The four-day Ebor meeting at York begins on a Wednesday and the Great Voltigeur Stakes is one of the races ensuring that things get off to a thrilling start.
The race gets its name from the Yorkshire-trained St Leger & Derby winner, Voltigeur. Since its 1950 introduction, 14 horses have won both this race and the St Leger the following month, the last of which was Logician who did the double in 2019 for John Gosden.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 19th August 2020
- Winner: Pyledriver
- SP: 10/1
- Trainer: William Muir
- Jockey: Martin Dwyer
1m4f is the trip for this Group 2 event, which takes place on the opening day of York’s Ebor meeting, and offers total prize money of £75,000. The going at the track is currently described as good but, with plenty of rain forecast in the area on Tuesday and Wednesday, this may well ease considerably come the time of the race.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||1m4f||Group 2||£75,000||8 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Great Voltigeur Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Being a high-class contest over 1m4f, and restricted to three year old male performers, it isn’t too surprising that this race regularly attracts runners who have previously lined up in the Epsom Derby. That is the case once again this year, with three of the eight-runner field having contested that Classic contest earlier in the season.
With five previous wins to his name, John Gosden is the most successful of the trainers on show this year. Gosden sends the unbeaten Darain into battle, and should he prevail the Newmarket handler will move to within one of all-time leader Sir Michael Stoute.
This has been a solid race for favourite backers in the past 10 years, with six of the 10 ten jollies coming home in front, handing supporters of the market leader a level stakes profit of +£3.66. This year’s favourite is sure to attract plenty of attention but has the market called this one right yet again?
|Mogul||7/4||109||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|Darain||3/1||96||John Gosden||Oisin Murphy|
|Roberto Escobarr||6/1||90||William Haggas||Tom Marquand|
Mogul – 7/4
Heading the betting for this year’s renewal is the Aidan O’Brien-trained, Mogul. The Ballydoyle maestro - who knows a thing or two about classy 1m4f performers - has always held this one in high regard, and there’s certainly plenty to like about the strapping son of Galileo on paper. Being out of Shastye, he is a full-brother to the dual Group 1 winner Japan and, whilst he is yet to scale the heights of his elder brother, he does look to be a very similar type.
Fairly impressive in winning two of his opening three starts last season, an inability to act on Newcastle’s all-weather surface looked to be a legitimate excuse for his poor performance in the Vertem Futurity Stakes at Newcastle on his final outing of 2019.
Fast forward to the current campaign, and the assertion of connections that he would likely take at least a couple of runs to hit peak form looked to be bang on the money, as he flopped first time out in the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot. A subsequent sixth in a very strange Derby told us very little, although the fact that he managed to reverse form with Ascot conqueror Pyledriver (who also goes here) was at least encouraging.
Dropped back down to Group 3 company last time out at Goodwood, he found himself back in the winner’s enclosure when storming down the outside to get up close home in the Gordon Stakes. He’s slightly back up in class here, but looks set to be suited by this stiffer track, and shouldn’t be far away.
Darain – 3/1
John Gosden has won this with some very smart performers over the years, including last year’s champ, Logician, and 2007 winner Lucarno, who both followed up in the St. Leger; and Cracksman who, having landed this in 2017, went on to claim two Champion Stakes successes.
Flying the flag for the Gosden team this year is the Al-Shaqab Racing colt, Darain. Whilst it’s too early to say whether he will prove up to the standard of the aforementioned trio of Gosden trained winners, he has at least made a most encouraging start. Having landing each of his two outings to date with the minimum of fuss he has to have a live chance here.
A 4½l win in a Class 5 Novice at Newbury on debut, and a 2¼l success in a similar event at Newmarket last time out wouldn’t necessarily scream out that he was ready for a step up to Group 2 level, but there are very strong pedigree pointers to suggest he may be a quality performer in the making.
Sired by Dubawi and out of Dar Re Mi, he is a full brother to Lah Ti Dar, So Min Dar and Too Darn Hot, all of whom scored in Group company and were also trained by John Gosden. This is a big step up from anything he has achieved to date, but he remains very much in the “could be anything” category and may well be up to the task.
Roberto Escobarr – 6/1
The O’Brien and Gosden runners dominate the market, but of those a little further down the list, perhaps the most interesting contender is the William Haggas hopeful, Roberto Escobarr. Having his third career start following back to back efforts in Class 5 company, this one boasts a very similar profile to Darain and, like the Al Shaqab runner, remains a horse of significant untapped potential.
Another who is nicely bred, being by Galileo, and out of the multiple Group class winning sprinter, Bewitched, the mount of Tom Marquand boasts both speed and stamina in his pedigree. However, if his effort last time out at this track is anything to go by, it would seem that staying may well be more his game.
In what looked a decent race for the grade, Roberto Escobarr did take a little while to hit top gear, but ultimately pulled away to score by a widening four lengths at the line in that 1m2½f event. That was a big step up on his debut at Haydock - when ruining all chance through greenness - and any further improvement could bring him right into this, especially on softer ground.
Great Voltigeur Stakes Winners
|2020||Pyledriver||10/1||William Muir||Martin Dwyer|
|2019||Logician||10/11||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Old Persian||7/1||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle|
|2017||Cracksman||4/6||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2016||Idaho||5/6||Aidan O’Brien||Seamie Heffernan|
|2015||Storm The Stars||3/1||William Haggas||Pat Cosgrave|
|2014||Postponed||5/2||Luca Cumani||Andrea Atzeni|
|2013||Telescope||5/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2012||Thought Worthy||9/1||John Gosden||William Buick|
|2011||Sea Moon||11/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Richard Hughes|
About the Great Voltigeur Stakes
Voltigeur may not be a name you’ve heard of before but in his heyday he was one of Yorkshire’s best sporting assets. The British thoroughbred secured victories in The Derby, St Leger and then Doncaster Cup after famously edging out the previously unbeaten, The Flying Dutchman, by half a length. Upon his death in 1874, the Sheffield Telegraph called Voltigeur “the pride of the Yorkshire sportsman…and one of the most popular horses that ever trod British turf.”
Seeking to pay tribute to such a fine horse, York Racecourse introduced the Voltigeur Stakes in 1950 with ‘Great’ added to the title seven years later. It’s at York where the Group 2 contest has remained, now scheduled to play a major role on the opening day of the course’s excellent Ebor Festival. Run over a distance just shy of a mile and a half, it serves as one of the main trial races for another of Yorkshire’s big contests, the esteemed St Leger.
Much like the St Leger, the Great Voltigeur Stakes is also restricted to three-year-olds but it does have additional limitations. For starters, only colts and geldings can compete in this race and there are also penalties of 5lb and 3lbs respectively handed to former Group 1 and Group 2 winners respectively.
ST LEGER DOUBLE PROVING INCREASINGLY TRICKY
Fourteen Great Voltigeur Stakes winners have successfully secured further success in the last Classic of the season, the St Leger. The latest horse to do so was Logician in 2019. Before this, the previous dual winner was Lucarno in 2007. Having averaged a double winner every five years approximately before Lucarno’s win, the 12-year wait for Logician to be the next to complete the feat means that his victories were rather overdue.
Dual Great Voltigeur and St Leger Winners: 1950 – 2019
|2019||Logician||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2007||Lucarno||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2004||Rule of Law||Saeed bin Suroor||Frankie Dettori / Kerrin McEvoy|
|2001||Milan||Aidan O’Brien||Michael Kinane|
|1993||Bob’s Return||Mark Tompkins||Philip Robinson|
|1987||Reference Point||Sir Henry Cecil||Steve Cauthen|
|1974||Bustino||Dick Hern||Joe Mercer|
|1971||Athens Wood||Harry Thomson Jones||Lester Piggott|
|1964||Indiana||Jack Watts||Jimmy Lindley|
|1963||Ragusa||Paddy Prendergast||Garnet Bougoure|
|1962||Hethersett||Dick Hern||Frankie Durr / Harry Carr|
|1960||St Paddy||Noel Murless||Lester Piggott|
|1958||Alcide||Cecil Boyd-Rochfort||Harry Carr|
|1953||Premonition||Cecil Boyd-Rochfort||Harry Carr / Eph Smith|
It’s hard to say anyone even come especially close between Lucarno and Logician either. Several Great Voltigeur champions have swerved the test at Doncaster while others have struggled to fully cope with the fiercer competition as the chart below shows:
We stated above that 14 horses have pulled off the Great Voltigeur/St Leger double but had the stewards been feeling a bit kinder in 1969, the figure would be 15. Intermezzo, ridden by Australian jockey Ron Hutchison, found himself boxed in during the final Great Voltigeur renewal of the late 1960s but forced open a gap for himself on the way to victory. It turned out to be a little too forceful in the end with the stewards demoting the future St Leger winner to fourth spot.
DISTANCE SUCCESS NOT REQUIRED
For a test of virtually one and a half miles in length, it’s always good to know if a horse can last the trip. Since 2010, 30% of all competitors in this race had secured a previous 12 furlong victory but many of them have fallen short in this contest with only Old Persian and Logician winning previously at 1m4f before victory here in that time period.
In fact, Old Persian became the first horse sporting a (D) next to his name on the racecard to win this race since Youmzain in 2006. As a result, former distance experience seems to count for very little here so don’t put much faith in 12 furlong winners to thrive at York.
THE INSIDE CURSE
Typically this race features fields ranging from six to 10 horses so purely going by averages you’d expect there to be a winner from the first stall every eight years or so. Such an assumption would lead you far from reality though as in actual fact, runners starting in the inside gate have fared very poorly indeed. The last horse to successfully overcome what appears to be the rotten draw was Pentire, all the way back in 1995. Although it’s hard to think there’s much draw bias in a race of this length, a 20+ year winless streak for horses starting by the rail is hard to ignore and has to be worth considering when placing your bets.
The chart below shows the draw of Great Voltigeur winners between 1996 and 2019. Please note that the 2008 race was run at Goodwood so has been discounted from these figures.