Lancashire Oaks Betting

Horse racing has been a part of the social scene at Haydock Park in Merseyside since 1752. The racecourse’s most historical raceday takes place on a Saturday in July with the running of the Old Newton Cup and its companion Group 2 event, the £100,000 Lancashire Oaks. The latter is a romp of one mile, three furlongs and 200 yards for Thoroughbred fillies and mares aged three years or older.

As the runners pass over the left-handed turf of Haydock Racecourse, the three-year-olds carry eight stone six pounds while the older horses must bear nine-stone-five. There are penalties applied for success in races since November 1 of the previous year, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 winners and three pounds for those triumphant in Group 2 events.

Inaugurated in 1939, when it was won by Cestria, the Lancashire Oaks is quite new compared to the Old Newton Cup established in the mid-18th century. What’s more, this race had its beginnings at the Manchester Racecourse in Salford, where entry was restricted to three-year-old fillies and the distance was shorter by 200 yards.

The race was abandoned during World War II and the second installment did not occur until 1947. The closure of the racecourse at Salford in November 1963 left Lancashire Oaks without a home for a year, until Haydock Park adopted it in 1965. From 1971, Group 3 status was accorded to the event. It became open to older fillies and mares in 1991.

Starting in 1996, the Lancashire Oaks found its first sponsor in Letheby & Christopher. They were followed by Payne and Gunter, Unigate Foodservice and Halliwell Landau until 2002, when the race went a year without official backing. Then in 2003, bet365 took up the title role, and they have held it ever since. The Lancashire Oaks was subsequently upgraded to the Group 2 level in 2004.

The rush to send good mares off for breeding has always been a problem for distaff racing. A case in point was when three-year-old Playful Act won here in 2005 and was quickly spirited away after a second place finish in the Irish Oaks. When she fetched US$10.5 million at auction—more than 20 times her career winnings—she became the most expensive broodmare in history.

Given the lack of repeat entries, it should come as no surprise that only one only horse has won this race twice. That was Barshiba, and she did so only quite recently with triumphs in 2009 and 2010.

Jockeys, on the other hand, come back again and a gain to the Lancashire Oaks. The most successful of them was Doug Smith with half a dozen wins here. He got his first aboard Smoke Screen in 1947 and then went on to victories riding noble Lassie in 1959, Chota Hazri in 1960, Irristable in 1961, French Cream in 1962 and Royal Flirt in 1966.

Years later, trainer Henry Cecil would set a race record of his own with seven triumphs. His first came with Sing Softly in 1982, followed by Sandy Island in 1984, Patricia in 1991, Rainbow Lake in 1993, State Crystal in 1994, Catchascatchcan in 1998 and Sacred Song in 2001.

Look for entries that have performed well previously in the Epsom Oaks, Pretty Polly Stakes or Ribblesdale Stakes to do well in the Lancashire Oaks. Between 1996 and 2007, the three- and four-year-old ruled the roost here, but lately their reign has been usurped. Anna Pavlova was five when she won in 2008, and Barshiba made her unique double at ages five and six.

As for jockeys, Philip Robinson, Jimmy Fortune and Paul Hanagan have all had back-to-back victories here since 1999. And trainer John Gosden has had a pair of wins since the new millennium began, plus a strong third place finish with 40/1 Queen of Naples in 2008.

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