Run over a distance of seven furlongs, the Buckingham Palace Stakes sites alongside the likes of the Albany Stakes as being a relatively young event, having only been part of Royal Ascot since 2002. In terms of actual runnings of the event, it is even younger when you consider that it was removed from the line-up of the meeting in 2014 before returning in 2020. As a result, there is much less to tell you about the event than many of the others that are run during the week, albeit still with plenty of interesting information to give you for you to make your judgements with.
The race was added to the roster when the Royal Ascot meeting was expanded to be over five days in 2002, done in order to honour the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It was named after the London residence of the monarch, ensuring the link to the Royal Family that so many of the races run during the meeting have. A handicap race, it is open to horses aged three and over. In spite of this fact, no horse has won it more than once at the time of writing, although the same can’t be said when it comes to both the jockeys riding the horses and the people training them.
In 2002, Royal Ascot decided to add a fifth day to the meeting in order to honour the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. When that happened, there was obviously a need to add more races to the course of proceedings, with some of them being races that were moved from other meetings and others being created just for the expansion. The Buckingham Palace Stakes falls into the latter category, being given its moniker as a clear representation of the link between the Royal Family and the racecourse, given the fact that it where the monarch lives when in London.
It took place for 12 years without pause, including in 2005 when the Royal Ascot Meeting was moved to York on account of the fact that Ascot Racecourse was undergoing massive redevelopment. That remained the race until 2014, which was the last running of it before the Jockey Club decided to drop it from the meeting. It was replaced by the Commonwealth Cup, which was a new Group 1 race. Sporting Life said about the decision to drop it that it was ‘a mistake,’ given that it was the only handicap race at the meeting that was run over seven furlongs.
In 2020, the Royal Ascot programme was expanded in the wake of the 10-week suspension of racing that occurred at the time because of the global health crisis. It was intended to be a one-off return for the Buckingham Palace Stakes, but another coincidence was to help it out just as the addition of the fifth day did originally. It was decided that Royal Ascot should expand from having six races a day to having seven, meaning that more races were needed and allowing the Buckingham Palace Stakes to remain as part of the programme, which is still the case now.
About The Race
Given that it is a handicap, we know that the weight carried by each horse will depend on what the handicapper thinks of them and their ability, with the aim being to ensure that all horses are relatively equal. The weight carried by the winner ranges from eight stone five pounds in 2004 through to nine stone 12 pounds in 2003, for example. We can have a sense of what the handicapper is likely to ask each horse to carry before the race, which is important to bear in mind before you look to place your wagers given how big a difference it can make to the outcome.
No horse has won the race more than once, in spite of the fact that it is open to those aged three and over, meaning that previous winners can return to race it again. The same isn’t true of jockeys, though. At the time of writing, Neil Callan’s back-to-back wins in 2012 and 2013, which came after his first win in 2006, mean that he is the most successful of the riders at the time of writing. When it comes to trainers, though, there are two that have notched up double wins of he event. Kevin Ryan won in both 2006 and 2013, whilst Richard Hannon Junior managed it in 2020 and 2023.
Between 2009 and 2023, the race took place ten times and none of the winners were the favourite. In fact, horses with odds as long as 33/1 and 50/1 enjoyed success in the event during that period. In terms of the ages of the winners, they also varied significantly during the same time period. There were three four-year-old victors, the same number of six-year-olds as well as two five-year-olds and one three-year-old, suggestion that it isn’t so much about the age of the horse nor the weight they carry as it is the ability to cope with a field that is normally quite large.
Given the fact that the race is quite young, compared to most of the events that take place during the week of Royal Ascot, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t a huge amount that we can tell you about it when it comes to trivia. On that front, you’re not exactly right:
Anything Longer Than A Minute & A Half Is Unlikely
The quickest that the race has ever been run was 1:22.53, but that was in 2005 when, along with the rest of the Royal Ascot meeting, the event took place at York because Ascot was being developed. As a result, the quickest running of the race at its usual home was 1:25.90, which was managed by Treadwell in 2010.
The likes of the Going can be influential to the timings, but the slowest that a winner has made it across the finish line at the time of writing is 1:29.71, achieved by Manassas a year after Treadwell’s speedy victory. Anything over a minute and a half, therefore, suggests a slow race.
First introduced to Royal Ascot in 2002 when the meeting was extended to add a fifth day, the Buckingham Palace Stakes is a handicap event that is run over seven furlongs. It was removed from the meeting in the wake of the 2014 renewal, being brought back on a temporary basis in 2020 when racing was allowed to resume following the global health crisis. In 2021, however, it was decided that temporary would become permanent following the decision to add a seventh race to each day of the Royal Ascot meeting. It has remained in place since, which is unlikely to change.
Open to horses aged three and over, the Buckingham Palace Stakes has yet to be won by the same horse more than once. The same isn’t true of jockeys or trainers, however, whilst the age of the winner varied significantly during the ten times that the event took place between 2009 and 2023. You can expect long-odds horses to do well in this race, if for no other reason than the large field that normally takes part in it makes it difficult for any one horse to take command. In 2014, for example, the winner took the prize with odds of 33/1, whilst it was 50/1 in 2023.