Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Betting

The QIPCO British Champions Series, newly inaugurated in 2011, has brought some big changes to British flat racing. It links 35 premier events in a series that extends over the course of the season and culminates in a £3 million finale—British Champions Day at Ascot in mid-October. That is when the champions will be crowned in five categories: Sprint, Mile, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Fillies and Mares.

As part of this new wrinkle, Ascot’s famed Queen Elizabeth II Stakes has been moved from its traditional fixture in late September to the climactic October meeting. Joining this well-established mile-long event are the Diadem Stakes (being renamed the British Champions Sprint Stakes), the Jockey Club Cup (now the British Champions Long Distance Cup), the Pride Stakes (now the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes) and the mile-and-a-quarter Champion Stakes for all ages. A valuable Handicap will be conducted as well.

Officials at Ascot make no apologies for the realignment of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Their goal is to put British Champions Day on par with the Breeders’ Cup and France’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. Having what is arguably the world’s most prestigious mile event as part of it was never a question. In fact, they have upped the race’s prize purse from its previous high of £250,000 to a neat £1 million.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes was inaugurated in 1955 and named in honour of the latest royal monarch. It was preceded by a similar race at Ascot, which was known as the Knights Royal Stakes. French-trained mounts claimed the first three runnings of the “QEII,” before Major Portion won for Great Britain in 1958. Perhaps the best-remembered winner of those early years was the American stallion Hill Rise, whose victory in 1966 capped the year in which he was named the U.K.’s Champion Miler.

In 1971, when the current race grading system was introduced, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes was given Group 2 status. It became a Group 1 event in 1987. In 2002, NetJets backed the event as its untitled sponsor, succeeded Barclays and Sony. In 2008, the race joined the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, giving the winner an automatic invitation to the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.

As a one-mile flat race conducted over the right-handed turf of the Ascot Racecourse, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards. The youngest runners carry eight stone thirteen pounds, while those aged four and older bear nine-stone-three. There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares.

In the history of this challenging mile, two horses have managed back-to-back wins. Brigadier Gerard did it first in 1971-72, followed by Rose Bowl in 1975-76. No runner has managed two wins in all of the years since.

Among jockeys, Rose Bowl’s pilot Willie Carson holds the record for victories with eight. He continued winning in 1977 on Trusted and 1978 on Homing. His other four wins were aboard Known Fact in 1980, Teleprompter in 1984, Lahib in 1992 and Bahri in 1995.

The leader among trainers in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is Saeed bin Suroor. He has five wins so far and shows no sign of letting up, starting his success with Mark of Esteem in 1996, followed by Dubai Millennium in 1999, Summoner in 2001, Ramonti in 2007 and most recently Poet`s Voice in 2010. All five of his winners came from the stables of Godolphin, and all but Summoner had Frankie Dettori in the saddle.

Apart from watching the form of milers in the six British Champions Series races leading up to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, bettors will want to look for entries trained by Aiden O’Brien. The Irish specialist brought two recent winners to Ascot—George Washington in 2006 and Rip Van winkle in 2009. The latter went on to win the Juddmonte International Stakes in 2010.

One other oddity to take note of is the recent shift in the ages of the winners here. From 1988 to 2002, every single one of the winners was either three or four years old. But in the most recent eight runnings, four victors were age five and the other four were age three—not a four-year-old among them.

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