There’s plenty to look forward to on the opening day at Royal Ascot, with no fewer than three Group 1 contests in the first four races alone. Each of these top level affairs has its individual selling points, but in terms of sheer speed and adrenaline, it’s hard to top this ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ sprint.
The King’s Stand first took place in 1860 during the reign of Queen Victoria when it was known as the Queen’s Stand Plate and was ironically won by Queen Of The Vale. The race became the King’s Stand in 1901 with the crowning of King Edward VII following the death on Queen Victoria.
King’s Stand Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
King’s Stand Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Battaash||5/6||Charles Hills||Jim Crowley|
|2019||Blue Point||5/2||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle|
|2018||Blue Point||6/1||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2017||Lady Aurelia||7/2||Wesley Ward||John Velazquez|
|2016||Profitable||4/1||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby|
|2015||Goldream||20/1||Robert Cowell||Martin Harley|
|2014||Sole Power||5/1||Edward Lynam||Richard Hughes|
|2013||Sole Power||8/1||Edward Lynam||Johnny Murtagh|
|2012||Little Bridge||12/1||Danny Shum||Zac Purton|
|2011||Prohibit||7/1||Robert Cowell||Jim Crowley|
About the King’s Stand: The Day One Dash
There are many reasons to complain about British weather but without it we’d not be able to enjoy the King’s Stand Stakes every year. The race only formed when heavy rain made it impossible to run the two mile Royal Stand Plate at Ascot in 1860. Still needing something to entertain the crowd, organisers shortened the contest to five furlongs as no more of the course was useable.
The success of the inaugural race meant that the newly formed sprint race instantly became a regular fixture at Ascot. Before too long it was the most important sprint of the Royal Meeting. Back then it was known as the Queen’s Stand Plate but the death of King Edward VII provoked a name change in 1901. It remains as a major player of Royal Ascot and is available to all horses aged three and above.
FOREIGN VISITORS FEELING AT HOME
The King’s Stand Stakes has regularly had decent international presence, primarily thanks to its involvement in the Global Sprint Challenge. It first became part of the series in 2005 alongside five other races. By being able to attract a high calibre of horses from overseas, three years later the King’s Stand Stakes regained the Group 1 status it lost in 1988. In the challenge’s final incarnation in 2017 it stood as the fifth leg in the series and was one of three races to feature on British soil, the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup being the other two.
While fantastic news for the race itself, British horses have not fared too well since the creation of the Global Sprint Challenge. Winners have originated from all over the globe with locally trained horses struggling to enjoy anything in the way of a home advantage. The chart of winners below highlights just how well overseas contenders have fared in this Group 1 event. It’s unclear if the trend will continue however as in 2018 the Global Sprint Challenge was suspended following a quarantine dispute between Australia and Hong Kong.
MINUTE MARK CONSISTENTLY BROKEN
On a straight track with plenty of space and little draw bias, the King’s Stand Stakes offers all horses a very fair test of their ability. There is an uphill climb towards the line at Ascot but this has not prevented horses from consistently recording impressive times in more recent years. In the 18 renewals before 2005, when the race temporarily moved to York, only five horses clocked a winning time under a minute. Since moving back to Ascot in 2006, Profitable is the only winner not to break the 60 second barrier, though that was on soft ground.
FASTEST RECORDED KING’S STAND WINNING TIMES: 1974 – 2020
|Miss Andretti||2007||Lee Freedman||Craig Newitt||00:57.44||39.18 mph|
|Lady Aurelia||2017||Wesley A Ward||John Velazquez||00:57.45||39.17 mph|
|Chineur (York)||2005||Mikel Delzangles||Christophe Lemaire||00:57.55||39.10 mph|
|Blue Point||2018||Charlie Appleby||William Buick||00:58.14||38.71 mph|
|Blue Point||2019||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle||00:58.53||38.45 mph|
|Battaash||2020||Charles Hills||Jim Crowley||00:58.64||38.37 mph|
|Sole Power||2013||Edward Lynam||Johnny Murtagh||00:58.88||38.22 mph|
|Sole Power||2014||Edward Lynam||Richard Hughes||00:58.95||38.17 mph|
|Equiano||2010||Barry Hills||Michael Hills||00:59.00||38.14 mph|
|Goldream||2015||Robert Cowell||Martin Harley||00:59.11||38.07 mph|
|Last Tycoon||1986||Robert Collet||Cash Asmussen||00:59.28||37.96 mph|
|Equiano||2008||M Delcher Sanchez||Olivier Peslier||00:59.35||37.92 mph|
|Pivotal||1996||Sir Mark Prescott||George Duffield||00:59.49||37.83 mph|
|Prohibit||2011||Robert Cowell||Jim Crowley||00:59.50||37.82 mph|
|Scenic Blast||2009||Daniel Morton||Steven Arnold||00:59.54||37.80 mph|
|Piccolo||1995||Mick Channon||Richard Hughes||00:59.67||37.71 mph|
|Choisir||2003||Paul Perry||Johnny Murtagh||00:59.68||37.71 mph|
|Little Bridge||2012||Danny Shum||Zac Purton||00:59.69||37.70 mph|
|Takeover Taget||2006||Joe Janiak||Jay Ford||00:59.79||37.64 mph|
|Bay Express||1974||Peter Nelson||Brian Taylor||00:59.91||37.56 mph|
DON’T BLINK AT THE FINISH
Regularly able to attract a large field of high class sprinters, this is a race often decided by the finest of margins. The fact that runners will head to either the far or near rail only make judging who is ahead an even harder task. We’re yet to see a dead heat during the race’s long history but regularly there is only a split second separating the horse leading the pack. Goldream’s victory in 2015 is the most slender of recent renewals. The 20/1 shot edged out Medicean Man by a short head with Muthmir just a neck’s length behind.