2019 Nunthorpe Stakes Odds and Betting Preview
York’s four-day Ebor Festival continues into the weekend with the richest handicap horse race in Europe known as the Ebor Handicap takes place on Saturday afternoon, but our focus is on Friday’s meeting, and the Nunthorpe Stakes as a particular highlight.
Raced over the minimum distance of five furlongs, the Nunthorpe Stakes holds Group 1 status and tends to lure in the finest sprinters to the Knavesmire venue from all corners of the globe.
The event is named after Nunthorpe, which is an area of York. The first version of the race was established in 1903 as a low-grade selling handicap. The present version began in 1922, and the inaugural running was won by Two Step.
Bringing things nearer to the present day, the race was sponsored by William Hill from 1976 to 1989, and during this period it was known as the William Hill Sprint Championship. The Nunthorpe has had several different sponsors since then, and the latest is Coolmore Stud, which started supporting the event in 2007.
The Nunthorpe Stakes became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2011. The winner of the race now earns an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint over in America in early November.
The event is one of a limited number of races in which two-year-old horses can compete against their elders. The first juvenile to win was High Treason in 1953, and the most recent was Kingsgate Native in 2007 for trainer John Best and jockey, Jimmy Quinn. It is also the only Group 1 race in Britain open to two-year-old geldings.
A 40/1 shock was sprung last year as Alpha Delphini for local trainer, Bryan Smart, came home in first place. Sadly, the popular veteran will not be at York on Friday afternoon to defend his crown, but with several staying stars in the prospective field, this should be a highly competitive and exciting affair.
In this preview we will look at some of the leading contenders, to try and point our readers in the way of a winning bet.
Aidan O’Brien will send over an army of horses in expectation of plundering some of the biggest prizes at the Ebor Festival this week, but without question, one of the Ballydoyle supremo’s best chances of the week comes from the emerging sprinting talent that is Ten Sovereigns.
Following the dominating two and three-quarter length win in the Newmarket’s July Cup last month, Ten Sovereigns went into many notebooks with such an impressive victory. The step back to the minimum distance of five furlongs should not be any inconvenience to the likely mount of Ryan Moore also.
The bookmakers have been suitably impressed also and have cut Ten Sovereigns into favouritism, ahead of Battaash, which is an obvious plus. Ladbrokes go the best industry price at the time of writing of 7/4 on Ten Sovereigns being the top dollar of this prestigious sprint contest. The likely firmer conditions are likely to suit also with the weather expected to warm up towards the weekend.
Battaash, trained by Charles Hills has been one of the most devastating, yet quirky sprinting talents in recent memory, and the popular five-year old is likely to return to York with jockey Jim Crowley in the saddle.
For the last three years in succession, Battaash has claimed the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood in early August, and therefore, hope springs eternal for punters who believe that the speedy son of Dark Angel will repeat the performance at York. However, those plans have been scuppered for the last two seasons as Battaash has finished in fourth place at the Knavesmire venue on both occasions.
Goodwood is like Battaash in the sense that it is a quirky track that suits certain horses and not others. It obviously brings out the best in Hills’ charge, but the trip north to York has not proved profitable as yet.
Battaash is a best priced 9/4 chance with William Hill to win the Nunthorpe on Friday afternoon, but he must reverse the trends of the last two years to do so, and that could be a big ask.
Others of Note
On official ratings, the top two horses in the betting market are significantly ahead, but as Alpha Delphini proved last season, nothing is impossible and anything can happen in the sport of Horse Racing.
Of the remainder, the Michael Dods-trained Mabs Cross could well make his presence felt at the business end of the race after his second placed effort in the race last year. His nose defeat to Alpha Delphini last season was boosted by the fact that Mabs Cross finished around three lengths clear of Battaash.
A similar effort this time around would seriously put the five-year old into the reckoning here, but sadly the bookmakers tend to agree as Mabs Cross can be backed at the top price of 5/1 with Coral and SportingBet.
Archie Watson’s Soldier’s Call has yet to win this season, but he has been highly tried in some very notable races, and his third-place finish in the Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot was an excellent effort.
Soldier’s Call’s only previous trip to York ended in a narrow third placed effort in Listed company back in May, so will have to significant improvement on that, but it is far from impossible at 10/1 with the likes of William Hill and Coral.
One to keep in mind at a huge price is the chances of Tim Easterby’s Copper Knight. The five-year old has won four times on the Knavesmire track – albeit at a lower level, but course and distance form could give Copper Knight a live chance at the big odds of 50/1 with Ladbrokes and SportingBet.
Five furlong sprint contests are always tricky to get a handle upon and this race is no exception in truth. I’m prepared to stick my neck on the line here and rule out the chances of Battaash following two poor efforts in previous renewals.
Ten Sovereigns could well be the answer, but a plunge is taken on Mabs Cross to get the job done on Friday. A similar effort to last season could well be enough if the horse runs to a level befitting of last years’ second placed finish.
An each way dart is thrown in the direction of Copper Knight at the huge price of 50/1. There is an old adage in Horse Racing about horses for courses and if Copper Knight can produce his very best, it could be enough to be involved in the finish, and he will reward our readers with a very nice return.
- Mabs Cross to Win the Nunthorpe Stakes at 5/1 with Coral.
- Copper Knight (each way) at 50/1 with Ladbrokes.