The three-year-olds will battle it out in the King Edward VII Stakes on the Tuesday of Royal Ascot (normally Friday), a race that is now over 180 years old. During its early days it was open to fillies but now only colts and geldings are eligible to take part.
At the same distance as the Epsom Derby, this race began life known as the Ascot Derby and to this day runners from the Classic, which runs earlier in the month, regularly take part.
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: Pyledriver
- SP: 18/1
- Trainer: William Muir
- Jockey: Martin Dwyer
There’s a strange feel to the 2020 running of the King Edward VII Stakes. Known as the Ascot Derby, this is a race that usually includes horses who competed in the Epsom Derby a couple of weeks previously but this year it takes places before the Derby due to the major disruption in the racing schedule.
So, the field for this year’s contest includes horses who are still looking to prove themselves capable of a run in the biggest three year old race of all. The winner this year will surely have their price for Derby success cut considerably as both races take place over the same distance of 1m4f. However, Ascot is a very different track to Epsom so this is a race that must be taken on its own merits.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||1m4f||Group 2||£110,000||6 Runners||1/4 1-2|
King Edward VII 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.
Just six horses hold entries for the King Edward VII Stakes which is disappointing on first viewing. It is perfectly possible to have thrilling and informative races from small fields though and the race takes on even more significance now that it plays the role of a Derby trial.
Given its strangely early place in the schedule, none of the six competitors hold a penalty for winning a Group 1 or 2 race so they will all race off level weights at nine stone. That isn’t actually unusual as none of the last 10 winners carried a penalty. Indeed, this is often a race for horses who have yet to prove themselves capable of winning at the top level something which is borne out by the fact that Japan became the first favourite to win the King Edward VII Stakes since Nathaniel back in 2011.
A lack of a prior run at Ascot has never been a limiting factor to success in this race and the same will be true of this year’s renewal. One trend which is certain to not be a factor this time around though is previous form over 1m4f. This is the first time that any of the six competing horses has contested 12 furlongs with only the outsider, Sound Of Cannons, coming close having finished fourth in the Lingfield Derby Trial over 1m3½f earlier in the month.
|Mogul||5/6||110||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|Mohican Heights||4/1||102||David Simcock||Andrea Atzeni|
|Arthur's Kingdom||5/1||107||Aidan O'Brien||Frankie Dettori|
When looking at the bare form it is easy to get the impression that last season ended in a disappointment for Mogul. He was the clear pick of Aidan O’Brien’s horses in the betting for the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle in November but could only finish fourth. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll see why O’Brien was far from disheartened.
Firstly, Mogul is not bred to be at his best over one mile. Everything in his pedigree suggests that he will really find his feet over the middle distances, a suggestion which has been backed up by Ballydoyle’s decision to send him out in the King Edward VII Stakes first time up this season. Secondly, the Vertem Futurity was his first taste of Group 1 racing and it came on his first run on the all-weather. Thirdly, the form from Newcastle has very obviously been strengthened after Kameko won the 2,000 Guineas in record time just a couple of weeks ago. Finally, O’Brien himself said that he was happy with the run.
Mogul did run very well a couple of times over a mile last year. His class was made clear to all when he won the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown as easy as possible.
His quality performances last season despite O’Brien describing him as a ‘big baby’. The positive news that he has wintered well has not been missed by the market but Mogul very much looks like the one the others all have to beat at Ascot.
Mohican Heights (4/1)
The market rates Mohican Heights as the main danger to the favourite. That may look a little bit surprising on the back of just two wins but this expensively purchased colt clearly has a lot of class about him.
Mohican Heights lost his maiden tag at the first time of asking. That race at Leopardstown was characterised at the time as one in which the favourites failed to live up to the billing so his run was marked down somewhat by many judges. Sun Bloodstock Sarl were impressed though as they paid £520,000 for him the following month and sent him to David Simcock’s yard. That fee looked a shrewd investment when Mohican Heights won the Listed Stonehenge Stakes on debut for new connections.
Mohican Heights has a fair amount to find with Mogul on the official ratings but he is clearly an improving sort who should run a big race and, at the very least, keep the favourite honest.
Arthur’s Kingdom (5/1)
Any horse trained by Aidan O’Brien and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle deserves plenty of respect. That’s the partnership looking to steer Arthur’s Kingdom towards victory in the King Edward VII Stakes and their chances are being well supported at 5/1 in the betting.
This race may just come a bit soon for Arthur’s Kingdom to win but expect him to be right up there in the closing stages. After two narrowly missing out in his first two maidens, he broke his duck on heavy ground at Gowran Park. That extra challenge of stamina was perfect for him as his pedigree says he will be at his very best once stepped up to the middle distances.
The step up to 1m4f will suit at Ascot and the battling qualities he showed to come second in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud will mean he’s tough to shake off but he’s yet to really prove he’ll have the finishing speed to get the better of Mogul or Mohican Heights.
King Edward VII Stakes Winners
|2020||Pyledriver||18/1||William Muir||Martin Dwyer|
|2019||Japan||6/4||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2018||Old Persian||9/2||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2017||Permian||5/6||Mark Johnston||William Buick|
|2016||Across the Stars||7/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Frankie Dettori|
|2015||Balios||10/1||David Simcock||Jamie Spencer|
|2014||Eagle Top||10/1||John Gosden||William Buick|
|2013||Hillstar||15/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2012||Thomas Chippendale||9/2||Sir Henry Cecil||Johnny Murtagh|
|2011||Nathaniel||11/4||John Gosden||William Buick|
About the King Edward VII Stakes
Standing as one of the highlights of day four at Royal Ascot (day one in 2020) is the King Edward VII Stakes. Run over the same distance as the Epsom Derby, you tend to find a few horses featuring in both events. Although this Group 2 contest doesn’t quite carry the same level of prestige, its £225,000 purse, which was reduced by half to £110,000 in 2020, is enough to ensure it attracts a high quality field each year.
Like many of the races that feature during Royal Ascot, the King Edward VII Stakes has a long history stretching all the way back to the 19th century. It enjoyed its inaugural run in 1834 under the name of the Ascot Derby. The change in title occurred in 1926 in order to commemorate the son of Queen Victoria who died 16 years earlier. While initially a mixed sex race in its early days, the 1m 3f 211y test has long been a contest only open for colts and geldings aged three-years-old.
A STEP UP FOR MOST
Japan, the 2019 winner of this race, came third in the Epsom Derby prior to running at Ascot. Another two recent King Edward winners, Permian (2017) and Across the Stars (2016) both ran in the Derby before their Royal Ascot visit. Neither made an impression at Epsom, both finishing in 10th place, showing the difference in quality between the two events. Rarely has the Derby been used as a warm up test for King Edward winners though, with the three aforementioned names rather bucking the trend. Winning both races is even rarer with no horse winning doing so since the 19th century.
In 2020 this race took place before the Epsom Derby, meaning the roles were reversed and the King Edward VII was a prelude to the Classic.
Epsom Derby Runners in the King Edward VII Stakes: 2010 – 2020
|Year||Horse||Trainer||Epsom Derby Position||King Edward VII Position|
|2020||Epsom Derby run after King Edward VII stakes.|
|2019||Japan||Aidan O’Brien||3rd at 20/1||1st at 6/4|
|2019||Bangkok||Andrew Balding||12th at 9/1||2nd at 10/1|
|2019||Humanitarian||John Gosden||7th at 33/1||7th at 12/1|
|2018||Delano Roosevelt||Aidan O’Brien||6th at 16/1||5th at 5/2|
|2017||Permian||Mark Johnston||10th at 8/1||1st at 6/1|
|2017||Khalidi||John Gosden||14th at 20/1||2nd at 10/1|
|2017||Glencadam Glory||John Gosden||9th at 33/1||5th at 25/1|
|2017||Salouen||Sylvester Kirk||13th at 33/1||7th at 9/1|
|2017||Best Solution||Saeed bin Suroor||8th at 12/1||10th at 13/2|
|2016||Across The Stars||Sir Michael Stoute||10th at 25/1||1st at 7/1|
|2016||Humphrey Bogart||Richard Hannon||5th at 25/1||6th at 7/1|
|2013||Battle Of Marengo||Aidan O’Brien||4th at 11/2||2nd at 10/11|
|2012||Thought Worthy||John Gosden||4th at 16/1||3rd at 8/1|
|2012||Astrology||Aidan O’Brien||3rd at 13/2||4th at 8/11|
|2010||Buzzword||Mahmood Al Zarooni||8th at 40/1||3rd at 11/1|
|2010||At First Sight||Aidan O’Brien||2nd at 100/1||4th at 5/2|
|2010||Bullet Train||Sir Henry Cecil||12th at 13/2||6th at 5/1|
Usually, this race acts as a step up for the hopeful field, rather than being a step down. Between 2003 and 2020, only 7 of the 17 champions of this Group 2 event had previously won at Listed quality or better. The remaining 10 had either not given it a shot or were unable to win at Class 1 prior. In the exceptionally rare cases that a horse has won a Group 1 race anytime since the previous August, they are subject to a 3lb penalty here. The last horse saddled with the extra weight was the Italian-trained Dylan Mouth in 2014.
Geldings are free to take part in this race providing they are three-years-old but they rarely play a major part in it. The 2020, 2019 and 2018 editions of the contest saw no geldings involved with Lead Choreographer in 2016 and Best Of Days in 2017 the only geldings to take part since 2012. Neither of those two managed to impress, both finishing in last place.
It therefore should come as no surprise that a gelding hasn’t won this race in over thirty years. Colts have always come out on top in that period, a reflection of the advantage they have and their better representation. The most successful geldings in recent times have been Oriental Express in 1996, Palio Sky in 1997, Snowstorm in 2001 and Ride With The Wind in 2009 who all finished as runners-up.
WATCH FOR THE DRAW
Although Ascot isn’t associated with having a strong draw bias, an interesting draw trend has emerged from this race over the years. Horses starting from between stalls four and seven (inclusive) have fared far better than those setting off elsewhere. In fact horses drawn four, five and seven have taken almost half of the races over the last 20 years.
Runners placed on the very inside gate have enjoyed relatively little success of late and this is something definitely to be aware of. Pyledriver in 2020 was the first horse drawn in stall 1 to win this contest since Five Dynsaties back in 2004. As this race rarely attracts a huge field, you would fancy more frequent inside stall champions but there has only been these two since 2000. More detailed draw data is available below.