Newmarket’s July Festival, one of the liveliest social occasions of British racing. It is a three day meeting in early July which runs Thursday to Saturday. Helping to spice things up on the opening day is the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes.
The race was inaugurated in 1894 and during its early days, this race was one of the most prestigious events on the racing calendar. Three Triple Crown winners won this as four year olds in the race’s first ten years. Whilst it doesn’t carry quite the same reputation today, the Group 2 contest still attracts a good quality field.
This race is increasingly targeted by stayers, with St Leger, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Melbourne Cup winners all featuring on the list of recent victors.
Princess Of Wales’s Stakes Course Map (July Course)
Princess Of Wales’s Stakes Past Winners
|2021||Sir Ron Priestley||10/3||Mark Johnston||Franny Norton|
|2020||Dame Malliot||8/1||Ed Vaughan||Hollie Doyle|
|2019||Communique||11/1||Mark Johnston||Silvestre De Sousa|
|2018||Best Solution||6/1||Saeed bin Suroor||Pat Cosgrave|
|2017||Hawkbill||7/2||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle|
|2016||Big Orange||8/1||Michael Bell||James McDonald|
|2015||Big Orange||25/1||Michael Bell||Jamie Spencer|
|2014||Cavalryman||9/1||Saeed bin Suroor||Silvestre de Sousa|
|2013||Universal||3/1||Mark Johnston||Joe Fanning|
|2012||Fiorente||11/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2011||Crystal Capella||4/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2010||Sans Frontieres||14/1||Jeremy Noseda||Tom Queally|
|2009||Doctor Fremantle||8/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2008||Lucarno||6/1||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2007||Papal Bull||11/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2006||Soapy Danger||5/1||Mark Johnston||Kevin Darley|
|2005||Gamut||2/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Keren Fallon|
|2004||Bandari||12/1||Mark Johnston||Richard Hills|
|2003||Millenary||5/1||John Dunlop||Pat Eddery|
|2002||Millenary||5/2||John Dunlop||Pat Eddery|
About the Princess of Wales’s Stakes: Unpredictable and Exciting Race at HQ
Newmarket has been home to many of the finest horses and trainers in the history of British flat racing. The proximity to so many top yards means that Newmarket Racecourse hosts a series of top quality contests during the flat racing season. The Princess of Wales’s Stakes is one such race.
One of the real joys of this race is the variety of competitors it attracts each year. It is open to three year olds but has been won recently by horses as old as eight and the middle distance trip attracts stayers coming down in trip as well as horses with a greater turn of foot testing their stamina. That variety makes this an unpredictable and exciting race for racing fans and punters alike.
An Instant Hit
The first edition of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes took place in 1894. In those early days the race, which was named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark who became the Princess of Wales in 1863, was one of the premier contests in British racing.
It took no time at all for the Princess of Wales’s Stakes to prove itself to be a race of the highest calibre. The very first winner of what was then a one mile race was Isinglass, a horse who was a genuine superstar of the time thanks to his completion of the Triple Crown just one year earlier.
Just five years later and Flying Fox added yet more prestige to the race. His Princess of Wales’s Stakes win came in the same season that he won the Triple Crown. In 1903, Rock Sand did as Isinglass did 10 years earlier by winning the Princess of Wales’s Stakes the year after winning the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger.
Classic Winning Princess Of Wales’s Stakes Champions: 1894 – 2020
|Year of Win||Horse||2000 Guineas||Epsom Derby||Epsom Oaks||St Leger Stakes|
|2002 & 2003||Millenary||✘||✘||✘||✔|
Stamina an Increasingly Important Attribute
The Princess of Wales’s Stakes was increased in trip to 12 furlongs (one and a half miles) in 1902. Inevitably that changed the nature of the race considerably but it still attracted very strong fields as a middle distance race. Indeed, the strength of the winners over the decades that followed saw the race become a Group 3 event when the system of grading was introduced in 1971 before being promoted to the Group 2 level in 1978.
Now held every year in July, the Princess of Wales’s Stakes is a chance for younger horses to be tested against open company. As of 2020 only three three year olds have won in 31 years but many recent winners are still finding their feet.
This is a middle distance race but it often goes the way of high class stayers. Winner of the St Leger in the year 2000, Millenary won this one in both 2002 and 2003, whilst Big Orange, who won the Goodwood Cup and the Ascot Gold Cup, won the Princess of Wales’s Stakes in 2015 and 2016.
Millenary and Big Orange joined an elite list of just five horses to have won the Princess of Wales’s Stakes twice. Lance Chest (1912 and 1913), Primera (1959 and 1960) and Lomond (1965 and 1966) complete the list with no horse winning the race more than twice. The 2019 winner Communique came close to a famous double, finishing second the following year having led the race in the final furlong.
Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful trainer in the race’s history with an impressive nine wins ranging from Shardari in 1986 to Fiorente in 2012. Lester Piggott holds the record for the most winning rides as a jockey with his eighth win coming an incredible 32 years after his first.