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The King’s Stand Stakes

3.00pm Ascot

SP
  • Distance 5f
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £500,000

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

Weather

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

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Brilliant Battaash makes it third time lucky

Having finished runner-up to Blue Point in 2018 and 2019, the brilliant Battaash made it third time lucky in the 2020 King’s Stand Stakes.

The six-year-old gelding, owned and bred by Hamdan Al Maktoum, went off at 5/6 and never looked in any serious danger under Jim Crowley as he blasted away to win by two and a quarter lengths from stablemate Equilateral.

Trainer Charlie Hills said: “Fantastic, he was really on his ‘A’ game today. He was beautifully relaxed before the race and as soon as the gates opened you could see he was going to be very hard to beat.

“We didn’t really have a choice but to go forward. However, he always looked in command today. It is a real shame that Sheikh Hamdan is not here to witness it, but it’s great to finally win a King’s Stand with him.

 

“I was slightly tense, but I’ve lived every emotion with him now. We have been beaten here twice before and, three times, I don’t think I could have dealt with that.”

He added: “Battaash is just an amazing horse. Everyone in the yard is so lucky to have a horse like him – he is the horse of a lifetime. It is not just that, but also the character he has at home.”

Crowley commented: “I had to hold him for two furlongs; he was on a bit of a going day and wanting to charge off. My only concern was to try to get the fractions right on him because obviously he was quite keen today. There was nothing quick enough to lead him, and I wanted to save enough for the finish, which worked out.

“Every time he wins, this horse, it feels special, because when he wins, he wins well. Like I said, he was always doing plenty enough with me early on and I was a little bit worried that the stiff uphill finish might find him out, obviously having this first run, but you know, he’s a real superstar and he has done the three now – the Abbaye, the Nunthorpe, this and hopefully we’re not finished yet.

“I would say he’s number one in my career. He is one of the best sprinters in recent years. He has so much natural talent. OK, he can throw the odd one in now and again, but when he’s good, he’s very, very good. He is just a super horse.”

James Doyle said of the runner-up Equilateral: “Good run, very pleased with him. It worked out nicely; we got a nice tow from Battaash and Clive Cox’s horse, and he has run a great race.”

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

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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