Gordon Richards Stakes Betting

Introducing horse racing fixtures in Esher, Surrey in 1875, Sandown Park became the U.K.’s first fully enclosed racecourse. It has since gained a reputation for famous contests, attracting the very best competition in jumps as well as flat racing. Both types of events are featured at the annual bet365 Gold Cup Easter Festival in April, along with live music, gala parties and a lovely array of Easter fashion on parade.

Among the highlights of this two-day racing weekend is the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes. This £50,000 event joins the Group 2 Sandown Mile and the bet365 Gold Cup as one of the festival’s most anticipated races.

The Gordon Richards Stakes covers a distance of one mile, two furlongs and seven yards over the right-handed turf of the Sandown Park track. Entry is open to Thoroughbred horses aged four years and upward, each of which carries a weight of nine stone even.

An allowance of three pounds is provided for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries successful in races held since 31st August of the previous year, amounting to seven pounds for Group 1 winners, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

When this event was inaugurated in 1963, it was initially known as the Westbury Stakes. In 1987, it was renamed to honour the memory of twenty-six-time British Champion Jockey Sir Gordon Richards (1904–1986). In those days, the European Breeders’ Fund (EBF) were the sponsor. In 1991, CCH came on board as a primary backer, followed by T.G.I. Friday`s from 1992 to 1996 and then David Lloyd Leisure.

From 1998, the race was called the Marriott Hotels Stakes, although its officially registered title never changed. Heathorns Bookmakers became the sponsor in 2001, and then came attheraces.co.uk and betfred. In 2008, bet365 assumed primary sponsorship and has held it ever since.

Many famous Thoroughbreds have won this event, notably the 1972 British Horse of the Year, Brigadier Gerard, for whom a Group 3 stakes at Sandown in May is named. The most successful runner over the years here was Chancellor, winning in 2002 for trainer Barry Hills with his son Michael in the saddle and then, after being transferred to John Dunlop’s care, winning again with Kieren Fallon on board in 2004.

The rider with the most Gordon Richards Stakes victories is Lester Piggott with four. He got his first in 1968 on Sidon, followed by success on Never Return in 1975, Gregorian in 1980 and Ivano in 1983. More recently, Ryan Moore has put himself in position to join Piggott atop the leaderboard. He pulled off a hat-trick of consecutive wins with Ask in 2008, Tartan Bearer in 2009 and Glass Harmonium in 2010.

All three of Moore’s mounts were trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who has seven total wins here to his credit. The other four were contributed by Hard Fought in 1981, Dolpour in 1990, Singspiel in 1996 and Little Rock in 2000.

Two of Stoute’s recent entries won as favourites: Ask at 8/13 and Tartan Bearer at 11/10. Prior to that, the last favoured horse to succeed was Indian Creek at 3/1. Handicappers seeking winners at long odds in the Gordon Richards Stakes have to look back to 2003 when Weightless delivered nicely at 14/1.

Four-year-olds dominated this event till the close of the 20th century, but since then it has been anyone’s race, as the number of runners has varied from as few as five to as many as eleven during the past decade. Five of the most recent dozen winners have been age four, while another five have been five-year-olds. Chancellor was age six for his second victory, and the 2011 edition was won by a spry seven-year-old from South Africa, Kings Gambit, paying off at 5/1.

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