Sagaro Stakes Betting

A bold experiment began in 2010 to invigorate a new generation of British racegoers. It was called “Racing for Change,” and its primary appeal was a day of free admission at various racecourses around the nation. Ascot was determined to be among the leaders in the charge and opened one of its Wednesday meetings in April to the general public, which just happened to include the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes.

The £60,000 event is open to Thoroughbreds aged four years and upwards. It covers a distance of exactly two miles over the right-handed turf of the Ascot track. The four-year-olds carry eight stone eleven pounds, while those aged five years and older must bear nine-stone-one.

An allowance three pounds is made for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to winners of races since 31st August of the previous year, amounting to seven pounds for Group 1 victors, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for those that have succeeded in Group 3 events.

When the race was inaugurated in 1978, it was named in honour of a chestnut stallion that won Ascot’s Gold Cup on three occasions in the 1970s. Initially this race was run as a Listed event until it received Group 3 status in 1983. Among the earliest sponsors were EBF and Insulpak. In 2000, Bovis Homes took up the title role, followed by HBLB, Hesmonds Stud, Woodcote Stud and then Moss Bros for the free 2010 edition.

In 2011, the grandstands for the Sagaro Stakes again featured complimentary seating, this time with totepool as the main sponsor and attracting well over 25,000 visitors to Ascot’s main enclosure. Research has indicated that roughly 63 per cent of the attendees were either new or lapsed racegoers, with some 87 per cent of the newcomers indicating they were likely to attend another racing event in the future. Based on such results, Racing for Change has been declared a major success.

And apropos of success, five different Thoroughbreds have won here on two occasions, including Nicholas Bill in 1979 and 1981, Teamster in 1990-91, Double Trigger in 1995-96, Orchestra Stall in 1997 and 2000, and Alcazar in 2003 and 2005. Double Trigger has the distinction of being the most recent winner here to also win the Gold Cup in the same season, that being 1995.

The top jockey in the Sagaro Stakes with four victories is Pat Eddery. He started off with Castelnau in 1982 and followed up with Valuable Witness in 1986 before getting the back-to-back wins on Teamster, trained by Sir Michael Stoute. The knighted trainer also schooled three other winners—Shangamuzo in 1978, Cover Up in 2006 and Patkai in 2009—for a total of five winners. The only trainer to do as well here is John Dunlop with five triumphs of his own, namely Sergeyevich in 1988, the double with Orchestra Stall, Celeric in 1999 and Give Notice in 2002.

Since the turn of the new millennium, two entries have won at long odds. Solo Mio paid a lovely 20/1 in 2001, and Illustrious Blue came through at 16/1 in 2010. Meanwhile, only one favourite has succeeded in the past decade. That was the Irish 2/5 chestnut gelding Patkai.

As for age, it seems to make little difference in determining the winners in this event. Alcazar’s wins came at ages eight and ten. Cover Up was nine. Of the most recent dozen winners, two have been four-year-olds, two have been five, two have been six and three have been seven. And Orchestra Stall was eight when getting the second victory in 2000.

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