Windsor Forest Stakes Betting

Established in 2004, one of the newest additions to the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in June is the mile-long Windsor Forest Stakes. It takes place on Day Two, along with the all-important Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes worth £400,000 over ten furlongs and the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, a sprint for two-year-old fillies covering five furlongs.

The £125,000 Windsor Forest Stakes is a Group 2 flat race over the turf of the famed Ascot Racecourse straight mile. Entry is open to Thoroughbred fillies and mares aged four years or older, each carrying eight stone twelve pounds. Penalties are applied to entrants finishing first in meetings since August 31 of the preceding year, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 winners and three pounds for Group 2 winners.

This race was one of several introduced throughout Europe in the past decade to extend the racing careers of older fillies and keep mares from being prematurely retired or exported to stud. With the winner’s share of the purse ranging between £70,000 and £81,000, there is plenty of incentive to stick around for this event.

The Windsor Forest Stakes was classified as a Group 2 event right from its inception. It typically draws around ten entrants, with as few as eight and as many as thirteen not uncommon. Their ages vary from four to six, and it is not unusual to see the previous season’s winners of the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas at the starting line for this race.

To date, no horse or jockey has won the Windsor Forest Stakes more than once. Such familiar riders as Johnny Murtagh, Kieren Fallon, Michael Kinane and Jamie Spencer have taken turns crossing the finish line first. Most recently, it was Ryan Moore’s turn aboard Strawberrydaiquiri in 2010.

Moore’s winner was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and it came as his third victory here, leading all others. He started out by taking the inaugural running with Favourable Terms in 2004 and followed up a year later with Peeress. During the four years between those wins, trainer James Fanshawe added a pair of victories of his own: Soviet Song in 2006 and Spacious in 2009.

Given its short history, the Windsor Forest Stakes does offer many trends to follow, but there could be a few in the making. To date, all but two of the winners have been four-year-olds. Soviet Song was the first older mare to win at age six, and then five-year-old Sabana Perdida at 4/1 odds beat out the 9/4 favourite Heaven Sent by three-quarters of length in 2008.

So far, only two winners have delivered at double-digit odds. Peeress came home at 14/1 and Spacious gave her backers a thrill in 2009 by thwarting Heaven Sent’s second attempt and paying 10/1. The rest of the Windsor Forest Stakes winners have all entered the race priced below 8/1.

Ante-post betting on the Windsor Forest Stakes gets under way almost a month before post time. Those who prefer wait till race day to do their wagering trackside have plenty of options at Ascot Racecourse. There are tote kiosks located throughout the race venue, and in some areas, tote staff have handheld devices for taking bets.

Odds at Ascot are displayed as decimals. The minimum stake is £2 to win or £1 each way. Numerous “exotic” bets are offered, too, such as the exacta (pick the first two) and trifecta (pick the first three).

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