The King's Stand Stakes is one of several prestigious Group 1 races that take place during the Royal Ascot Festival which is hosted annually in June. It is a sprint race held over a distance of five furlongs on the famous Ascot Racecourse - a distance that was created by chance rather than careful deliberation in 1860.
This race is part of the Global Sprint Challenge which was introduced in 2005. The King's Stand Stakes is the first of three sprints hosted in Britain. It is followed by the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, which is also run during the Royal Ascot Festival, and the Darley July Cup run at Newmarket.
Today, the King's Stand Stakes is open to thoroughbreds of both genders aged three and older. It was announced as a Group 1 event two years after the rating system was established in 1971. It lost the status and was lowered to a Group 2 event from 1988 to 2007. In 2008, the King's Stand Stakes was promoted to a Group 1 event once more and remains so today.
This 5 furlong race is held on the famous Ascot racetrack, where also King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakesis held. Despite the track's right-handed leaning, the race itself is run along a straight portion of it. The weight carried by each thoroughbred varies based on age and gender. Three-year-olds must carry 8 st-12 lbs (colts) or 8 st-9lbs (fillies). Four-year-olds must carry 9 st-1 lb (mares) or 9 st-4lbs (stallions/geldings).
location: Ascot Racecourse
grade: Group 1
race type: Flat
The purse has grown from £200,000 in 2007 to £400,000 in 2017 giving it the potential to award a decent top prize of £226,840. Below, the winners and prizes for the past decade are listed (as of 2017).
In 1860, the year the King's Stand Stakes was introduced, the weather was unkind to the Ascot Festival. The track was so badly damaged by the rain, that it was impossible to host the Royal Stand Plate which was a race over a two mile distance. The segment of the track that was deemed still usable was only five furlongs in length. This new, improvised race was first titled the Queen's Stand Stakes, in honour of Queen Victoria. The name was changed upon her death in 1901, when the honours were transferred to the newly crowned King Edward VII.
The Ascot tack has hosted several of the best trainers, horses and jockeys in the world for centuries. Some of the most famous thoroughbreds regularly participate in the highly prestigious events held there throughout the year. Below are some of the most current records for the King's Stand Stakes (as of 2017).
The fastest horse to run the race in the past three quarters of a century is Fairy Flex in 1953 with a time of 55.25 seconds.
The jockey with the most wins is Lester Piggott. He won the King's Stand Stakes on seven occasions from Right Boy in 1957 to Never So Bold in 1985.
The trainer with the most wins is Vincent O'Brien who won on six occasions from Cassarte in 1962 to Bluebird in 1987.
While several thoroughbreds have won the King's Stand Stakes more than once, only a couple have won it twice while the event maintained its Group 1 status. These include: Equiano (2008, 2010) and Sole Power (2013, 2014).
Despite the race's demotion to Group 2 status during a brief portion of its history, several Group 1 sprinters have run the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot. Many have added this race to their list of illustrious career successes (as of 2017).
The most memorable winner during the early 19th century was Gold Bridge. This thoroughbred won two consecutive years from 1933 to 1934 and also won the Granville Stakes and Nunthorpe Stakes.
The first thoroughbred with an Australian trainer (Paul Perry) to win on British soil was Choisir in 2003. The colt went on to win the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes making him the first to win two Royal Ascot races in the same year since 1983.
Solinus, the winner of the 1978 race, had one of the strongest career race records of any colt to win the King's Stand Stakes with eight wins from ten starts. One of these wins included the Royal Ascot Coventry Stakes. Similarly, the most successful filly with 10 wins from 13 starts was Marwell. She won the King's Stand in 1981.