Musidora Stakes Betting

The £65,000 Musidora Stakes is one of highlights of opening day at York’s three-day Dante Festival each May. As a Group 3 event, it shares the Day One card with the main event—the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes—plus three handicap races and a novice stakes. The sponsor of this particular race is Tattersalls, who have always been its primary backer.

Inaugurated in 1961, the Musidora Stakes covers a distance of one mile, two furlongs and 88 yards on the left-handed turf of York’s famous Knavesmire Racecourse. It is widely viewed as a preliminary to the Group 1 Epsom Oaks Stakes held in June, where no fewer than six of the winners here have had success.

Named after Musidora, the Yorkshire-trained champion of the 1000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks in 1949, this flat race is open only to three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. Each starter carries a weight of eight stone twelve pounds, and there are penalties of four pounds for previous winners of Group 1 or Group 2 races over a distance of seven furlongs or more.

Although each filly gets just one opportunity to leave her mark on the Musidora Stakes, many stars of racing have shown their winning form here. The 1963 winner, noblesse, was the first to capture the Oaks in the same season, as did 1989’s victor, Snow Bird, who succeeded in the Princess Royal Stakes, too. More recently, Sariska went from her win here to capture both the English and Irish Oaks in 2009.

Among jockeys, Steve Cauthen leads them all with five victories in this event. His first came aboard Last Feather in 1982 and his last was on Snow Bird. In between he rode to the finish post first atop Fatah Flare in 1985, Indian Skimmer in 1987 and Diminuendo in 1988. Pat Eddery ranks second with four wins accrued between 1992 and 2003.

The trainer for all of Cauthen’s winners except Last Feather was Henry Cecil. He has schooled an additional five winners of the Musidora Stakes to top the leaderboard here. His triumphs include All at Sea in 1992, Magnificient Style in 1996, Reams of Verse in 1997, Passage of Time in 2007 and Aviate in 2010.

The most recent favourite to win the Musidora Stakes was Lush Lashes, paying 2/1 in 2008. She followed in the hoof prints of Passage of Time at 5/6, 2004’s Punctilious at 8/11 and 2002’s Islington at 5/6 as the correct choices of the bookmakers here since the turn of the new millennium. In 2003, Cassis made her backers happy in proving the bookmaker’s wrong as the first long-shot winner of the 21st century, paying 16/1.

Because the Dante Festival is the curtain raiser for the new season at York Racecourse, it draws a large crowd of racegoers eager to meet up with friends not seen over the winter. Nothing quite compares with the scent of newly mown grass and freshly planted flowers as music fills the air from the band playing on the Weighing Room Lawn. There is plenty of time to enjoy the festive atmosphere while picking a winner at one of more than 300 Tote betting points located around the course. The betting starts at just £2.

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