The Gordon Stakes, sponsored by Betfair since 2008, is a Group 3 Flat horse race for three-year-olds over a mile and a half at Goodwood, nowadays run on the opening day of the Glorious Goodwood five-day summer festival. It has a strong tradition as a trial for the St Leger at Doncaster and recent winners have a good record in the final Classic of the Flat racing season.
Gordon Stakes History
The Gordon Stakes takes its name from Gordon Castle, the Scottish retreat of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. It was first run in 1902, when it was open to three-year-olds and upwards, but since 1903 it has been restricted to three-year-olds. It was run over a mile in the early years but since 1911 the distance has been a mile and a half.
The first of many winners to go on to succeed in the St Leger was Prince Palatine (1911). In more modern times he has been followed by Athens Wood (1971), Commanche Run (1984), Minster Son (1988), Nedawi (1998), Millenary (2000), Sixties Icon (2006) and Conduit (2008).
Few, if any, have a more distinguished subsequent record than Conduit (2008), who went on to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2009) and the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita (2008 and 2009). Phoenix Reach (2003) was only third in the St Leger but went on to international Group 1 success in Canada, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Goodwood Racecourse - Home of the Gordon Stakes
The Third Duke of Richmond initially brought horse racing to Goodwood in 1802 and the following Dukes of Richmond then continued this tradition on the Goodwood estate which lies high on the Sussex Downs. Goodwood is famous as one of the most scenic racecourses in the world and the yearly 5 day meeting in late July/early August, known as Glorious Goodwood Festival, is one of the major summer festivals of UK horse racing. The biggest races at the meeting are the Sussex Stakes, Nassau Stakes, the Goodwood Cup and the Stewards’ Cup.
Up until 1965 the Glorious Goodwood was the only meeting held at the course, but today there are 23 racing days annually at the racecourse, which exclusively stages Flat racing.
Gordon Stakes Betting
The norm is usually for Group 3 horse races to feature significantly less as major betting events as these lower group races are more often than not only bet on by seasoned punters. Add onto this the fact that betting on the Gordon Stakes is challenging in itself as the runners usually have little as far as a track record is concerned.
None-the-less the Gordon Stakes does surprisingly well as a betting event, most likely due to the fact that it is run during the Glorious Goodwood and more-so on the opening day of the Festival. Additionally Betfair sponsoring the race has meant significant movement in online horse racing betting as well as betting at the track with a wide variety of UK bookmakers.
Gordon Stakes Facts
- Small fields are commonplace. There were only two runners in 1919 and 1920, and only three as recently as 1991. The biggest field was 12 in 1996.
- Shock winners are rare, but Grey Thunder (1974) and Electric (1982) both started at 25-1.
- The shortest priced winner was Gay Time (1952) at 2-15. More recently Conduit (2008) started at 1-2.
Other Great Horse Racing Guides :
Cheltenham Festival - the definitive guide to the massive National Hunt festival.
Grand National - all about the UK's most popular horse racing event.