King`s Stand Stakes Betting

For nearly 250 years, the Royal Ascot meeting held in June has been a centrepiece of the British social calendar. It is all about tradition, pageantry, fashion, style and, of course, great horse racing, with 18 Group races scheduled over five days and some £4 million in prize money on offer.

The £300,000 King’s Stand Stakes is one of several featured races on opening day each year, which includes the Queen Anne Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes among others. At a distance of five furlongs, this race also serves as the first British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, a new international race series inaugurated in 2005.

The history of the King’s Stand Stakes dates back to 1860, when heavy rain forced the two-mile Royal Stand Plate to be shortened to five furlongs. This new sprint was originally known as the Queen’s Stand Plate, but it was given its current name in 1901 after Queen Victoria’s death and King Edward VII’s accession.

From 1973, the King’s Stand Stakes was given Group 1 status, which was downgraded to the Group 2 level in 1988 so that the Haydock Sprint Cup could be promoted. The addition of this race to the Global Sprint Challenge and the subsequent entry of high-quality contenders from overseas allowed it to regain its original status in 2008.

Today, the King’s Stand Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race open to Thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It takes place on the turf of the final five furlong’s of the Ascot Racecourse straight mile. The three-year-old sprinters carry eight stone twelve pounds, while the older horses bear nine-stone-four, with allowances of three pounds for fillies and mares. There are no penalty weights for previous winners.

No fewer than ten horses conquered the King’s Stand Stakes twice in their careers. They include six who managed it back-to-back: Kilcock in 1898-99, Sundridge in 1903-04, Foresight in 1908-09, Diadem in 1919-20, Golden Boss in 1923-24 and Gold Bridge in 1933-34. The other two-time winners were Woolsthorpe in 1895/1897, Hornet’s Beauty in 1911/1913, Elbio in 1991/1993, and most recently Equiano in 2008/2010.

The jockey who leads all others here is no other than seven-time winner Lester Piggott. His victories came aboard Right Boy in 1957, Majority Rule in 1963, Swing Easy in 1971, Abergwaun in 1973, Godswalk in 1977, Solinus in 1978 and Never So Bold in 1985. As an indication of how difficult it is for a winning rider to repeat in this race, only one has done so since 1994, that being Olivier Peslier on Dont Worry Me in 1997, followed by a victory aboard Equiano in 2008.

Trainer Vincent O`Brien brought the most winners to the King’s Stand Stakes—five of them—including Abergwaun, Godswalk, and Solinus, along with Cassarate in 1962 and Bluebird in 1987. The only trainer to record two victories since then was Peter Makin with Elbio.

From the track records, it is easy to see what a truly wide open race this can be. The maximum number of horse allowed to compete is 28, which last occurred in 2006. In 2007, the field dropped to 20 starters, and since then the numbers have been 13, 15, and 12. But that doesn’t mean the outcome has become more certain. Equiano paid 22/1 in 2008. Before that, many horses delivered double-digit rewards. It is not an easy race to handicap at all.

One of the challenges for riders and their mounts is the gradual rise of the course throughout the race from start to finish. Sprinters accustomed to running on flat surfaces may expend too much effort in the early going and fade. The roles played by strength and endurance can not be overemphasized. Although it is a short distance, they are factors equal in importance to sheer speed.

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