Flying Childers Stakes Betting

One of the highlights of the four-day St. Leger Festival held in September is Doncaster Cup Day, the third day of the annual meeting. The main feature on the race card is of course the £100,000 Group 2 DFS Doncaster Cup, but an almost equally lucrative and just as important sprint precedes it, the £80,000 Flying Childers Stakes.

Classified as a Group 2 flat horse race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, the Flying Childers Stakes covers a distance of fiver furlongs on the straight turf of the Doncaster Racecourse. All runners carry nine stone even, except for fillies receiving an allowance of three pounds and any winners of previous Group 1 or Group 2 events, for which a penalty of three pounds is applied.

This event was founded in 1967, when it was initially known as the Norfolk Stakes. That name, however, was conferred in 1973 upon a much older Ascot race, the New Stakes (since 1843), and this event was renamed to commemorate a famous 18th-century racehorse called Flying Childress, which was bred near Doncaster at Carr House.

Although the Flying Childers Stakes received Group 1 the year of its name change, it was relegated to Group 2 status in 1979 and has remained there ever since. The first sponsor of the event was Tripleprint in 1993, followed by Polypipe PLC in 1996, and the race has been known by the title “Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes” ever since.

Each sprinter gets just one opportunity to claim victory in the Flying Childers Stakes. The bay stallion Green Desert left his mark here with a victory in 1985 before gong on to claim both the July Cup and the Sprint Cup the following year. Another memorable winner was Mrs. P, a bay mare that overcame thirteen other sprinters in 1999 and won dramatically over two 8/1 challengers by a head and the favoured Fez by a neck to pay 33/1.

Two other entries have finished first at long odds here since the turn of the new millennium. Chateau Istana (later exported to Hong Kong and renamed Chateau King Prawn), galloped to an 11/1 payout in 2004, and Madame Trop Vite rewarded her backers in similar fashion in 2008.

Lester Piggott holds the record for most career wins in the Flying Childers Stakes at five. He started by riding Tribal Chief to victory in 1969 and then piled on three straight win with Marble Arch in 1972, Gentle Thoughts in 1973 and Hot Spark in 1974. His fifth triumph came aboard Green Desert.

Also with five wins, Sir Michael Stoute heads the leaderboard of top trainers here. Green Desert was his responsibility, too, although that victory was preceded by wins with Music Maestro in 1977 and Marwell in 1980. Later came two more top prizes with Raah Algharb in 1994 and Saddad in 2001.

This event sees a large number of fillies entered, and they tend to do well amid fields of up to 14 or more sprinters. The bay filly Sand Vixen won in 2009, making it three in a row for the gentler gender. In 2005 the 11/4 favourite, a gelding named Wi Dud, had to hold off a charge from 11/2 Bahama Mama to claim his victory.

The only colt touted as the favourite in the Flying Childers Stakes to succeed in recent years was the 2010 winner, Zebedee. His triumph here was the sixth in seven outings, as he snatched victory by a head from second-placed Dinkum Diamond. Richard Hughes was in the saddle that day for his first win in this race. However, Frankie Dettori has been the jockey to beat in the last decade, riding three winners in eight years, including Sand Vixen along with Howick Falls in 2003 and Fleeting Spirit in 2007.

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