Earl of Sefton Stakes Betting

The racing season gets under way in earnest in mid-April with the launch of Newmarket’s historic two-day Craven Meeting. Joining the second day’s main event, the mile-long Craven Stakes, is another highly anticipated race, the £50,000 Earl of Sefton Stakes for Thoroughbreds aged four years old and upwards.

This Group 3 event covers a distance of one mile and one furlong on the straight turf of Newmarket’s famed Rowley Mile. Each of the starters carries eight stone twelve pounds, with an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries successful in races held since 31st August of the previous year, amounting to eight pounds for Group 1 winners, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

When the event was created in 1971, it was originally known as the Rubbing House Stakes. Two years later, it was renamed in memory of the seventh Earl of Sefton, Hugh Molyneux (1898–1972). Prior to 1994, EBF were the official backer of this race, but the continuous association with Weatherbys since 1998 is the sponsorship best known to the racing public.

In four decades of contests, only one horse ever won the Earl of Sefton Stakes twice. That was the Clive Brittain-trained Terimon in 1990-91, ridden first by Ray Cochrane and then by Michael Roberts. Perhaps the greatest horse ever to run here, however, was the 2007 winner Manduro, a German-bred stallion that also won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and was ranked by the by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities as the #1 World Thoroughbred Racehorse that year.

No fewer than seven jockeys have claimed three triumphs apiece here, accounting for the bulk of all wins since Geoff Lewis rode Pembroke Castle to the finish post ahead of all others in 1971. He followed up with victories aboard Owen Dudley in 1974 and Chil the Kite in 1976 to set the standard by which other Earl of Sefton Stakes jockeys would be judged.

Joe Mercer was up to the challenge, winning on Jimsun in 1975, Gunner B in 1978 and Legend of France in 1984. Next came Steve Cauthen atop Hawaiian Sound in 1979, Reprimand in 1989 and Sure Sharp in 1992, and then there was Walter Swinburn with success on Hard Fought in 1981, Ezzoud in 1993 and Desert Shot in 1995

Pat Eddery got his three wins with King of Clubs in 1985, K-Battery in 1987 and Right Wing in 2001. Kieren Fallon’s trio included Ali-Royal in 1997, Shiva in 1999 and Olden Times in 2003. And the most recent jockey to conclude three successful rides in the Earl of Sefton Stakes was Michael Kinane, who won with Luso in 1996, Indian Lodge in 2000 and Notnowcato in 2006.

Among trainers, only one name stands out at the top of the Earl of Sefton Stakes leaderboard. That’s Henry Cecil, who claimed his first of seven victories with Mercer’s Gunner B and soon added Ivano in 1983. They were followed by Legend of France, Reprimand, Ali-Royal and Shiva, and his very latest winner was Phoenix Tower in 2008.

For three decades, two six-year-olds—Jimsun and K-Battery—were the oldest horses to win the Earl of Sefton Stakes. Then seven-year-old Right Wing demonstrated how maturity can be an asset, and the Mark Johnston-trained Gateman learned the lesson, winning at age seven in 2004. All of the other winners here have been four- and five-year-olds, with the younger mounts holding a 4-3 advantage in the last seven editions.

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