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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.

Current leading jockey: Olivier Peslier, 2 wins (1997, 2008)
Current leading trainer: Peter Makin, 2 wins (1991, 1993); Edward Lynam (2013, 2014); Robert Cowell (2011, 2015)

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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Double celebration for Kirby as Profitable collects

Kirby and Profitable combine to win the King’s Stand Stakes. Photograph: Racingfotos.com

Profitable confirmed he was the most improved sprinter in training when landing the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot today – the first race in the sprint category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Profitable beat Cotai Glory by a neck, with Goken a length further back in third.  The 6/4 favourite, Mecca’s Angel, ran flat and beat only one home in the 17-runner contest.

Winning trainer Clive Cox said: “I bought him as a yearling and he’s been progressive all the way. He was so quick to start with that he was hitting the front too soon in races as a youngster and he didn’t know what life was all about. He was a victim of his own ability, but when he got the hang of it and we got the hang of him it’s been an upward curve.

“We gave him some fancy entries last year because we believed in him, but it didn’t quite work out, but physically he’s a man now.

“He’s very special and I’m delighted for [owner] Alan Spence, for [jockey] Adam Kirby and for the horse’s new connections [breeding rights to Profitable were last week sold to Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud]. Adam had a late night last night as his wife was expecting a baby [now born] and to win a Group One so soon after makes it a great day.

“Any horse that wins a Group One is special and I hope we can enjoy a little more success before he goes off to stud. We didn’t enter him for the July Cup because I felt he was best over five furlongs, but the way he has toughed it out today on easy ground, we may need a rethink. We’ll talk with Alan and see what’s what.”

Kirby was gaining the third Group One success of his career on on the 4-1 winner. It was a momentous day for the jockey following the birth of a baby boy earlier in the afternoon.

Profitable was held up early on by Kirby and was always travelling well. Clive Cox’s charge took up the lead inside the final furlong and despite the late challenge of Cotai Glory, the four-year-old colt held on gamely.

The jockey said: “Profitable was a boy last year. Now he has filled out, he is big and strong. His neck and shoulders have developed, he’s got a big back and developed into a top-class sprinter.

“He has showed this year just how good he is. He’s a top-class horse who has speed to burn.

“If I let him off the rein, he would lead by four or five lengths but he gets a bit lonely out in front which is why I try and play it late on him. He got there and half pulled up today but he still managed to hang on; he’s very good. He is the fastest horse I’ve ridden and is electric under you.

“Profitable is the best five-furlong horse I have ever ridden. He is very, very good and his cruising speed is phenomenal. I am delighted for Alan Spence, Clive and everyone involved.”

Kirby was quick to heap praise on the son of Invincible Spirit by highlighting his latest victory in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He commented: “They all said that Mecca’s Angel got tired at Haydock in the Temple Stakes last time but as far as I was concerned she got beat by a classy sprinter so she was very unlucky to bump into Profitable. He was all over her at Haydock.”

Kirby also paid tribute to his wife Megan who had given birth to their baby boy earlier today. He remarked: “Fair play to Megan [wife] who told me to leave and go to work. She was in a lot of discomfort so it was hard to leave.”

The jockey added: “She coped all on her own so very well done to her. That’s a hard thing to do but it is obviously a great day all round and I will be going back after the last.”

Charlie Hills was almost speechless after Cotai Glory put in his best performance of the season to finish second, a neck behind the winner Profitable, in the King’s Stand Stakes at odds of 33-1.

The delighted trainer said: “When the rain came I thought we had no chance. But soft ground at Ascot is a little bit different to anywhere else and they seem to be getting through it today.

Mongolian Saturday faded to finish ninth after running prominently.

 

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.

  • Course plan Ascot Champions Day Course Plan#
  • Course Intro

  • Buy tickets Online ticket sales for all British Champions Series fixtures Buy tickets

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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@davereversRP That's Vibrant Chords! Unfortunately every time the camera went near Limato he darted back inside his box.