The three-year-olds will battle it out in the King Edward VII Stakes on the Friday of Royal Ascot, 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.
King Edward VII Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
King Edward VII Stakes Past Winners
|2021||Alenquer||13/8||William Haggas||Tom Marquand|
|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|
|2010||Monterosso||7/2||Mark Johnston||Frankie Dettori|
|2009||Father Time||9/1||Henry Cecil||Eddie Ahern|
|2008||Campanologist||9/1||Saeed bin Suroor||Frankie Dettori|
|2007||Boscobel||7/1||Mark Johnston||Joe Fanning|
|2006||Papal Bull||5/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Kieren Fallon|
|2005||Plea Bargain||9/2||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2004||Five Dynasties||11/4||Aidan O'Brien||Jamie Spencer|
|2003||High Accolade||5/2||Marcus Tregoning||Martin Dwyer|
|2002||Balakheri||11/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Johnny Murtagh|
About the King Edward VII Stakes
Standing as one of the highlights of day four at Royal Ascot 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 £160,000 purse, which was reduced 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.