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BetUK Winter Derby History


23 February 2024

It’s a proud day for Southwell Racecourse as we stage the winter Flat season’s most prestigious race, the £100,000 BetUK Winter Derby, for the first time.

The Group 3 showpiece, which will be run over an extra furlong due to the configuration of the track, has been won by some classy horses since Philip Mitchell’s Running Stag took the inaugural race under top jockey Ray Cochrane.

Held at Lingfield Park since its inception in 1998, the Winter Derby was still a conditions race when the son of Cozzene beat Refuse To Lose en route to a successful career in The States where he won two Grade 2’s and took his career earnings past £1 million.

The following year the race was awarded Listed status when Peter Harris’s Supreme Sound obliged for Gary Bardwell, while Frankie Dettori, who has become the winning most jockey, took back-to-back renewals in 2003 and 2004 on David Loder’s Parasol and fellow Italian Luigi Camici’s Caluki.

It was another top jockey, Jamie Spencer, who became the first winner of the Winter Derby upon it being awarded Group 3 status in 2006. He scored on Sylvester Kirk’s Sri Diamond before the race began to attract even higher quality performers.

Tranquil Tiger made history in 2010 when he became the highest rated winner of the race at that stage off 112. The son of Selkirk justified favouritism under Tom Queally to give the late Sir Henry Cecil his only success in it.

In 2014, the Winter Derby became the jewel in the crown of the inaugural All-Weather Championships as Robin Hood’s Bay gave owner Alan Pickering, trainer Ed Vaughan and a young Luke Morris the glory.

Godolphin claimed their only victory in the race in 2015 when Adam Kirby scored on Tryster for Charlie Appleby before following up a year later on Marco Botti’s popular Middle-Distance star Grendisar.

John Gosden is the most successful trainer in its history. He’s won the race four times in the last five years with Wissahickon, Dubai Warrior, Forest Of Dean and, of course, Lord North. Two of those successes were executed by Dettori but it was stable stalwart Robert Havlin who secured Lord North’s success 12 months ago off a record-high mark of 118.

The Winter Derby will be complemented by the Listed Hever Sprint Stakes, which also switches from Lingfield where it was first run in 2003. The five-furlong dash has strong links with Southwell’s resident trainer Scott Dixon, whose father Paul’s No Time won it 20 years ago for that man Dettori. In 2022, Scott trained One Night Stand to victory in the hands of Hollie Doyle, who also won the race in 2019 on Gorgeous Noora for Archie Watson.


19th February 2024

By Simon Mapletoft

Southwell Racecourse

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