Horse Racing

Spotlight on the Great St. Wilfrid Handicap

Steve Mullington
Preview ahead of Saturday's big race at Ripon

The Great St. Wilfrid Handicap is a flat race handicap run over a distance of six furlongs at Ripon racecourse.

The race derives its name from the patron saint of Ripon, St. Wilfrid. In fact the winning owner receives a trophy which depicts St. Wilfrid on horseback.

Ripon has hosted some of the most exciting, prestigious and enjoyable racing in the country for more than 300 years and this is the most notable race on their calendar.


Plenty Of Prize Money On Offer

It is also the most valuable raceday of the season at Yorkshire’s ‘Garden Racecourse’ with total prize money of £150,000 up for grabs. The meeting also includes the fifth running of The Silver Trophy, a £20,000, ‘consolation’ race for the horses entered but unable to get into the feature race.

James Hutchinson, Managing Director and Clerk of the Course is looking forward to Saturday.

"It's one of our highlights of the season and something we build up to over a period with huge excitement," he revealed.

"For the past six years the race has been won by Yorkshire trainers and the field is set to be full of talented Yorkshire sprinters once again."


Last year’s contest was won by Nameitwhatyoulike who is entered again and set to challenge for back to back wins.

Trainer Bryan Smart said: “He is in good order and working well at home, he loves the track at Ripon so we are hopeful he will run a good race”.

Here are some key trends and statistics from the last fifteen runnings of the race.

  • Only five favourites have won since 1990 which is an ominous trend for Growl to overcome.
  • 12/15 winners did not win last time out. The only runner this applies to this year is Flying Pursuit.
  • 13/15 were previous winners at six furlongs.
  • 10/15 won at a double-figured S.P
  • 10/15 carried 8st 12lb or more to victory. Ten runners qualify under this criteria.
  • 9/15 had raced five times or more that season. Shanghai Glory, Mattmu, Nameitwhatyoulike, Right Touch, George Dryden and Hoofalong do not have those five runs.
  • No winner has come from stall one in the last eleven years. That’s bad news for Kachy supporters.
  • All winning horses since 1986 have been priced at 20/1 or below.
  • 7/11 winners have come from stalls 8 to 13 inclusive. Backers of Eastern Impact, Mattmu, Naadirr, Nameitwhatyoulike, Robero and Flying Pursuit will be happy with their draw positions.


Some of the contenders:

Bryan Smart is hopeful Nameitwhatyoulike can be in the mix again.

The eight-year-old is now 1lb lower in the handicap than when successful last season having struggled to find his form in 2017 Three of his four runs have been in pattern races however so this race should be somewhat easier on paper.

Tony Coyle is fairly sweet on his runner Snap Shots who is quite a big price in the betting.

Coyle said of his five-year-old last month: "I think Snap Shots is still improving. He's a big frame of a horse. There was a question mark if he'd go on soft ground, but he just got beat at Haydock on soft," said Coyle.

"He was unlucky at the Curragh. It was one of those things.

"Hopefully he can bang in a big one by the end of the year. He's a good horse.

"Snap Shots will go for the Great St Wilfrid or the silver consolation if he doesn’t get in. He loves Ripon."

Snap Shots won a six furlong handicap sprint at Ripon last August so the signs are positive.


Out Do Can Repeat 2014 Triumph

Out Do won this year’s Wokingham Handicap at the Royal Ascot meeting and was the winner of this race in back in 2014. On his last run he was just 3¾ lengths behind the classy Take Cover in City Walls Stakes at York.

David O’Meara’s record in this race is excellent, sending out the winner in 2011 and 2012 as well as 2014.

Yorkshire trainer Ruth Carr is very much in form at the moment and her seven-year-old Pipers Note has been a model of consistency in his recent runs.

He has finished in the first four places in his last five outings including a decent run at Ascot just last Saturday. He will certainly have plenty of local support in this renewal.

Growl’s fourth place in the Stewards’ Cup has had form readers putting him in as the favourite for the race. He does however have to shoulder top weight of 9st 10lbs with jockey Andrew McNamara taking off a 3lb claim.

Mattmu is a four time Stakes winner in his career and this is a significant drop in class for him. Tim Easterby’s five-year-old usually performs his best with a little bit of juice in the ground so it would be well worth checking out the ground conditions at Ripon on Saturday morning.

Here at 888sport we have installed Richard Fahey's Growl as our market leader at 9/2 with Stewards' Cup fifth Shanghai Glory next best at 8/1, and then it's 10/1 bar those three.

888sport predicts:

Pipers Note & Mattmu (e/w singles)


*All odds correct at the time of writing - latest betting markets available here*