UK Flat Racing: Group 1 Trends Which Could Help Narrow Down the Field

UK Flat Racing: Group 1 Trends Which Could Help Narrow Down the Field

The UK racing calendar is awash with top quality events and the Group 1 contests come thick and fast throughout the summer months. Although these prestigious affairs are hugely enjoyable spectacles in their own right, the sizeable fields and closely matched form can make it an exceptionally tricky time for punters. With many hours spent leafing through the form book, identifying a good value Group 1 winner can be a time-consuming and laborious process, so we’ve picked out some of the key trends. These should hopefully go some way to helping narrow down the field and identifying potential superstars.

Eclipse Stakes

With £750,000 of prize money available, the Eclipse Stakes always attracts a star-studded line-up to Sandown. Held over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 209 yards, this contest is open to three-year olds and up and there have been some notable trends over the last decade.

Royal Ascot form tends to hold up well in this race with six of the last ten winners having also been triumphant in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes earlier in the campaign. 2016 Eclipse winner Hawkbill had also been successful at the Berkshire track prior to arriving in Surrey having taken the Hampton Court Stakes just 16 days earlier.

Previous experience at the track is largely irrelevant with four of the last five winners having never previously raced in Esher, although distance is far more important. Enable’s stylish 2019 victory ripped up the formbook with John Gosden’s runner having been defeated in his only previous start over this trip.

Four of the last six winners had never previously been successful in a Group 1 event, whereas six of the last seven had finished in the top three when last turned out.

Nassau Stakes

The end of July is typically a superb time of year for racing connoisseurs with an abundance of Group 1 races taking place within the space of a few days. Paddy Power’s today’s horse racing results page collates all of these key contests throughout this hectic period with the five-day Glorious Goodwood festival taking centre stage.

One of the highlights of this late-summer extravaganza is the Nassau Stakes which is traditionally held on the third day and is competed over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 197 yards. Once again, previous Goodwood form is largely academic with Midday’s 2011 victory being the last time that the winner had previously triumphed at the track. Runners will usually require ample time to recover ahead of this event, with none of the previous ten winners having competed within the last three weeks of going to post.

Although Royal Ascot is always a decent yardstick for this one, Curragh’s Pretty Polly Stakes is another race which has the habit of producing top quality milers. Midday, Minding and Legatissimo had all held their own in County Kildare prior to landing the spoils in West Sussex.

Nunthorpe Stakes

The picturesque York racecourse hosts a number of Group 1 events at the end of August with the Nunthorpe Stakes amongst the highlights. This five-furlong sprint has been in existence since 1922 and comes with a prize purse of £400,000.

Although 2018 winner Alpha Delphini recently bucked the trend, this race tends to be won by one of the top three in the betting. Six of the last eight winners have been drawn in stalls 1-8, whilst five of the last seven have previously enjoyed success on the Knavesmire.

The King George Stakes is usually a good source of winners with Borderlescott and Marsha having narrowly missed out at Goodwood, whereas 2019 winner Battaash had enjoyed success in West Sussex just three weeks earlier. In 2013, 40/1 shot Jwala landed the spoils in the Nunthorpe, having previously finished 17th in the aforementioned King George Stakes.

Although there will always be exceptions to the rule, these statistics will hopefully provide punters with a starting point when it comes to analysing these notoriously tricky renewals. Using these trends could make it easier to spot a potential value pick over the summer.

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