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The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored By QIPCO

Minding 1000 Guineas win
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Long recognised as Europe’s mile championship, 1,600 metre races come no bigger than this anywhere on the international stage.  With a cool million pounds in prize money, the race has entered a different stratosphere in financial terms, boosted from £250,000 in 2010 when it was run at Ascot’s late September meeting.  It is now by far the richest mile race in Europe and one of the most valuable in the world.

Named in honour of The Queen in 1955, the race has a roll of honour packed full of stars, including Brigadier Gerard (1971 & 72), Known Fact (1980), Dubai Millennium (1999) and the awesome Frankel, who took the race in 2011 in effortless fashion to maintain his unbeaten career record.

The race holds special memories for Frankie Dettori.  It provided him with his first ever Group 1 race victory thanks to Markofdistinction in 1990 and when Mark Of Esteem landed the spoils in 1996, it was the third leg of his “Magnificent Seven” when he won every race on that famous (or infamous if you were a bookmaker) Ascot card.

When Poet’s Voice triumphed in 2010, it was Frankie’s fifth victory (he also won it on Dubai Millennium in 1999 and Ramonti in 2007), easily the best record of any current jockey in the race. He still has a bit to go to match Willie Carson.  He won it 8 times in his illustrious riding career.

Frankel and Excelebration, the two best milers in the world at the time (given that Frankel had stepped up in distance), stamped their authority on the race in the first two runnings on QIPCO British Champions Day, while Olympic Glory was victorious for the Hannon team in 2013.

The race returned to France the following year, however, with Charm Spirit lifting the honours for Freddy Head and Olivier Peslier.

Head would be celebrating again in 2015, too, as his brilliant miler Solow cast aside his rivals at Ascot. Can they come back in 2016 to retain their crown?

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1990, 1996, 1999, 2007, 2010)
Current leading trainers: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1996, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2010)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Marvellous Minding is one in a million

Magical Minding became the first horse since the legendary Frankel to win four QIPCO British Champions Series races in one season when landing the £1.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) at Ascot.

The 7/4 favourite, winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Investec Oaks and QatarNassau Stakes earlier in the season, was always travelling powerfully for jockey Ryan Moore and the pair accelerated to the front just over a furlong from home.

The three-year-old had to dig deep to repel the challenge of the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester (7/2), who finished in the runner-up spot, a length ahead of 9/1 shot Lightning Spear, but they stuck on gamely to record a famous victory.

“It’s unbelievable – she’s an incredible filly,” said the trainer. “Her usual work rider got off her recently and said she couldn’t believe the piece of work that Minding had just done – she’s incredible.

All the people that are involved with her on a daily basis have done a great job. I’m delighted for the lads and I’m delighted for everybody. She’s a very special filly.

“She’s won at the top level at a mile, mile and a quarter and a mile and a half and then to bring her back down in trip to win an all-aged mile race, they have to be very special.

“I can’t say enough about her. I’d imagine that would be it now for her for the rest of the year. The plan was to come here and try and win and maybe the lads will now bring her back to race again next year. They’ll sit down and talk about that now but hopefully she can race again.

“She’s an incredible filly. A filly who can get a mile and a half and then go and do that over this sort of trip is very special.”

Minding has now achieved seven Group 1 wins and she was giving Ryan Moore his first QIPCO British Champions Day success after 25 unsuccessful rides at the meeting since its inception.

Moore said: “I am really delighted. It’s some performance – she’s had a hard year and Aidan has freshened her up and brought her back to a mile. It’s some achievement to see off the colts and she has done it the hard way. She was just too good and too strong for them.”

Having been up near the pace early under William Buick, Ribchester battled on gamely after being headed by Minding around two furlong pole.

Fahey said: “He wasn’t unlucky but he maybe just over-raced a little bit in the early stages of the race. As I always say, he is a horse with a very high cruising speed and they couldn’t go quick enough for him early on.

“We are really happy with the run. He came back at Minding at the end of the race there but I am a huge admirer of the winner, she is a wonderful filly and we can be proud of how our horse has run.”

Trainer David Simcock said of Lightning Spear: “It was a career-best performance – hindsight says the far side would have been better, but he’s quickened up very, very well and has been beaten by two very good horses. He made up a lot of ground on them, and they weren’t stopping – he’ll have his day.

“It will be up to David Redvers [Qatar Racing manager] and Sheikh Fahad to decide on his future, but of course I would love to have him back next year.”

Redvers said: “He had three Classic winners behind him [Awtaad, Galileo Gold and Jet Setting], and if you ran the race a couple of times you could come up with a different result. Minding is a filly of a lifetime, so we’re delighted – he’s put up a career-best run. It would have been lovely to have won it and gone straight off to stud, but we’ll have to sit down and think now.

“He might stay in training – I’ll discuss that with Sheikh Fahad, but he’s just run better than ever. He’s an off-the-pace horse, but was probably on the wrong side in the end. He likes a really strong gallop from end to end and they didn’t go that quickly in the first two furlongs.”

Galileo Gold, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner, ran flat and Frankie Dettori said: “I feel like the horse needs a break. From three out I knew I was going to finish well back. He was tired.”


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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.

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