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The King’s Stand Stakes

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History

Most races echo historic events or commemorate important figures. This Group 1 Ascot race, though, was established by accident. But for Britain’s inclement weather, indeed, it would not even exist. The King’s Stand Stakes, a 5 furlong (1,000 metres) burn-up for three-year-old and older sprinters, came about in 1860 when heavy rain and muddy conditions meant the two-mile Royal Stand Plate could not be run. An impromptu event was thus organised, over the only raceable section of the track. The rest, as they say, is history.

We may expect to find it tough to beat the Aussies at cricket and rugby, but in this race we’ve found it hard to beat them at horseracing too. Four times in recent years, a sprinter from down under has landed the prize, each time in the horse’s first ever race in Europe.

Choisir started the trend in 2003 – four days later he doubled up in the Golden Jubilee Stakes over a furlong further – and Takeover Target took the race in 2006. A year later it was the brilliant filly Miss Andretti’s turn and in 2009 Scenic Blast was triumphant.

Takeover Target is worth particular mention.  Owned and trained by a New South Wales taxi driver, he cost just £500 at the sales thanks to his dodgy legs yet ended up winning races in Japan and Singapore as well as in the UK and Australia, amassing over £2m in prize money in the process.

And the home team also have to fear American challengers – Lady Aurelia winning for Wesley Ward and the USA in 2017.

Current leading jockey: Olivier Peslier, 2 wins (1997, 2008)
Current leading trainer: 2 wins for Edward Lynam (2013, 2014); Robert Cowell (2011, 2015), Charlie Appleby (2018, 2019)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Brilliant Blue Point scoops second King’s Stand success

Blue Point confirmed his superiority over Battaash to win back-to-back renewals of the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Billed as a match between the big two, it developed into everything race fans wanted inside the final furlong – but Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old was pulling away at the line of the first races in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Sprint Category.

In the early stages Jim Crowley on Battaash was tracking Houtzen, but they were on their own and just after halfway Crowley took the decision to track over towards the main group.

As Blue Point moved to the head of that pack, Battaash travelled up strongly alongside him, only for James Doyle’s mount to see it out the strongest.

The 5-2 chance won by a length and a quarter, with Soldier’s Call just pipping Mabs Cross for third to prevent an identical result to last year.

Appleby said: “We’ve all been very much involved in this horse. It’s great for William (Buick) being here and the team at home have done a fantastic job with this horse.

“To do back-to-back wins in this race is fantastic, as I knew he’s going to have a great career at stud when he retires at the end of the season.

“During the winter we saw how much more professional he was. He’s strengthened and when William got off him after his first start in Dubai he said he was a different animal. He’s the finished article now.

“I’ve got a great team behind me and it’s great for Sheikh Mohammed and his family being here. We’ll give him a little break and work back from the Abbaye at some stage.”

Doyle said: “It worked out very well, very smooth, just how we saw it on paper.

“Battaash came to him late on and he held him off. He’s more electric on faster ground, but he’s a real tough horse and the good ones go on anything.”

Charlie Hills said of Battaash: “I think he probably just got a little bit outstayed again. It is just testing his stamina a bit.

“He was drawn wide and unfortunately the horse (Houtzen) we thought was going to take us on early into the race slipped out of the stalls.

“We just got a little bit detached from the race and he had to make his move a little early, but he ran a really good race. The race worked out how we envisaged it. We will go to Goodwood now for the King George.”

Archie Watson was thrilled with Soldier’s Point: “He ran a huge race. He ran against these horses at two, which very few horses do. That is way to ride him and he showed a lot of speed today.

“He ran a very good race at York and has taken a big step forward today. We don’t have to be too clever to where we run him, either. I know he is good enough to win one of these and I hope he can.

“Goodwood was the one place where he didn’t like the track, so he won’t be going there and it is only a Group Two. All roads lead to the Group Ones at the end of the season.”

Michael Dods added of Mabs Cross: “I think she ran her race. If anything the biggest problem was they weren’t going hard for a Group One sprint.

“At halfway she was travelling too well, as I would rather see her off the bridle, as when she is she really comes home. She filled a similar sort of position last year. I’d imagine now we will go to the Nunthorpe.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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