurated in 1994, when it was classed at the Listed level. The following year, a primary sponsor was found in Whitley Bay Holiday Park, who backed the race until Colonel Porter Brown Ale came onboard in 1997. In 1999, John Smith’s Extra Smooth became the headliner, and the event was promoted to Group 3 status in 2001.

From 2003 onwards, sponsorship changed frequently, including such backers as Kronenbourg 1664, Foster’s Lager, John Smith’s “Extra Cold,” Newcastle Brown Ale, Journal and Since 2010, the Chipchase Stakes has been sponsored by the Tote under its brand.

In its first seventeen installments, the Chipchase Stakes saw one horse manage to pull of a double victory that was nothing short of astonishing. That distinct honour went to Tedburrow, winner in 2000 at age eight at 12/1 odds and again in 2002 at age ten, paying odds of 11/1.

Among jockeys, three riders have guided two winners apiece. Darryll Holland got his pair on Branston Abby in 1995 and Andreyev in 1998. Kevin Darley followed with victories aboard Halmahera in 1999 and Soldier’s Tale in 2005. Then came Paul Hanagan riding to the finish post first on Utmost Respect in 2008 and Knot in Wood in 2009.

Similarly, three trainers have marked up two triumphs apiece. Mick Channon set the standard with Piccolo in 1994 and Royal Millennium in 2004. Eric Alston only needed one horse, Tedburrow, to claim his two wins. And most recently Richard Fahey has joined them with Hanagan’s two winning rides.

Handicappers looking for some excellent opportunities would do well to examine the history of the Chipchase Stakes. Apart from the miraculous work of Tedburrow, payouts in double-digits have come from Confuchias in 2007 at 12/1 and Barney McGrew in 2010 at 16/1.

Favourites have proven to be a good selection over the past decade, too, starting with the 2001 winner, Firebolt, paying 6/4. Soldier’s Tale offered the same rate of return, and a year later, in 2006, Fayr Jag delivered at 5/2. The most recent favourite to enhance the bookmakers’ reputation was 11/4 Utmost Respect, but 5/6 Regale Parade failed to live up to expectations in 2011 and finished third behind the 11/2 Irish gelding Genki and 9/1 Doncaster Rover.

Age is said to make a difference, and maturity might be a key here. Of the most recent half dozen winners, four have been seven-year-olds, including the last three. The other two, however, were ages three and four, and no seven-year-old won prior to 2006, making this trend a bit suspect for 2012 and beyond.

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