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The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO)

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History

Long recognised as Europe’s mile championship, 1,600 metre races come no bigger than this anywhere on the international stage.  With £1.1 million 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 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. Roaring Lion was winning a fourth successive Group 1 race when scooping the 2018 renewal.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 6 wins (1990, 1996, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2017)
Current leading trainers: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1996, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2010)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

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

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Roaring Lion proves impossible to tame

Roaring Lion reeled off his fourth successive Group One success when staying on strongly to collar I Can Fly in the QIPCO-sponsored £1,156,250 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Oisin Murphy said the brilliant grey colt, who was dropping back to a mile, did not enjoy the soft ground but he still prevailed by a neck in a gripping contest.

John Gosden, saddling his second winner of the afternoon and repeating last year’s success (with Persuasive), said: “My reaction is that the owners (Qatar Racing) were very game and brave to run because they had everything to lose and nothing to gain.

“Roaring Lion had won all those top flight races at a mile and a quarter on fast ground, and we brought him here today on soft over a mile.

“He has proven his class and his guts to get there, but I think he was hating every second of running on that ground. You could that see from his action and the way he was carrying himself – I would not work him on that ground. He has got the job done and full marks to the horse, the jockey and the owners for being brave enough to run here.

“He probably goes to stud now and what a class horse he is. He has got better and stronger through the year, and has now won a top mile race on ground he probably loathed.”

Murphy, who has enjoyed an extraordinary year, added: “He hated the ground and I was never on the bridle. He was all heart in the finish as I was running on empty through the last furlong, having had to use him between the three and the two just to get him into the race. He was very tough in the finish.

“There was a lot of pressure on today. I was on the best horse in the race on paper and it’s just relief and total joy.”

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, one of the owners, indicated later that Roaring Lion would be retired at the end of the year but added he may go to the Breeders’ Cup in America next month or the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin in December.

Her Majesty The Queen presented the trophy.

David Redvers, who advises Sheikh Fahad, bought Roaring Lion for $160,000 as a yearling, and will stand him at his Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire. Redvers said: “That’s my best moment in racing. You saw a brilliant horse and a champion do something he is not meant to do – he wasn’t bred to gallop on such a soft surface and he hated it, but still won.

“This will be the most exciting horse to go to stud for many a year.”

Murphy said: “He hated the ground and was never on the bridle, but he wanted it and showed his class.”

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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