Hardwicke Stakes Betting

Conducted on the final day of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in June, the Hardwicke Stakes occupies a special place on the race card, just ahead of the £450,000 Golden Jubilee Stakes. As a Group 2 flat race open to Thoroughbreds aged four years and older, this event features a total prize purse of £125,000 and covers a distance of one mile four furlongs on the right-handed turf of the Ascot Racecourse.

Runners carry exactly nine stone to the track, with an allowance of three pounds given for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to winners of races since August 31 of the previous year, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 victors and three pounds for those who have succeeded in Group 2 events.

The Hardwicke Stakes was first run in 1879. Its name honours the 5th Earl of Hardwicke, Charles Phillip Yorke, who served as Ascot’s Master of the Buckhounds at that time. From the onset, this race was open any horse aged three or older, but the entry specifications were changed in the mid-20th century to provide a high quality opportunity for racehorses kept in training past their second season. The last three-year-old to win here was Helioscope in 1949.

There have been many multiple winners in the history of the Hardwicke Stakes. The 1886 British Triple crown winner Ormonde was one of the first, claiming double victory here in 1886-87. The 1910 St. Leger’s champion Swynford pulled off repeat wins here in 1910-11.

Other two-time winners include Chosroes in 1923-24, Assatis in 1989-90, Rock Hopper in 1991-92, Fruits of Love in 1999-2000 and most recently Maraahel in 2006-07. Only one competitor, however, managed the hat-trick at the Hardwicke Stakes. That was Tristan with victories in 1882, 1883 and 1884.

Of course, not every horse requires more than a single triumph to shine. Among the greatest steeds to cross the finish line first at the Hardwicke Stakes was Rock Sand, the winner here in 1904 after taking the Triple crown the previous year. The 1960 Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes winner St. Paddy came here to claim a final victory in 1961. And Reingold won here in 1973 before crossing the channel to end his career with success in France’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Two jockeys lead all others in wins here with seven wins apiece. St. Paddy’s rider Lester Piggott got his additional six aboard Elopement in 1955, Karabas in 1970, Relay Race in 1974, Meneval in 1977, Critique in 1982 and Jupiter Island in 1985. Then, Pat Eddery matched him by winning atop Charlie Bubbles in 1975, Orange Bay in 1976, Dihistan in 1986, Assatis in his first win, Rock Hopper both times and Posidonas in 1998.

Among trainers bringing winners to Ascot for this race, one stood alone for more than three dozen years with six triumphs. Noel Murless schooled two of Piggott’s successful rides, Elopement and St. Paddy, as well as Hugh Lupus in 1956, Aurelius in 1962, Hopeful Venture in 1968 and Selhurst in 1972. Then, Sir Michael Stoute got his first win here with Dihistan and followed it up with five more, including the two doubles by Rock Hopper and Maraahel, plus a 2010 victory with the 8/11 favorite Harbinger in a field of eleven.

Holding the Hardwicke Stakes on a Saturday is a relatively new addition to the Royal Ascot meeting, introduced as recently as 2002. Since then, winners at single-digit odds have been the norm, although Bandari did pay 10/1 in 2005. Look for short priced ante post favourites to do well, win or place, which makes each way betting a potentially lucrative opportunity here.

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