Sprint Stakes Betting

Also known as the “Coral Charge,” the Sprint Stakes is a Group 3 flat race conducted at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey. It is held on the first Saturday of July each year as a lead-in to the day’s main event, the £500,000 Group 1 Eclipse Stakes.

Open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards, this £50,000 event covers a distance of five furlongs and six yards over straight turf. Three-year-olds carry a weight of eight stone twelve pounds, while those aged four years and upwards must bear nine-stone-three.

An allowance of three pounds is give to fillies and mares. Penalties are applied to those who have finished first in meetings since 1st November of the previous year, amounting to eight pounds for Group 1 winners, six pounds for Group 2 winners and four pounds for Group 3 winners. However, a penalty exemption is made for any two-year-old wins.

Until 1991, the Sprint Stakes was a Listed event sponsored by Trafalgar House. In 1992, Stars and Stripes backed the race, followed by Advanced Micro Devices. For two years, the sprint had no sponsor, so Sandown Park supported it until Porcelanosa came on board as the title holder from 1998 to 2003.

When Champagne Laurent-Perrier became the primary sponsor in 2004, the Sprint Stakes was reclassified at the Group 3 level. Champagne Lanson was the main backer in 2008. Then, when a British betting shop, bingo and casino operator called the gala Coral Group Ltd, took up sponsorship in 2009, the race’s name was unofficially changed to the Coral Charge, even though its registered name remains the Sprint Stakes.

Despite the opportunity to compete on multiple occasions, no horse has ever won the Sprint Stakes more than once. Perhaps the most illustrious victor here was Lochsong, a filly that left the colts in the dust in 1993. She went on to become the European Horse of the Year and notched up 15 victories before retiring in 1994.

Four jockeys share the top of the Sprint Stakes leaderboard with two wins apiece. First to get there was Richard Hills riding Desert Dawn in 1989 and Misraah in 2001. Next came Alex Greaves on Ya Malak in 1997 and Fire Dome in 1998. He was followed by Darryll Holland aboard Cortachy Castle in 1999 and The Tatling in 2003. The most recent to join the trio was Lochsong’s rider, Frankie Dettori, who needed a decade and a half to get his second victory here, riding Ancien Regime in 2008.

Similarly, there are four trainers who have schooled a pair of winners each. Ian Balding was responsible for Silver Fling in 1988 before succeeding with Lochsong. David Nicholls contributed his winners back to back—Ya Malak in 1997 and Fire Dome in 1998—while Richard Hannon bookended him with Bunty Boo in 1995 and Watching in 2000. Luca Cumani got his first victory here in 1990 with Night at Sea, but needed almost two decades to win again, with Ialysos in 2009.

Since the turn of the new millennium, the bookmakers have been spot on the money four times. They had both Misraah and The Tatling correct at 7/2. They also chose right with Resplendent Glory at 2/1 in 2005 and Triple Aspect at 15/8 in 2010. To find a Sprints Stakes winner at long odds, handicappers have to look all the way back to 1998. That’s when Fire Dome delivered a lovely 33/1 payday.

Where age is concerned, three-year-olds have had the advantage of late, winning four of the last seven installments, including the 2011 edition taken by Night Carnation. Four-year-olds and six-year-olds are tied with three victories each since 2001, and five year-olds trail them all with on a single winner, Ialysos, in the past decade.

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