The Wokingham Stakes stands as fifth of seven races on Day Five of the Royal Ascot festival, immediately following the high class Diamond Jubilee Stakes which is run over the same distance.
While not carrying the same level of prestige as the race before it, this heritage handicap is able to compete in terms of pure excitement. We tend to have a huge field declared for the Class 2 contest and choosing just one name is a tough ask.
Wokingham Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
As with the other sprints at Royal Ascot, the 6f Wokingham Stakes begins on the additional part of the track which extends from the home straight. This race begins around 3 furlongs into this extension, running right to left from the view of the grandstands.
Wokingham Stakes Past Winners
|2021||Rohaan||8/1||David Evans||Shane Kelly|
|2020||Hey Jonesy||18/1||Kevin Ryan||Kevin Stott|
|2019||Cape Byron||7/2||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni|
|2018||Bacchus||33/1||Brian Meehan||Jim Crowley|
|2017||Out Do||25/1||David O’Meara||Daniel Tudhope|
|2016||Outback Traveller||10/1||Robert Cowell||Martin Harley|
|2015||Interception||10/1||David Lanigan||George Baker|
|2014||Baccarat||9/1||Richard Fahey||George Baker|
|2013||York Glory||14/1||Kevin Ryan||Jamie Spencer|
|2012||Dandy Boy||33/1||David Marnane||Pat Dobbs|
|2011||Deacon Blues||15/2||James Fanshawe||Johnny Murtagh|
|2010||Ladies Poker Two||9/2||Jeremy Noseda||Johnny Murtagh|
|2009||High Standing||6/1||William Haggas||Ryan Moore|
|2008||Big Timer||20/1||Linda Perratt||Tom Eaves|
|2007||Dark Missile||22/1||Andrew Balding||William Buick|
|2006||Baltic King||10/1||Highie Morrison||Jimmy Fortune|
|2005||Iffraaj||9/4||Michael Jarvis||Philip Robinson|
|2004||Lafi||6/1||David Nicholls||Eddie Ahern|
|2003||Fayr Jag||10/1||Tim Easterby||Willie Supple|
|Ratio||14/1||John Hammond||Frankie Dettori|
|2002||Capricho||20/1||Jon Akehurst||Richard Quinn|
About the Wokingham Stakes
Immediately following the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of Royal Ascot is another six furlong race, the Wokingham Stakes. The ultra-competitive handicap regularly features fields of 25+, giving punters the potential to scoop a big winner as the five day festival nears a close. With it being a heritage handicap, the race offers a purse much larger than a standard handicap affair (£120,000) while also being open to any horse with an official rating no higher than 110.
For those of you who live close to Ascot, or are British geography boffins, you might be aware that Wokingham is a market town west of the racecourse. This is the inspiration for the race name, rather than honouring the first two-time champion in the late 1800s who was coincidentally called Wokingham. At the time of its inception in 1813, the event was divided into several different classes before merging into a single race in 1874.
OLD OUT DO OUTDOES THE REST
There was a very rare sight in the 2017 Wokingham Stakes, an eight-year-old winner. Out Do’s surprise 25/1 victory was the first time in decades that a horse so old managed to beat the rest. Previously the oldest nag first past the post, in the modern era at least, was seven-year-old Selhurstpark Flyer during a successful title defence.
Having bettered his younger rivals before, Out Do returned to Ascot 12 months later and was the only nine-year-old among the Wokingham field. The chestnut gelding rather showed his age on this occasion though as he wound up finishing dead last.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 2021 winner Rohaan became the first three-year-old winner since Bel Byou who was victorious 34 years earlier.
Out Do’s miserable attempt to defend his crown serves as a reminder of just how hard it is to win this race back to back. There’s recently been a small surge in horses attempting it but as you can see from the table below, champions that do return do not fare well. The way things are going it could well be a long time before we see a fifth two-time champion, and the first this side of the new millennium..
Wokingham Stakes Defending Champions: 1990 – 2021
|Year||Defending Champion||Race Finish|
|2021||Hey Jonesy||6th at 33/1|
|2019||Bacchus||22nd at 12/1|
|2018||Out Do||28th at 33/1|
|2017||Outback Traveller||12th at 9/1|
|2016||Interception||22nd at 12/1|
|2014||York Glory||28th at 14/1|
|2003||Capricho||4th at 12/1|
|2000||Deep Space||4th at 16/1|
|1999||Selhurstpark Flyer||22nd at 20/1|
|1998||Selhurstpark Flyer||1st at 16/1|
|1997||Emerging Market||18th at 20/1|
|1996||Astrac||7th at 25/1|
|1995||Venture Capitalist||4th at 33/1|
|1994||Nagida||17th at 16/1|
|1991||Knight Of Mercy||9th at 16/1|
RATIO AND FAYR JAG SHARE GLORY
Since 2011, either nose, a head, neck or half a length have decided six Wokingham Stakes’ renewals. Regularly impossible to call right until the final few strides, it’s no great surprise that this race has previously had a dead heat.
There was nothing to separate Fayr Jag or the Frankie Dettori-ridden Ratio in the 2003 edition of the handicap as stewards examined the photo finish. It would end up being the biggest win of Ratio’s career but for Fayr Jag, he got the spotlight to himself a year later when winning what is now the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
BIG ODDS WINNERS A COMMON FEATURE
Although it’s a tough ask to pick the winner in this race, do it right and you are more than likely to pocket yourself a very tidy profit on the penultimate race of Royal Ascot. With so many horses always in the running for the Wokingham, there are lots of big odds on display and losing favourites are a common feature.
The average starting price of the winners since the year 2000 is over 13/1, with just four favourites triumphing in this time. Some of the most unfancied horses have become champions in recent times as can be seen above, highlighting just how important it is to check the full racecard when placing your bets. We would also suggest at least a couple of each way punts in such a wide open contest.