The undoubted highlight on the closing Saturday at Royal Ascot is one of the very best sprint races of the year as the 6f speedballs line-up for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Part of the British Champions Series, this is one of the most prestigious races of its type in the world and is regularly targeted by the crème de la crème of the British and Irish sprinters as well as those from further afield.
The race was established in 1868, when it was known as the All-Aged Stakes. This was renamed after Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
Diamond Jubilee Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Hello Youmzain||4/1||Kevin Ryan||Kevin Stott|
|2019||Blue Point||6/4||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle|
|2018||Merchant Navy||4/1||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2017||The Tin Man||9/2||James Fanshawe||Tom Queally|
|2016||Twilight Son||7/2||Henry Candy||Ryan Moore|
|2015||Undrafted||14/1||Wesley Ward||Frankie Dettori|
|2014||Slade Power||7/2||Edward Lynam||Wayne Lordan|
|2013||Lethal Force||11/1||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby|
|2012||Black Caviar||1/6||Peter Moody||Luke Nolen|
|2011||Society Rock||25/1||James Fanshawe||Pat Cosgrave|
|2010||Starspangledbanner||13/2||Aidan O'Brien||Johnny Murtagh|
|2009||Art Connoisseur||20/1||Michael Bell||Tom Queally|
|2008||Kingsgate Native||33/1||John Best||Seb Sanders|
|2007||Soldiers Tale||9/1||Jeremy Noseda||Johnny Murtagh|
|2006||Les Arcs||33/1||Tim Pitt||John Egan|
|2005||Cape of Good Hope||66/1||David Oughton||Michael Kinane|
|2004||Fayr Jag||12/1||Tim Easterby||Willie Supple|
|2003||Choisir||13/2||Paul Perry||Johnny Murtagh|
|2002||Malhub||16/1||John Gosden||Kevin Darley|
|2001||Harmonic Way||10/1||Roger Charlton||Steve Drowne|
About the Diamond Jubilee Stakes
What used to be the Cork and Orrery Stakes became the far grander sounding Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2002. You’ll get no points for correctly guessing what inspired the change in title with that of course being Queen Elizabeth II’s 50th year on the throne. Ten years later and the Queen celebrated yet another anniversary, her Diamond Jubilee, with the name of this race updated accordingly. With Her Maj seemingly going stronger than ever there could be a few more name changes to come!
The elite bunch of sprinters that contest this Group 1 race make it fitting for such a royal title and it is far more appropriate than its original name. Called the All-Aged Stakes when first contested back in 1868, it would now be a misleading title with this race restricted to four-year-old’s and above since 2015. The creation of the Commonwealth Cup sparked this change although three-year-olds from the southern hemisphere are still eligible to compete.
The six furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes is one of just three British races to feature as part of the now suspended Global Sprint Challenge. It was the middle of the three legs held in this country, coming after the King’s Stand Stakes run earlier at Royal Ascot but before Newmarket’s July Cup.
WATCH OUT FOR THE AUSSIES
With three-year-olds from the southern hemisphere still able to take part in this race, it’s something that should help maintain the steady Australian presence. Not only have horses from the other side of the planet been a somewhat regular feature in the Diamond Jubilee but they often make the most of their long journey. Several have gone on to win while others have secured a placed finish as you can see in the chart below.
BLACK CAVIAR DELIVERS, BUT ONLY JUST
For weeks prior to the 2012 renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Black Caviar found herself the focus of much media attention. The Australian-trained horse hadn’t lost any of her 22 starts Down Under, making quite the big name for herself in the process. Seeking to show off his horse to the world, trainer Peter Moody risked the long winning streak by giving his prized mare a test on foreign soil.
To ensure she arrived in London in good health, the then five-year-old wore a compression body suit during the journey following the recommendation of Olympic athlete Sally Pearson. There was no expense spared and the wondermare was fully expected to win with ease.
Due to her imposing record in Australia, the bookies took no chances on Black Caviar, pricing her as the 1/6 favourite to keep her unbeaten streak intact. Everything appeared to be going according to plan with 100 yards left to go as the mare enjoyed a full length’s advantage over the trailing pack. Jockey Luke Nolen inexplicably eased off though, allowing those behind to catch up. Sensing the immediate danger, he began to push again as Black Caviar held on to win by a head. The nail-biting race can be viewed here:
While Nolen received criticism for his showing, it was later revealed that Black Caviar tore two muscles during what was her sole appearance outside of Australia.
2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes Top 5
|2||Moonlight Cloud||4||118||+ a head||5/1|
|3||Restiadargent||3||110||+ a neck||40/1|
|4||Soul||4||111||+ ¾ length||33/1|
|5||Society Rock||5||117||+ ¾ length||8/1|
WINNING FORM NOT ESSENTIAL
You might think that you need be back in the winning habit in order to secure gold in a high class race such as this one. This has long not been the case however with horses more often than not lacking a seasonal win before their Diamond Jubilee involvement.
Each of the last 16 champions made at least one appearance previously in the season but a mere three did enough to claim a win. Far more important than form it seems is a history of being up to Group standard. Only one horse since 2007 has managed to win this race having previously failed to claim a Group 1-3 title.