Oak Tree Stakes Betting

The £65,000 Oak Tree Stakes is a Group 3 sprint conducted on the penultimate day of the five-day Glorious Goodwood Festival. Sharing the card with six other races, it is held in late July or early August each year. The running takes place on the right-handed turf of the Goodwood Racecourse, following the day’s main events—the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and the highly anticipated Totesport Mile.

Covering a distance of seven furlongs, the Oak Tree Stakes is open to Thoroughbred fillies and mares aged three years and upwards. The three-year-olds carry a weight of eight stone nine pounds, while starters aged four years and older must bear nine-stone-two.

Penalties are applied to entrants that have had success in races since 1st November of the previous year, amounting to eight pounds for Group 1 winners, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners. However, a penalty exemption is made for any two-year-old wins.

The Oak Tree Stakes was first conducted in 1980 under a different name—the New Stand Stakes — commemorating the opening of a new Goodwood grandstand by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1981, the race was renamed the Royal Wedding Day Stakes, taking place on the same day that Prince Charles and Diana were married.

In 1982, the current title was given to this event, which had been accorded Listed status from the inaugural running. The name refers to the Oak Tree Racing Association, now based at Hollywood Park, California, with which this race has always enjoyed a close affiliation. In return, the Goodwood Stakes has been conducted at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia since 1982.

Beginning in 1998, this event was temporarily known as the Oak Tree Fillies Stakes, but it reverted to the simpler name in 2001. The status of the event was elevated to the Group 3 level in 2004. Throughout its history, the Oak Tree Stakes has never had a title sponsor.

No winner of the Oak Tree Stakes has ever repeated. There is one jockey, however, who has ridden four mounts to the finish line first—the American sensation Steve Cauthen. He got his first win here aboard Fenny Rough in 1983, followed by Ever Genial in 1985, Gayane in 1987 and Alidiva in 1990.

The last three of those winners were schooled by Henry Cecil, who tops the leader board for trainers at the Oak Tree Stakes with five victories in total. His other two wins came with Chalon in 1982 and Selfish in 1999, and his record is likely to stand for a long time to come. Since 2001, no trainer or jockey has been able win more than once.

By age, three-year-olds have completely dominated this event, taking every installment from 1980 till 1998 and all but four thereafter. Selfish at age five was the oldest mare ever to succeed here. The trio of four-year-olds that have reached the winners enclosure include Majestic Desert in 2005, Wake up Maggie in 2007 and Tropical paradise in 2010.

In fact, bookmakers missed badly in 2010 by pegging three-year-old Jacqueline Quest at 15/8. Tropical paradise paid 16/1 as the favourites weakened in the final 150 yards to finish a dismal fifth. Their penchant for three-year-olds caused them to miss Wake up Maggie, too, when she paid 11/1. The one time they went with a four-year-old—Chic at 100/30 in 2004—she finished third and let Phantom Wind take the honours at 16/1.

The bookmakers don’t always fare badly, of course. They correctly picked Tantina at 9/4 in 2003 and Red Evie at15/8 in 2006. Most recently, they put visit as the favourite in 2008, and she delivered at 2/1. But the possibility of surprises makes the Oak Tree Stakes an excellent value for handicappers who are looking for a handsome payout.

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