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The Queen Anne Stakes

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History

The Queen Anne Stakes enjoys a unique honour, by opening Royal Ascot, the very first race on the card and commemorating the monarch who established horseracing at Ascot exactly 300 years ago. As the curtain raiser to flat racing’s greatest festival, it’s a Group 1, one mile race for four-year-olds and older horses that has always attracted class acts. It certainly kept attracting legendary jockey Sir Gordon Richards, who was 21 when he won his first Queen Anne and 48 when he claimed his last.

His record total of six victories has since been matched by Frankie Dettori, who also keeps coming back for more, winning his first at 19 years of age and his last – to date – in 2007, at 36.

The Queen Anne Stakes has also attracted many top-quality horses. The 2012 winner Frankel confirmed his status as the world’s greatest racehorse with another scintillating display to win by 11 lengths.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 6 wins (1990, 1997-8, 2003-4, 2007)
Current leading trainer: Saeed bin Suroor, 7 wins (1996-7-8-9, 2003-4, 2007)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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

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Richard Fahey hails Ribchester as his best ever

Richard Fahey hailed Ribchester as the best horse he has trained after the Godolphin-owned colt landed the Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of Royal Ascot 2017, in a track record time.

Settled in fifth in the early stages of the mile contest by William Buick under a stern gallop set by Ribchester’s pacemaker Toscanini, the four-year-old son of Iffraaj ran on resolutely when hitting the front over a furlong out to fend off the challenge of William Haggas’ Mutakayyef (5-1), who was a length and a quarter behind in second, with a neck back to Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville (12-1) in third.

Despite taking a slight drift in the market, the 11-10 favourite found plenty for pressure to register his third success at Group One level – and his second QIPCO British Champions Series victory.

“I’m just delighted he has won,” Fahey said. “You can never be confident but everything dropped into place there. He has huge gears and he is never in trouble. He gets the trip and that makes him a good horse

“Ribchester is just an exceptional horse. He has to be the best horse I have ever trained.”

“I was quietly confident that he would win as everything was good with him before the race – I’m in a happy place.

“William doesn’t feel that the tank is empty with him and that he is getting stronger the whole time. Mentally, he is also getting better which is a great attitude to have in a racehorse – he is starting to think he is good.”

Fahey suggested a tilt at the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is next on the agenda for the colt, who is now 6-5 with Paddy Power for the race.

“The Sussex Stakes is where he has to go really,” he said. “The French race [Prix Jacques Le Marois] which he won last year is only ten days after the Sussex so we can’t go to both. I was always hoping that he would stay further but at the moment, I don’t need to go further.”

Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin’s founder, was delighted and said: “Ribchester was always travelling well with the field. He is a good horse.

“In life there is no winning post. You have to keep going otherwise the rest will catch up with you.

“Royal Ascot is a great place to win. It is very difficult to win because everybody comes from America, Australia and all over the world to Royal Ascot.”

Jim Crowley, rider of Mutakayyef, said: “That was a good run – he just couldn’t get to the winner.”

Dr Jim Hay, part-owner of Deauville, who had been supplemented, said: “That was a fantastic run. He is a very flexible horse; probably nine furlongs is his perfect distance. But he needs it like today – he needs firm going, and he doesn’t get it very often. No doubt Aidan [O’Brien] and the rest of the lads will have a chat and work out where to go next.”

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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