The Brocklesby Stakes


If you enjoy two-year-old horse racing then you must have heard of the Brocklesby Stakes. Predominantly it has been the first juvenile race of the Flat season. I say predominantly because there have been a few years where one or two races took place on the all-weather, which I found irritating because it undermined the whole tradition of the Brocklesby. It has been and should be the starting point of two-year-old horse racing season. To me, that is important and something to be protected.

Too many traditions have been eroded by someone with a ‘good’ idea.

I remember the Cherry Hinton. A race established in 1947. A Group 3 race upgraded to Group 2 status in 1996. And then in 2013 renamed to the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (in honour of Catherine Dutchess of Cambridge). I can’t tell you how irritated that name change made me feel. I know I’m not alone with that thought. I wonder who had the ‘bright idea’ for change?

Anyway, enough of me being, still, annoyed how the Brocklesby could have been usurped.

I don’t think that will be happening again!

Good news, the Brocklesby Stakes 2024 will be taking place on the 23rd March at 13.50.

A sprint (5f) at Doncaster Racecourse on the same card as The Lincoln Handicap.

The first race on the card.

The Brocklesby Stakes has been won by many exceptional horses. In fact, in recent years (2022), we saw the Richard-Hannon trained Persian Force cruise to an ‘impressive’ four-and-three-quarter length victory. He went on to win the July Stakes (Group 2), runner-up in the Prix Morny (Group 1), placed in the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1). His season and racing career finishing when fourth place in the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Total prize winnings £289,012. This son of Mehmas, racing in the familiar silks of Amo Racing Ltd, raced just 8 times. He now stands as a stallion (8,000 Euros) at Tally Ho Stud, Ireland.

Over the years a number of classy two-year-old colts and fillies have won this race.

Some of my favourites include Jack Berry’s Mind Games (1994), Hearts Of Fire (2009) trained by Pat Eddery, who took the Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro (Italy). Every inch a mudlark, he was a great talent and probably one of the best horses trained by the former high-profile jockey. Other legends include the outstanding Provideo (1984), trained by Bill O’Gorman. He set a British record winning 16 of his 24 races as a two-year-old. To think his journey started by winning the Brocklesby. Bill Turner, who for so many years won this great race, has struggled to capture those glory days. The likes of The Lord, Spoof Master & Mick’s Yer Man are all reminders of why the Brocklesby is so special for trainers big and small. Other horses I remember with joy are the ill-fated Santry (2017). We can only imagine what he could have achieved. The Last Lion (2016) trained by Mark Johnston who went on to win the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1).

I wonder which Brocklesby winners are your favourites?

I love the Brocklesby Stakes. It’s a starting point. The beginning of a journey. A story that will be carved in stone. The winner will follow in the hoof prints of famous thoroughbred racehorses. Perhaps, even, pattern-class winners.

For many, this race will come and go without reflection. Horse racing is, for me, more than the next race. Horse breeder, Nellie Cox, said: ‘There’s a story behind every horse’ and that is worth considering. For me, it helps add to the understanding of something special. Each and every life is important and we are lesser people if ignoring this fact.

This year we have even more reason to look forward to the Brocklesby Stakes. The British Stallions Stud (EBF) is increasing the total prize money to £40,000 which means the winner should receive a prize of £20,000+. This will help bolster the standard of the Brocklesby Stakes as it’s sure to be in the minds of trainers looking to start their season with a bang.

The Brocklesby Stakes is a Class 2 race. It has seen good and bad years with differing levels of talent.

Back in 1996 Indian Spark won the Brocklesby Stakes by four lengths for horse trainer Bill Turner. Little did they realise it would be the first of 143 race career.