Princess of Wales`s Stakes Betting

The July Festival at Newmarket in Suffolk is East England’s response to the Royal Ascot meeting in June. It features superlative fashion and top-class racing for a three-day weekend in early July. Day Two is known as Abu Dhabi Day, and joining the July Stakes as one of the main attractions on the afternoon card is the £100,000 Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

This Group 2 flat race is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and older. It covers a distance of one mile and four furlongs on the right-handed turf of the L-shaped July Course. The three-year-old runners carry eight stone three pounds, while the older entrants bear nine-stone-two.

There is a three-pound allowance for fillies and mares, and penalties are applied for winners of races held since 1 November of the previous year, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 victors and three pounds for those who succeeded in Group 2 events. Races won as two-year-olds, however, are exempt from the penalties.

The event was first established in 1894, making this a relatively “new” event by Newmarket standards. It was named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark, the then Princess of Wales. The original race was one mile, and it was extended to its current length in 1902. Staring in 1971, this was classified as a Group 3 event. It was upgraded to its current status in 1978.

The parade of champions leaving their mark here began with the 1893 British Triple crown winner Isinglass claiming the inaugural race as his own. Five years later, 1899 Triple crown champion Flying Fox took control of this track for his final career victory. And a third Triple Crown winner, Rock Sand, was able to succeed in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes in 1904 before retiring to stud.

Four horses have managed back-to-back victories in the Newmarket event in the past century. Lance Chest did it first in 1912-13, followed by Primera in 1959-60 and Lomond in 1965-66. The most recent runner to accomplish the double was Millenary in 2002-03.

Two trainers have brought seven winners apiece to the starting post in the past four decades here. Dick Hern got his wins in first, between 1974 and 1988. Then, Sir Michael Stoute followed his example with Shardari in 1986, Rock Hopper in 1991, Saddlers’ Hall in 1992, Little Rock in 2000, Gamut in 2005, Papal Bull in 2007 and Doctor Fremantle in 2009.

Among jockeys, only Lester Piggott has ridden eight winners of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes. They included both victories with Primera as well as triumphs aboard Zucchero in 1952, Apostle in 1961, Lord Helpus in 1977, Pollerton in 1978, Light Cavalry in 1981 and Head for Heights in 1984.

Online bookmakers are the very latest sponsors of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes, taking up the title in 2010. They were preceded by Blue Square,,, UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, Pearl and Coutts, and Greene King. In 2005, the event was conducted as the Princess of Wales’s Edward St George Memorial Stakes.

Three-year-olds have not had much success in this race. In the past 21 years, up to 2010, only three of them have succeeded, the latest being Soapy Danger in 2006. On the other hand, keep a close eye on four-year-olds that have run well in Classic races during the previous year. The 2007 St. Leger Stakes winner Lucarno proves a good example, winning here in 2008.

The Racing Post website offers race goers, fans and handicappers a glimpse at the horse racing card for the Princess of Wales’s Stakes well ahead of the running. Keep an eye on form here, too, for future reference. Many view this race as a stepping stone to the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes held at Ascot at the end of July.

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