Friday 18 February 2022

Geoffrey Freer Stakes

Inaugurated, as the Oxfordshire Stakes, in 1949 by Geoffrey Freer, who was Clerk of the Course at Newbury Racecourse at the time, the Geoffrey Freer Stakes was renamed in honour of Freer following his death, in 1969. Run over an advertised distance of 1 mile 5½ furlongs and open to horses aged three years and upwards, the Geoffrey Freer Stakes is staged annually in August.

Nowadays, the Geoffrey Freer Stakes is a Group 3 contest, having been downgraded from Group 2 status in 2006. However, it has typically proved a strong race for the grade, with several recent winners – Mount Athos (2012), Royal Empire (2013) and Seismos (2014) – going on to contest the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, Australia, albeit without distinction, later the same season.

Just one horse, Mubtaker, trained by Marcus Tregoning, has won the Geoffrey Free Stakes three times; he recorded his unprecedented hat-trick in 2002, 2003 and 2004 to become the most successful horse in the history of the race. Other notable winners include Ardross, trained by Henry Cecil, who recorded back-to-back victories under Lester Piggott in 1981 and 1982, Drum Taps, trained by Lord Huntingdon, in 1991 and Silver Patriarch, trained by John Dunlop, in 1999. Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery and Frankie Dettori are jointly the leading jockeys in the history of the Geoffrey Freer Stakes with four wins apiece. Sir Noel Murless remains the leading trainer, with five wins between 1949 and 1973.

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