Park Stakes Betting

One of the youngest and most lucrative races held at Doncaster’s four-day St. Leger Festival each September is the £160,000 Park Stakes. This seven-furlong Group 2 event is conducted on the last day of racing, known as ladbrokes St. Leger Day, in concert with the classic St. Leger Stakes itself and the £100,000 Group 2 sprint for fillies known as the Champagne Stakes

The Park Stakes was inaugurated for Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards in 1978. It is run on the straight turf of the Doncaster Racecourse, with the three-year-olds carrying nine stone even and the older entries bearing an additional four pounds. There is a three-pound allowance for fillies and mares, but no penalties are applied to previous Group 1 or Group 2 race winners.

The Park Stakes derived its name from its original sponsor, Kiveton Park Steel. Initially the Kiveton Park Stakes was classified as a Listed race, and it earned Group 3 status in 1986. Seven years later, the distance was increased to a full mile, and in 1996 new sponsorship was obtained and the event was retitled “Britain`s Fastest Railway Park Stake.”

From 1998, GNER took up the sponsorship of the Park Stakes and held it for a full decade. During that time, the race reverted to its original seven-furlong length in 2003, and year later it was accorded Group 2 status. Then came National Express as the official backer for a year in 2008, followed by DFS (Direct Furnishing Supplies), who have been associated with the event ever since.

Three different horses have won the Park Stakes twice, and each of them accomplished it back-to-back. Bishop of Cashel was the first in 1995-96, followed by Iffraaj in 2005-06 and Arabian Gleam in 2007-08. On only one of those six occasions was the winner favoured, and that was Iffraaj in his second appearance at 4/6 odds.

Bishop of Cashel’s pilot Walter Swinburn had a preceding win on Soviet Line in 1994 to make three victories in total. But the jockey with the most wins here at four predates all of those runners. Willie Carson got his first Park Stakes success in 1980 aboard Known Fact. He then rode on to victory with The Quiet Bidder in 1982, Lucky Ring in 1985 and Gold Seam in 1989.

Currently, the top riders in the Park Stakes include Arabian Gleam’s jockey Johnny Murtagh and Iffraaj’s first saddle partner Philip Robinson. Frankie Dettori took up the reins for Iffraaj’s second victory, giving the Italian flash his own third win after having success on Green Line Express in 1990 and Handsome Ridge in 1998. Robinson got his second triumph here in 2010 on Balthazar’s Gift.

Among trainers, three are tied at the top of the Park Stakes leaderboard with three wins apiece. Dick Hern got his first with Kittyhawk in 1981, Lucky Ring in 1985 and Gold Seam in 1989. Sir Michael Stoute’s came from Soviet Line plus The Quiet Bidder in 1982 and Tough Speed in 2001. Then, James Fanshawe got two quickly with Bishop of Cashel’s double and added Polar Ben in 2003.

Although as many as eleven horses have competed against one another in recent years, on several occasions the Park Stakes has featured a small field. There were only five starters in 2000 and just six in 2009. But that certainly doesn’t mean the competition is any less intense. For the 2011, the event drew 53 entrants. The vast majority of the would-be winners drop out before making it to the starting post, leaving only a very qualified group of sprinters to vie for the prize.

Age makes no difference here when it comes to crossing the finish line first. Since the turn of the new millennium, the winners have included three three-year-olds, four four-year-olds, one aged five years, one aged six and two aged seven.

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