The Duke of Cambridge Stakes is still thought of as one of the new additions to Royal Ascot, running for the very first time in 2004. Initially it ran as the Windsor Forest Stakes, but it was renamed the Duke of Cambridge Stakes to honour Prince William in 2013.
This Group 2 is one of a raft of top class opportunities for fillies and mares to race in from their four-year-old season onward.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 16th June 2020
- Winner: Nazeef
- SP: 10/3
- Trainer: John Gosden
- Jockey: Jim Crowley
One mile is the trip for this opening day Group 2 event at Royal Ascot, with the race offering £100,000 in guaranteed prize money in 2020. The ground at the track is currently described as good, but there are regular showers forecast in the lead up to the race so this might change.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||1m||Group 1||£100,000||11 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Duke of Cambridge Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
There’s no shortage of highlights at the Royal Ascot festival, and one of the standout contests for the fillies comes on the opening day. One of the newer races at the meeting, having only made its debut in 2004, the race is one of the season’s big targets for trainers of the most talented female milers.
Sir Michael Stoute flew out of the traps in this event, winning the first two editions, and it is he who leads the way in the trainers table with four wins in total. Stoute will be represented by the Shamardal filly, Jubiloso this time around.
This hasn’t been the easiest race to call at the Royal meeting, with three winners returning a double figure SP in the past decade – including 25/1 shot Amazing Maria in 2015. There have also been three winning favourites over this period, resulting in supporters of the marker leader breaking dead even.
|Nazeef||10/3||105||John Gosden||Jim Crowley|
|Jubiloso||7/2||110||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|Miss O Connor||5/1||108||William Haggas||James Doyle|
|Lavender's Blue||11/2||110||Amanda Perrett||Robert Havlin|
John Gosden has two previous wins in this event, having landed the prize in 2007 and 2012, and he is responsible for the current favourite for the race in the shape of the four year old Nazeef. Heading into this contest seeking a five timer she makes obvious appeal, going in the famous Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum colours, with Jim Crowley taking the ride.
A perfect two from two on the all-weather, including when mastering Billesdon Brook on her recent comeback at Kempton, she is also effective on turf, with her sole defeat coming when getting going all too late on debut. Our one slight concern, for a filly who really seems to skip along on a quick surface, would be the ground. The forecast rain may not ruin her chance entirely should it arrive, but it seems likely to suit others in the field more.
Going for fellow Newmarket handler Sir Michael Stoute is Jubiloso. This Khalid Abdullah-owned runner burst onto the scene when winning her first two starts at Chelmsford and Newbury, before then being stepped right up in class for the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at this meeting in 2019. She ran a cracker that day too – finding only French star Watch Me and Guineas heroine Hermosa too good on the day. Dropping down to a Group 3 at Goodwood on her next start, she found herself shuffled right back in the pack before flying home down the outside for third behind Billesdon Brook and Perfection.
If heading here on the back of that Goodwood effort we suspect she may have been the clear favourite for this. However, she did blot her copybook when being turned over at odds-on in a Group 3 event at Sandown on her final start of the season. Not only did she fail to win that day, she beat only one runner home in what was an abject performance. Clearly she is better than that and, hailing from a yard which does so well with four year olds, she can’t be dismissed, but does nevertheless have questions to answer for now.
Miss O Connor (5/1)
Next in the betting comes the only unbeaten filly in the race, Miss O Connor, from the William Haggas operation. Snapped up by her current owners following a debut success in a maiden race at Gowran Park in May 2019 for John James Feane, she hit the ground running following the switch to her new yard. Miles too good for the field in a novice event at Nottingham, she then took the step up to Listed level in her stride when winning next time out at Haydock. Having rounded off last season with a gritty success in a solid looking French Group 3, this slight step up in class would look to be the obvious starting point for the season.
The one slight question with the daughter of Roderic O’Connor again comes with the ground. It may only be a coincidence that she has raced solely on soft or worse going to date – and comments from the yard would suggest that easy going isn’t thought to be essential – but until she proves she can do it on a quicker surface we won’t know for sure. That said, she can’t be ruled out of this, especially if the word soft should enter the going description.
Lavender’s Blue (11/2)
Also prominent in the market is the Amanda Perrett-trained, Lavender’s Blue, and it’s not hard to see why, with the pick of this one’s efforts from last season bringing her firmly into the mix. A winner on debut at Newmarket, she then ran a nice race to fill second in an Oaks trial, before finishing stone last in the big race itself. It can’t be easy attempting to win a Classic whilst suffering from throat spasms though – as the filly was that day – and so it’s easy to draw a line through that effort.
Given a break to get over her Epsom experience, she then returned to the track at Sandown in the same race in which Jubiloso disappointed so badly. For every loser there is a winner, and Lavender’s Blue bounced back to form in resounding style. Travelling supremely well in behind the leaders, she then powered through the gap to score by a cosy one and a half lengths. Having backed that up with a fourth place finish in a Group 1, which wasn’t really run to suit, she makes obvious appeal taking this slight drop in class, and is the one for us.
Duke of Cambridge Stakes Winners
|2020||Nazeef||10/3||John Gosden||Jim Crowley|
|2019||Move Swiftly||9/1||William Haggas||Daniel Tudhope|
|2018||Aljazzi||9/2||Marco Botti||William Buick|
|2017||Qemah||5/2||Jean-Claude Rouget||Gregory Benoist|
|2016||Uhserette||9/4||Andre Fabre||Mickael Barzalona|
|2015||Amazing Maria||25/1||David O’Meara||James Doyle|
|2014||Integral||9/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Duntle||10/3||David Wachman||Wayne Lordan|
|2012||Joviality||11/1||John Gosden||William Buick|
|2011||Lolly For Dolly||11/1||Tommy Stack||Wayne Lordan|
About the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes was one of several races across Europe introduced in 2004 to encourage horses to carry on racing within the continent. The thinking behind it was that by providing races specifically for older horses, trainers and owners would be less likely to export horses or prematurely retire them to stud. While it’s hard to say how effective the scheme has been, this race has certainly been a real success.
Initially called the Windsor Forest Stakes, the one mile race adopted its new name in 2013 in order to honour Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. Fillies and mares are both eligible to compete providing they are aged four years or above. The race normally takes place on the second day of Royal Ascot (day one in 2020), where it is a big player on the supporting card to the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
ALJAZZI BREAKS FOUR-YEAR-OLD DOMINANCE
For nine renewals running between 2009 and 2017, a four-year-old horse claimed victory the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. The run was finally broken in 2018 as the five year old bay mare, Aljazzi outpaced the younger Tribute Act during the final stages. It is only the second time a five year old has clinched glory in this race though so younger runners should remain your preference in this race. Soviet Song stands as the sole six year old who has won this race although a year prior she was rated the best older filly in the world.
GROUP EXPERIENCE VITAL
One key trend that has emerged from this race is the importance of winning Group level experience. Peeress in 2005, Move Swiftly in 2019, and Nazeef in 2020, are the only winners who hadn’t previously won at such a high standard although Peeress and Nazeef had both won a Listed class race.
The 2005 renewal was the only one not to feature at Ascot so under normal circumstances, it still seems that a former Group victory is vital for most Duke of Cambridge hopefuls.
DUKE OF CAMBS WINNER’S PREVIOUS GROUP & LISTED VICTORIES
|Year||Horse||Group 1 Wins||Group 2 Wins||Group 3 Wins||Listed Wins|
|2011||Lolly For Dolly||✘||✘||✔ ✔ ✔||✘|
|2010||Strawberrydaiquiri||✘||✘||✔||✔ ✔ ✔|
|2008||Sabana Perdida||✘||✘||✔ ✔||✔|
|2006||Soviet Song||✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔||✔||✘||✔|
PUNISHMENT FOR SUCCESS
We’ve just mentioned how important a proven record at Group standard is but recent success at such a level can harm a horse’s chances in this race. Any filly or mare who wins a Group 1 contest after 31st August the previous year is slapped with a five pound penalty and for Group 2 winners, they receive a three pound disadvantage. Usually only a couple among the field carry a penalty and 2016 champion Usherette is the only recent name able to successfully overcome one.
WAIT FOR A DOUBLE WINNER GOES ON
Due to this race only being contest by older horses, many are retired or begin their decline not too long after winning this race. As a result, only on three occasions has the Duke of Cambridge welcomed back its reigning champion, seeking to defend their crown. Twice, they’ve come very close to pulling off back to back wins though. Usherette finished just a length behind Qemah in 2017 while Strawberrydaiquiri denied 2009 champion Spacious by a short head. Integral is the only defending champion unable to put up a fight as she tired badly inside the final furlong despite being the much fancied odds on favourite.
Defending Duke of Cambridge Champions: 2004 – 2020
|2017||Usherette (2016 winner)||Andre Fabre||Mikael Barzalona||3rd||11/4|
|2015||Integral (2014 winner)||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore||5th||8/11 f|
|2010||Spacious (2009 winner)||James Fanshawe||Johnny Murtagh||2nd||13/2|