Sandown Summer Celebration Betting Tips

August maybe coming to an end by the time Sandown's Summer Celebration rolls around but there's still plenty of life left in the flat racing season.

The meeting takes place over two days, Friday and Saturday, at the start of the final weekend in August, often the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. The main focus on the track comes on the second day in the form of two Group 3 contests, the Atalanta Stakes and the Solario Stakes.

Please Note:Tips for the 2020 Sandown Summer Celebration will be available below in the week before the fixture.


About the Sandown Summer Celebration

In the world of horse racing, summer is unquestionably the time for flat racing to come to the fore. The harder ground is ideal for faster, younger horses, which is why so many flat racing venues are resplendent at that time of year. Nowhere is that more true than at Sandown Park Racecourse, with the Surrey venue benefiting from its proximity to London in terms of welcoming large crowds of people keen to escape the rat race in favour of a more pleasant and relaxed environment.

That’s what the Summer Celebration offers them, combining top-class racing with a party atmosphere as the summer season at the course is brought to a close in style. The racecourse as a whole is open to be explored on the Friday, whilst the Saturday is a day of cocktails and fun, with a carnival atmosphere kicking in when the racing comes to an end. It comes a month and a half or so after the Summer Festival, which is usually held at Sandown at the start of July and bookmarks summer nicely for the Esher-based racecourse.

Summer Celebration Race List

Some racecourse like to make the most of their meetings, with Royal Ascot being an example of one that lasts all week and sees tens of thousands of people rock up to soak it all in. Sandown Park, meanwhile, prefers to host a number of short meetings rather than a few long ones, and so the Summer Celebration is based over two days at the end of August.

As is common for flat race meetings, each day features seven races apiece. The Celebration normally takes place on the last weekend in August, but this can sometimes lead to one or even both of the days shifting to the start of September, depending on how things fall.

The Friday is a day to be enjoyed, with enough decent races to keep you satisfied but fully in the knowledge that the biggest races come on the Saturday. That doesn’t mean that you should pay it any mind, however, with enough interest to keep you firmly glued to the racetrack to see how things pan out.

Whilst the Saturday of the Summer Celebration has traditionally been something of a family day, with plenty of goings on aimed at younger racegoers, it has become far more of an all-rounded in recent times. As soon as the final race has run its course the party starts, with entertainment and music usually found in the grandstands.

That’s for the end of the day, however, with the day itself still very much about the horse racing. There are two big races that take place during the day, but more about them later.

Here’s a list of each day’s races as they were in 2019:

RacePrize MoneyAges
Day One - Friday
Nursery Handicap £8,200 2 Years Old
Betway Handicap £9,200 3 Years Old +
British EBF Maiden Stakes £7,400 2 Years Old
Betway Handicap £15,000 3 Years Old
Betway Casino Handicap £12,200 3 Years Old
Betway Fillies' Handicap £9,200 3 Year Old + Fillies
Day Two - Saturday
Betway Handicap £20,000 3 Years Old +
Betway Handicap £45,000 3 Years Old +
Atalanta Stakes £70,000 3 Years Old +
Solario Stakes £50,000 5 Years Old +
Nursery Handicap £11,200 2 Years Old
Betway Live Casino Handicap £11,200 3 Years Old +
Betway Casino Handicap £11,200 3 Years Old +

The Feature Races in Detail

There are two main races run over the course of the Summer Celebration, which are the Atalanta Stakes and the Solario Stakes, both of which are Group 3 Class 1 offerings. Here’s a look at the pair of them in turn.

Atalanta Stakes

This Group 3 race is for fillies and mares that are aged 3 and over. It is run right-handed over 1 mile and was classed as a Listed race until it got its promotion to Group 3 in 2012. There’s a fair bit of weight information at play for this race, with the following being the relevant bits:

  • 3-year-olds: 8 stone 10 pounds
  • 4-year-olds and over: 9 stone 1 pound
  • Group 1 winners receive a 7 pound penalty
  • Group 2 winners receive a 5 pound penalty
  • Group 3 winners receive a 3 pound penalty

The other key piece of information is that horses that have won either a Group 1 or Group 2 race since the previous September are ineligible to take part in the race.

The Atalanta Stakes was originally part of the Variety Club Day at Sandown Racecourse, which was a fundraising event for the Variety Club in England. The leading jockey in the event remains Pat Eddery, who won it four times, whilst Sir Michael Stoute has won it six times as a trainer.

Solario Stakes

Named after one of the most successful racehorses of the 1920s that went on to be a leading sire, the race was first run in 1947. It was a Listed race when the current format for race gradings was introduced in 1971 and then promoted to Grade 3 in 1986. As with the Atalanta Stakes, it was one of the feature races of Variety Club Day earlier in the year but was moved to August in 2012.

Run right-handed over seven furlongs, it’s exclusively for two-year-olds with a weight of nine stone and one pound. Fillies are given a three pound allowance and Group 1 and Group 2 race winners are given a five pound penalty, whilst Group 3 winners get a three pound penalty. The race’s most successful jockey is Lester Piggott who won it six times during his career, which is the same number of races that Henry Cecil managed as a trainer.