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A Guide to the Sandown Summer Festival

An Introduction to the Sandown Summer Festival

The Sandown Summer Festival is a two day horseracing event that is held in Sandown Park. The horseracing course is located in Esher in Surrey and it is a flat course that hosts a number of different events throughout the year, including races of different grades, handicaps, distances, as well as races with age and sex conditions.

The Sandown Summer Festival is held in early July, and lasts for two days. The event starts with the Gala Stakes Day, also known as Ladies' Day, and is full of exciting races. The second day features the main event which is the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, a Group 1 race that is one of the most important races of the year.

The festival has all of the key elements that racegoers would expect, with a number of restaurant packages and private hospitality options as well as several enclosures that all have their own dress codes and of course great outdoor seating where attendees can enjoy watching the races. There are three enclosures that can be pre-booked, including the Premier Enclosure, the 1875 Lounge and the Grandstand Enclosure.

The Premier Enclosure includes exclusive access to restaurants and bars, as well as full access to the Grandstand. Visitors booking this option will be seated level with the Winning Post, meaning they will be able to see exactly which horse wins the race.

The 1875 Lounge also has its own bars and dining facilities, and it is a more casual area where viewers can watch the races from an elevated position. Both the Premier Enclosure and the 1875 Lounge have dress codes though they are not strict. Guests are encouraged to dress smart casual, they are allowed to wear hats and decor, though these are not a must. Shorts, sports trainers, sportswear and flip flops are not allowed.

The Grandstand Enclosure has its own bars and restaurants, with access to the Parade Ring, where racegoers can view the contestants up close. The dress code is more relaxed here, with smart shorts, smart denim jeans and trainers accepted. The denim must not be ripped and football shirts and vests are not permitted. Fancy dress is welcome in the Grandstand only, though it should not be offensive.

Dress Code

While it may seem a bit unnecessary for some, there are some racegoers who take their dressing very seriously. At the Sandown Summer Festival, there is a special Style Awards for the guests who made the extra effort to wear something especially stylish. There are judges who look for individuals who have come in stylish, creative and original wear, with extra marks for attention to detail and following of modern trends. Fascinators and hats are a sure fire way to get noticed by the judges, and the winners of the Style Awards receive some generous prizes.

First place will be awarded a year's supply of shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt as well as a prize from Ana Bella Millinery. They will also receive a Velvetier Hot Chocolate system from Hotel Chocolat, a Jeroboam of Moet & Chandon, a Bouquet from Buds & Blooms and a £500 gift voucher to the Royal Couture Designer Claire Mischevani.

Second place receives a £250 voucher for Charles Tyrwhitt, a bottle of Moet & Chandon, a Hotel Chocolat Little Ray of Sunshine Hamper and a bouquet from Buds & Blooms.

Third place receives a £100 voucher for Charles Tyrwhitt, a bottle of Moet & Chandon, a Hotel Chocolate Summer Desserts Sleekster Box and a bouquet from Buds & Blooms.

These prizes are quite luxurious and are good fun for the visitors, who can try and come in their most spectacular outfits. The Style Awards results are announced at the end of the 2nd day.

History of the Coral-Eclipse Stakes

The Sandown racetrack was opened in 1875, and it was considered quite an exclusive race track because it was among the first courses to charge an entry fee. Racegoers had to pay at least half a crown to watch the races. The original Grand National Hunt Chase, which is now held in Cheltenham Festival, was originally held in Sandow.

The Eclipse Stakes is a Group 1 race, the highest grade in horse racing, and is open to horses aged 3 years and older. It is run over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlongs and 209 yards, or 2,002 metres. The race was first run in 1886, and it turned heads because it was Britain's richest ever race, with a prize fund of £10,000, a donation from Leopold de Rothschild.

The inaugural race was won by a horse called Bendigo, and with such a rich prize, the race attracted many spectators. The race was named Eclipse Stakes after Eclipse, who was an undefeated 18th century thoroughbred racehorse that won 18 races including 11 King's Plates. Foaled during the solar eclipse of 1 April 1764, Eclipse was a race horse before the introduction of British Classic Races, so most of the races he partook in included 4 mile heats, a brutally long length for horses to run.

The Eclipse Stakes has been won by some legendary race horses over the years including Mill Reeg, Dancing Brave, Saddler's Wells and in modern times Sea The Stars, Hawk King, the Australian Champ and many more.

The race changed its name in 1976 to the Coral-Eclipse, after receiving sponsorship from Coral.

Coral-Eclipse Stakes Records and Winners

Fastest Finish

The horse that ran the 1 mile 1 furlong and 209 yard race the quickest was Sea The Stars. Sea The Stars, ridden by Michael Kinane finished the race in 2:03.40 in 2009, setting the record for the fastest finish in the race. Just for comparison, the first ever race was won by Bendigo in 1886, with jockey Tom Cannon Sr., and they finished in 2:12.4 which is not so far behind.

Most Wins By A Horse

There are 5 horses that have won the Eclipse Stakes twice, these include Orme, Buchan, Polyphontes, Mtoto and Halling. Orme won in 1892 and 1893, Buchan won in 1919 and 1920, Polyphontes won in 1924 and 1925, Mtoto won in 1987 and 1988 and Halling won in 1995 and 1996.

Most Wins By A Jockey

Lester Piggott holds the record with 7 wins at the Coral-Eclipse Stakes. The English jockey won in 1951 with race horse Mystery IX, 1957 with Arctic Explorer, 1961 with St Paddy, 1966 with Pieces of Eight, 1969 with Wolver Hollow and finally in 1977 with Artaius.

Most Wins For A Trainer

There are three trainers who have won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes 6 times, including Alec Taylor Jr, Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O'Brien. Alec Taylor won it in 1909 with Bayardo, 1910 with Lemberg, 1919 and 1920 with Buchan, 1921 with Craig an Eran and in 1923 with Saltash.

Sir Michael Stoute won it in 1993 with Opera House, 1994 with Ezzoud, 1996 with Pilsudskim, 2001 with Medicean, 2007 with Notnowcato and in 2017 with Ulysses.

Aidan O'Brien won it in 2000 with Giant's Causeway, 2002 with Hawk King, 2005 with Oratorio, 2008 with Mount Nelson, 2011 with So You Think and 2021 with St Mark's Basilica.

Both Stoute and O'Brien are still actively training horses, meaning that either of them can break the record and become the leading trainer with the most wins in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes.

How To Bet On the Coral-Eclipse Stakes

The Sandown Summer Festival is packed with horse racing action and for many racegoers, placing wagers on horses can make the event even more exciting. Placing wagers on which horse will win the upcoming race is a great way to add some excitement to watching the races. Alternatively, bets can be placed on horses based on which gate they start from, or after some research into which jockey has the most experience on the race track, or for some fans simply because the horse has a memorable name.

The odds for bets on horse races are usually higher than in other sports because there are more contestants and more possible outcomes of each race. This means that there can be some very long odds, but this comes at the risk that the horse may have a smaller chance of winning. Punters who want to take even bigger risks can try to look for some alternative bets such as the exacta, trifecta and superfecta. These bets require predictions for which horses will finish in first and second place, first, second and third place and first, second, third and fourth place, all in the correct order. While it may seem a longshot, the odds that come with these bets are potentially massive.

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