The Day 3 highlight at the Ebor Meeting is a real treat for sprint fans, with the Nunthorpe Stakes regularly recognised as one of the top events of its type in world racing. That fantastic reputation naturally helps it attract a high quality field and there are many top sprinters involved this year.
The winner of this race will be handed an invitation to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint later in the year, a race worth $1m. It’s an invite which may well head the way of the three year old Ten Sovereigns, with the No Nay Never colt having bounced back to form in resounding style last time out.
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.
It’s not often two-year-olds get the chance to race against their elders but it is a possibility in this race, even if juveniles are rarely included. Fillies and mares have had more regular appearances in this sprint and those involved enjoy a 3lb allowance. All other weights are decided by age. Three-year-olds carry 9st 9lbs while older runners are saddled with an additional two pounds.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||5f||Group 1||£400,000||13 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Nunthorpe Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
We have a quality renewal in store this year, with top class sprinters from both sides of the Irish Sea. Four previous Group 1 winners go to post in all, including the mare to have been so narrowly denied in the race 12 months ago.
THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR BATTAASH?
There are few – if any – runners in training who can hit quite the speeds of Battaash when in full flow, with the Charles Hills runner breaking 50mph in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last time out. That raw speed will make him a threat whenever he lines up in a contest over the minimum trip, but he does seem to be a little track dependent.
A dual Group winner at Haydock and unbeaten at both Sandown and Goodwood, he is in contrast zero from three at Ascot and yet to win in two starts at this track – finishing fourth in this race in each of the past two seasons. On the plus side, he has looked as well as ever this season, with his only defeat coming when second to Blue Point in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. Will he be able to break that York hoodoo?
FILLIES TO THE FORE?
One of the strongest trends in evidence concerns the sex of the winner, with no fewer than six of the past eight editions having fallen to a filly or mare. With four of the current field of 13 being of the fairer sex, there looks to be at least a reasonable chance that that statistic will be improved further in 2019.
Of that quartet, rank outsider Intense Romance has work to do on the ratings, but does at least handle give underfoot. So Perfect similarly needs to improve, but still only three years of age is likely to do so. Fairyland’s third in the Group 1 July Cup last time out gives her decent each way claims, but the most likely winner amongst the fillies and mares looks to be the Michal Dods runner, Mabs Cross.
Proven in this class having claimed top spot in the Prix de l’Abbaye last season, she couldn’t have come much closer in this 12 months ago when only going down by a nose to Alpha Delphini.
The current favourite for the race is a runner from the Aidan O’Brien operation who belatedly showed his true colours last time out in the July Cup. Unbeaten as a juvenile, Ten Sovereigns was sent off the clear market leader for the 2000 Guineas on his first start at three, only to fail to see out that one mile trip.
Dropped to 6f in the Commonwealth Cup next time, he again failed to land a blow, but the market vibes were ominous ahead of that July Cup outing. Heavily backed having seemingly been burning up the gallops at home, he duly delivered in slamming a good field by 2¾l. He is down further in trip today but, if in the same sort of mood, he may well take some stopping.
Final Verdict: Ten Sovereigns To Win
This looks tricky, particularly given the history this race has of throwing up a shock result. Choosing amongst the outsiders isn’t easy though, with Fairyland and Soldier’s Call possibly looking best of those at double figure prices.
Overall we are inclined to believe that everything may now have clicked into place for Ten Sovereigns. Mightily impressive in the July Cup, he is fancied to get the better of Battaash and the rest.
Nunthorpe Stakes Winners
This isn’t a race which has been particularly kind to favourite-backers of late, with just the one outright market leader coming home in front in the past 10 years. With two 40/1 shots and one 100/1 outsider landing the prize in the past decade, this hasn’t been the easiest race to call.
Strong trends are hard to find but you should perhaps be aware that each of the last nine Nunthorpe champions were drawn in stall seven or higher.
|2018||Alpha Delfini||40/1||Bryan Smart||Graham Lee|
|2017||Marsha||8/1||Mark Prescott||Luke Morris|
|2016||Mecca’s Angel||9/2||Michael Dods||Paul Mulrennan|
|2015||Mecca’s Angel||15/2||Michael Dods||Paul Mulrennan|
|2014||Sole Power||11/4||Edward Lynam||Richard Hughes|
The Nunthorpe Stakes has come a long way from its humble origins as low grade selling race inaugurated in 1903. This is not seen as the true birth of the event though as it was only in 1922 when it first ran under its present format. Handed a sudden boost of prestige following the change, the Nunthorpe, which is named after the area in York in which the racecourse lies, has gone from strength to strength.
Today, races don’t come much bigger on the Knavesmire with this Group 1 sprint among the top five furlong events on the planet. Official recognition of its elevated status came in 2017 when the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities announced it as being the joint best sprint event alongside the July Cup. This award came just six years after the Nunthorpe joined an exclusive list of races that formed part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
What also helps make the Nunthorpe so special is that it provides two-year-old horses with a rare chance to take on their elders on a huge stage. Any horse aged two years and above is eligible to compete, meaning that it also stands as only Group 1 event in Britain where minimum aged geldings can take part.
WINNERS OF ALL AGES
When trying to pick the winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes, don’t think that there is any use whatsoever in looking at a horse’s age. Champions range from the young to the very old in what is a race with a quite uniquely diverse winners list. In earlier decades three and four year olds dominated the sprint but the picture has changed quite substantially in more recent renewals as you can see from the chart below.
What really catches the eye from the above chart is that we’ve had both a two year old and nine year old champion this century. Kingsgate Native stands as the youngest champion of the race and following his win in 2007, owner John Mayne said he was surprised “that very few two year olds have taken their chance in the Nunthorpe.” Despite his personal feelings, minimum aged horses have a remained a rarity in this race even in spite of their large weight advantage.
SOLE POWER TAKES OFF
Able to attract a top quality array of speedsters from across the globe, the Nunthorpe Stakes always has some strong names heading the betting each renewal. Those tipped to fare best often have the spotlight stolen from them though with only two favourites (including one joint favourite) triumphing during the 15 renewals up to 2018. In the same time frame we’ve seen more than a fair share of genuine shocks such as Jwala (40/1) in 2013 and Alpha Delphini five years later.
Providing by far the big upset of the lot though was Sole Power in the 2010 edition of the Nunthorpe. Offering absolutely no form coming into the big race and a low official rating of 104, the eventual superstar failed to get a mention during the pre-race chatter. Setting off at odds of 100/1, nothing at all was expected from the three year old but a strong surge during the final half furlong saw him stun the 6/4 favourite, Starspangledbanner.
Having proven his ability at the highest level for the first time, Sole Power went on to win another eight Group level contests during a very lucrative career.
SOLE POWER’S GROUP RACE VICTORIES
|2015||Flying Five Stakes||Curragh||Group 2||5f||€120k|
|2015||Al Quoz Sprint||Meydan||Group 1||5f||£385k|
|2014||Nunthorpe Stakes||York||Group 1||5f||£150k|
|2014||King’s Stand Stakes||Ascot||Group 1||5f||£213k|
|2014||Palace House Stakes||Newmarket||Group 3||5f||£37k|
|2013||King’s Stand Stakes||Ascot||Group 1||5f||£198k|
|2013||Palace House Stakes||Newmarket||Group 3||5f||£34k|
|2011||Temple Stakes||Haydock||Group 2||5f||£45k|
|2010||Nunthorpe Stakes||York||Group 1||5f||£136k|
MAKE IT A DOUBLE?
We’ve already mentioned how Sole Power made history in this race but the son of Kyllachy wasn’t quite done there. Three years after his initial triumph, the distinctive sprinter was back at York winning the Nunthorpe once again. He’s one of ten horses who has successfully won this race more than once, although never previously have the wins come so far apart. Other recent double champions include Mecca’s Angel (2015, 2016) and Borderlescott (2008, 2009).
Of the ten horses who have enjoyed repeat success, two of them have done so on three occasions. Tag End was the first (1928-30) with York specialist Sharpo becoming the next to pull off a hat-trick a little over fifty years later. Given the competition this race attracts, winning it once is hard enough so three times is a feat unlikely to ever be bettered. Sole Power’s record in the Nunthorpe really emphasises the point as the two-time champion also finished third, fourth, seventh and ninth during other efforts.
WINNERS OF MULTIPLE NUNTHORPE STAKES
|Tag End||C. Peck||1928||1929||1930|
|Mecca’s Angel||Michael Dods||2015||2016|
|Sole Power||Edward Lynam||2010||2014|
|Right Boy||Bill Dutton & Pat Rohan||1958||1959|
|Royal Serenade||Harry Wragg||1951||1952|
|Highborn II||Captain O.M.D Bell||1926||1927|