Tuesday 22 January 2013

Norfolk Stakes Stars

Royal Ascot: The Norfolk Stakes Group 2. This 2yo contest open to colts & fillies over 5f is a featured on the third day of this supreme meeting of quality racing.

Established in 1843, it was originally called the New Stakes with Rattan winning the inaugural event. 

The race was renamed in 1973 in honour of the 16th Duke of Norfolk & promoted from Group 3 status in 2006. 

Lester Piggott is the leading jockey for this race (Abermade 1961 - Niche 1992) with 9 victories. Surprisingly, no trainer has achieved more than four winners to date.

A number of outstanding juveniles have won this race including Niche, trained by Richard Hannon. She went on to win the classic trial Nell Gwyn before finishing  second in the 1,000 Guineas. Sadly this wonderful filly was tragically killed in a freak road accident after unseating her rider on the gallops. Hannon said: ''She was one of the best I ever trained. I still can't believe it happened.''

In 2001, Johannesburg trained by Aidan O'Brien and owned by Michael Tabor & Sue Magnier won the Norfolk Stakes before notable successes. This exceptional horse remained unbeaten in seven starts at two including the Phoenix Stakes, Prix Morny, Middle Park Stakes & Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Group 1. He was named Cartier Award for Two-Year-Old European Champion Colt & United States Champion Two-Year-Old Champion Colt 2001.

More recently, Reckless Abandon won the Norfolk Stakes Group 2 for Clive Cox in 2012. He is unbeaten in five races at two including the Prix Morny, Prix Robert Papin & Middle Park Stakes. He is a leading tip for the 2013 classics.