The first Saturday in October at Newmarket brings the last race in the British Champions Series before Ascot’s British Champion Day at the end of the month, and comes in the form of the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.
First run in 1966, the race is named after the great racehorse Sun Chariot who won the Fillies’ Triple Crown of the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger Stakes in 1942 when all the Classics took place at Newmarket due to World War 2.
The mare Sahpresa won an historic hattrick of wins in the Sun Chariot Stakes between 2009 and 2011 for French trainer Rodolphe ‘Rod’ Collet. Sahpresa, along with Luca Cumani’s two-time winner Free Guest, are the only horses to win this more than once.
Next Race: Saturday, 3rd October 2020
The next race is scheduled to run on 3rd October 2020. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 5th October 2019
- Winner: Billesdon Brook
- SP: 16/1
- Trainer: Richard Hannon
- Jockey: Sean Levey
One mile is the trip for this Group 1 contest set to be run on soft ground and offering £250,000 in total prize money.
|Going||Distance||Class||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||1m||Group 1||£250,000||9||1/5 1-3|
Sun Chariot Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2019. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
No shortage of high-class racing action on offer this weekend, with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe of course taking centre stage over in France. We do have a Group 1 contest a little closer to home though, and it comes at Newmarket in the form of this fillies and mares contest.
Saturday’s British racing highlight once again features a competitive renewal with five horses trading at single digit prices. There are several making a strong case but given the softening conditions at Newmarket, Billesdon Brook looks capable of producing a real shock.
This race was opened up to older fillies and mares in 1974. They initially struggled to compete with their younger rivals but there’s been a shift in more recent years. Over the last decade, three year olds have only won on four occasions compared to eight in the previous decade.
We’ve also seen a recent shift favouring the favourite or second favourite in this Group 1 contest. From our last nine champions, only Siyouma in 2012 failed to occupy one of the top two spots in the betting.
A particularly wet past couple of weeks is likely to result in soft going at Newmarket this Saturday. For many of the leading contenders in this race, running on such ground is quite an unfamiliar experience. Laurens and Veracious for instance have just one previous effort apiece on soft going, both failing to place. This isn’t to say they can’t produce the goods in the mud this time but there is definitely an increased possibility of an upset in this renewal.
LAURENS AIMS FOR TITLE DEFENCE
It is rare to see a horse win this race on more than one occasion. Sahpresa pulled off an unprecedented hat-trick in 2011 but she’s the only multiple winner we have had since 1985. History is against Laurens (7/2) winning back-to-back titles, as is her slight inconsistency. Karl Burke’s filly may be the joint favourite here but she’s already lost out three times this season when the market, or joint market leader. Often not quite able to live up to expectations, this could be another of those times as she flopped quite badly on her only previous effort on soft going.
VERACIOUS BACK AFTER BREAK
Having enjoyed nearly three months off since her Falmouth Stakes win in July, Veracious (7/2) is set for an eagerly awaited return. Cheveley Park Stud managing director Chris Richardson said he is happy with how the filly has been lately so hopes are high for the former Group 1 winner. The introduction of a tongue-tie has certainly helped the Frankel filly this season, equipped with it she came fourth in a competitive Duke of Cambridge Stakes ran on soft going. She did look a little tired towards the end of that test though and has typically appeared slightly fatigued in races with a greater emphasis on stamina.
LOOK TOWARDS BROOK
There are plenty of highly-regarded horses in the mix for this race but it would be a mistake to ignore Billesdon Brook who finds herself near the foot of the betting. Richard Hannon’s filly has failed to really push on following her impressive 1,000 Guineas win last year but there have been some positive signs of late. On her most recent outing, the four year old claimed her first Group level win since her Classic triumph, this coming after two strong Listed efforts. Hitting form at just the right time, there is no reason why she can’t raise a few eyebrows here, especially as a former soft ground winner.
Final Verdict: Billesdon Brook Each Way
She came fifth of nine in this race last year but soft conditions could see the ground-versatile Billesdon Brook fare far better this time around. Her two victories this season both came over seven furlongs but a return to one mile should offer few issues on a course where she famously won the 1,000 Guineas last summer.
Sun Chariot Stakes Winners
|2019||Billesdon Brook||16/1||Richard Hannon||Sean Levey|
|2018||Laurens||11/4||Karl Burke||Daniel Tudhope|
|2017||Roly Poly||4/1||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Alice Springs||13/8||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2015||Esoterique||11/8||André Fabre||Pierre-Charles Boudot|
|2014||Integral||7/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Sky Lantern||7/4||Richard Hannon Snr||Richard Hughes|
|2012||Siyouma||12/1||Francois Doumen||Gerald Mosse|
|2011||Sahpresa||13/8||Rod Collet||Christophe Lemaire|
|2010||Sahpresa||9/2||Rod Collet||Christophe Soumillon|
About the Sun Chariot Stakes: Fillies Shine in October
Newmarket racecourse scores top marks for consistency when it comes to the provision of high-quality flat racing action over the course of the season, with the track staging at least one Group class contest every month between April and November.
October is something of a bumper month in this regard, with a clutch of Group 1 events being staged at the Suffolk venue – including this one-mile affair for the fillies. First run back in 1966, the race was initially restricted to three year olds, and held over the longer trip of 1m2f. The opening up of the race to the older fillies came relatively early in 1974, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the distance was cut to one mile. Just four years after that, the contest gained Group 1 status for the first time in 2004.
The Sun Chariot of the race’s title refers to one of the greatest fillies ever to have graced the Rowley Mile. A winner of eight of her nine career starts, the King George VI-owned Sun Chariot bagged top spot in the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger in 1942, becoming just the seventh filly to land the Triple Crown. Due to the war, all three of those Classics were staged at Newmarket in 1942, so it is only fitting that it is here at the headquarters of the flat racing game that she has a race named in her honour.
Classic Generation Dominate
In common with other events of its type, the three year olds receive a three pound weight allowance from their older rivals in this race, and a look at the history of previous winners would suggest that that seemingly small allowance has proven to be a significant advantage.
Since the race was first opened to the older fillies in 1974, the three year olds have come home in front over three quarters of the time. Even accounting for the fact that they tend to be the most strongly represented age group in the race, that is still a pretty formidable record.
Luca Leads The Way
The now retired Luca Cumani was a trainer who tasted his fair share of success with his fillies during his career overall, but nowhere more so than in this contest. Cumani’s total of six wins is good enough for the all-time lead as of 2019, but with big guns Sir Michael Stoute and Aiden O’Brien featuring prominently amongst the chasing pack, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him joined at the head of affairs in the not too distant future.
Special Praise For Sahpresa
The name of French trainer Rod Collet features in our top trainers table thanks to the exploits of just the one horse. The remarkable Sahpresa ran in 12 Group 1 contests over the course of her career – being beaten on nine occasions and winning three times. She certainly seemed to like it here at Newmarket though, with all three of those top-level triumphs coming in this very race. Successful here in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as of 2019 she remains both the only three-time winner, and the only six year old to ever come home in front.