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.
Duke of Cambridge Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
Duke of Cambridge Stakes Past 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|
|2010||Strawberrydaiquiri||9/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2009||Spacious||10/1||James Fanshawe||Johnny Murtagh|
|2008||Sabana Perdida||4/1||Alain de Royer-Dupre||Christophe Lemaire|
|2007||Nannina||3/1||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2006||Soviet Song||11/8||James Fanshawe||Jamie Spencer|
|2005||Peeress||14/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Michael Kinane|
|2004||Favourable Terms||13/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Kieran Fallon|
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|