Select Stakes Betting

In September each year, the Goodwood Racecourse stages its final Group-level conditions race of the year—the Group 3 Select Stakes. It takes place on the Saturday of a two-day weekend of racing and dining, preceding a full day dedicated to great tasting, local and ethically produced food.

This £65,000 race covers a distance of one mile, one furlong and 192 yards on the right-handed turf of the Goodwood track. The event is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards. The youngest runners each carry a weight of eight stone seven pounds, while those aged four years and older must bear nine stone even.

There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to entries that have finished first in meetings since 28th February of the same year. They amount to seven pounds for Group 1 winners, five pounds for Group 2 winners and three pounds for Group 3 winners.

When this event was inaugurated in 1965, it was known as the Valdoe Stakes and open only to Thoroughbreds aged four years or older. The original distance was one mile. In 1966, the race was conducted as a handicap. When classifications were assigned in 1971, this race was accorded Listed status. Two years later it was restricted to horses aged three and four years only, but beginning in 1976, it was opened to older horses, too.

In 1986, the event was upgraded to the Group 3 level and officially renamed the Select Stakes. By then, the length had been increased to just under ten furlongs. In the early 1990s, the race was sponsored by ABtrust. Westminster Taxi Insurance assumed the title role in 1995, followed by the Motor Circuit celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1998 and then Caffrey’s Premium Ale.

For the 2000 edition, was the sponsor of the race, but then there was no main backer until the Tote became involved in 2003. From 2004 to 2009, the event was known as the Select Racing UK On Sky 432 Stakes. Then, Whiteley Clinic came on the scene in 2010.

Quite a number of fine horses have captured the Select Stakes over the years. The 1976 New Zealand Horse of the year, Balmerino, ran to his last major victory here in 1977, capping a career of 22 wins, eleven seconds and two thirds in 46 starts. Another great steed was Dancing Brave, whose win here was one of six victories in a single season that made him the 1986 European Horse of the Year.

More successful than both of those stallions, however, was Knifebox, the only runner ever to succeed here twice. In 1992, the bay stallion surprised everyone as four-year-old paying 25/1. To prove it was no fluke, Knifebox returned in 1993 with Michael Roberts in the saddle and raced to victory as the favourite at 6/4 odds.

Roberts had already had two prior wins here on Mtoto in 1988 and Filia Ardross in 1991. He went on to get another with Mutamam in 1998, making his four triumphs the most of any jockey to ride in the Select Stakes.

With the exception of Knifebox, Alec Stewart (1955-2004) trained all of Roberts’ winners. That tied the Newmarket native with three other great trainers at the top of the Select Stakes leaderboard: Dirk Hern, Saeed bin Suroor and Marcus Tregoning.

Hern got his three wins out of Bolide in 1979, Prince Bee in 1981 and Morcon in 1983. Later, Tregoning earned his trio of victories with Ekraar in 2000, Nayef in 2001 and Alkaadhem in 2004. More recently, bin Suroor has been the trainer to beat, schooling Triarius in 1995, Moon Ballad in 2002 and Pictavia in 2006.

Bookmakers had five of the ten winners picked as favourites in the first decade of the new millennium. They correctly predicted Ekraar at 10/11, Nayef at 8/13, Moon Ballad at 4/6 and Pictavia at evens. They also forecast that David Junior would win at 15/8 in 2005. No winner has paid off at double digits since Knifebox’s first win. Not even the recent wins by a pair of eight-year-olds, Mac Love in 2009 and Red Badge in 2010, paid out long odds. They delivered at 15/2 and 7/2, respectively.

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