Queen Anne Stakes

Queen Anne Stakes RaceThe Queen Anne Stakes is a Group 1 flat race held over a mile and is the opening event of Royal Ascot in June. The race was classed as a Group 3 event in 1971, being promoted to a Group 2 in 1984 and reaching Group 1 status in 2003. Three-year-olds were originally allowed to participate but the minimum age was raised to four to coincide with its elevation to Group 1 level.

Origins of the Queen Anne Stakes

The race was first held in 1840 as The Trial Stakes with victory going to Flambeau. In 1930 it was renamed in honour of Queen Anne, the founder of Ascot Racecourse. The race was not staged during the war years (1915-18 or 1940-45) but has steadily grown in stature since the 1970’s. The remarkable victory of Frankel in 2012 further enhanced its reputation and it is now firmly established as the opening race of the richest meeting in England.

Past winners

Four horses have won the Queen Anne Stakes twice: Flambeau (1840, 1841), Toastmaster (1885, 1886), Worcester (1895, 1896) and Dean Swift (1906, 1907). Sir Gordon Richards and Frankie Dettori have been the most successful jockeys in the race with six winners apiece. The leading trainer in the history of the event is Saeed bin Suroor with seven victories, all for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation.

Between 1996 and 2004, the race was completely dominated by the stables of Bin Suroor and Sir Michael Stoute. Bin Suroor saddled four consecutive winners to Cape Cross in 1999 before Stoute won the next three. Godolphin then renewed their dominance with victories for Dubai Destination and Refuse To Bend. Ramonti was the most recent winner for Godolphin in 2007.

One of the most surprising winners was Clive Brittain’s Radetzky in 1978 who sprung a 25-1 shock when making his comeback race from a spell at stud. Prince Khaled Abdullah has enjoyed success in the race with Rousillon (1985) and Warning (1989) but it was the victory of Frankel that will live long in the memory.

The build-up to Royal Ascot 2012 centred on the fact that the two highest races horses in the world were both engaged at the meeting. Frankel would open the meeting in the Queen Anne Stakes with Australia’s equine superstar Black Caviar set to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the closing Saturday.

Defeat was out of the question for Frankel on 19th June and the colt was sent off at 1-10 favourite to retain his unbeaten record. His rivals included Excelebration and Strong Suit but neither could live with the champion on this day.

Regular rider Tom Queally took him to the front with three furlongs to travel and asked him to quicken. He did so with devastating effect to win by a staggering eleven lengths. The fractions revealed that he had run the penultimate furlong in 10.58 seconds, equating to a top speed of 42 mph. Many observers felt that this performance even eclipsed his stunning win in the 2000 Guineas and Timeform increased his rating to 147, the highest since they began recording figures.

Not surprisingly, Black Caviar could not come close to matching that kind of performance and she scrambled home in Saturday’s big race to retain her own unbeaten record. In her defence, she had traversed the globe in order to line up in the sprint and was found to have sustained muscle damage during the race.

Betting on the Queen Anne Stakes

Online racebooks are increasingly keen to mark up ante-post prices on Royal Ascot and the Queen Anne Stakes is now one of the premier betting races of the week. Following Frankel’s sensational performance in 2011, the American raider Animal Kingdom was expected to win in 2012 but was found out by a combination of the travelling, the distance and the straight course. He had been heavily backed in the ante-post market but bookmakers were left celebrating when he failed to make the frame behind Declaration Of War.

Queen Anne Stakes 2014

The Queen Anne Stakes will open the Royal meeting on Tuesday 17th June 2014. Ascot has done a marvellous job in marketing the race in recent seasons and will doubtless be hoping to attract another international star in 2014. It remains to be seen whether the top milers of 2013 will remain in training but hopefully the likes of Toronado, Dawn Approach and Olympic Glory will be around to contest another great renewal of the race.

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