The Chesham Stakes is a Listed race that is run on the straight over seven furlongs. It is limited to two-year-old, but in order to qualify for the race they need to have been sired by a horse that has won a race with a distance of one mile and two furlongs or longer. It is named in honour of the 3rd Baron of Chesham, who was the last Master of the Buckhounds. It was first run in 1919 when it was contested over five furlongs, replacing a race that had previously been run at Ascot. For a time, it was run over six furlongs but was extended to its current length in 1996.
At the time of writing, the race is the opening race of the final day of the Royal Ascot meeting, which was added to the calendar in 2002 in order to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. The weight information for the race is nine stone and three pounds, with fillies given a five pound allowance. Any horse that has won a Group race receives a penalty of five pounds, whilst those that have won a Listed event get a penalty of three pounds. Lester Piggott, a name associated with many races at Ascot, won the Chesham Stakes seven times between 1960 and 1982.
Charles Compton William Cavendish was the 3rd Baron Chesham and was born on the 13th of December 1850. A member of the Cavendish family, which was headed by the Duke of Devonshire, he was the eldest son of William Cavendish, 2nd Baron of Chesham. When his father died in 1882, Charles took his father’s seat in the House of Lords and in November of 1900 he was appointed to the role of the Master of the Buckhounds under Lord Salisbury. Chesham was serving in South Africa at the time, so Lord Churchill was appointed to cover the role in his absence.
The office of Master of the Buckhounds was abolished in 1901, meaning that Charles Cavendish was the last person to official hold the position. He was admitted to the Privy Council instead, serving as the Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales until his death in 1907. As with many races in the week of Royal Ascot, the link between the person that the race is named in honour of and the Royal Family is tangential at best. That is exactly what has proven to be the case with the Chesham Stakes, named after Charles Cavendish simply because he was once Master of the Buckhounds.
The fact that he barely carried out the role on account of the fact that he was serving in South Africa is neither here nor there as far as those tasked with naming the races are concerned. It might well have been better served being called the Lester Piggott Stakes, given the jockey’s success in it. When it was brought in, it replaced an event that was the first leg of the Triennial Stakes. What sets the event apart from other races that are run over seven furlongs and limited to horses aged two is that the qualifying criteria says that the horses entering have to be sired by stallions who have won over ten furlongs or longer.
About The Race
The modern version of the race is considered to have been run from 1986, which is why Lester Piggott’s seven wins between 1960 and 1982 aren’t considered when it comes to the records attached to the event. As a result, the five wins that Ryan Moore notched up between his win on Maybe in 2011 and his victory thanks to Point Lonsdale in 2021 help him to stand out from the crowd. All of those wins came courtesy of the training of Aidan O’Brien, who also won with Bach in 1999 in order to put himself in the record books thanks to his six victories during that time period.
Whilst Ryan Moore is the most successful jockey of the modern era, he isn’t the only one that won the race more than once. Frankie Dettori, who is beloved of Royal Ascot crowds, notched up four wins of his own, whilst Steve Cauthen, Richard Hughes, Richard Hills, John Reid and Greville Starkey all ended up first past the post twice between 1984 and 2023. Similarly, trainers such as Saeed bin Suroor, Richard Hannon Senior and John Gosden are amongst those that have managed multiple wins as trainer during their careers, thanks to the ability of their horses.
Between 2012 and 2023, four of the 12 winners were the favourites at the start of the race. Of those 12 winners, 11 of them had their last run in the previous 36 days, whilst seven of them actually won the race that they ran in prior to taking part in the Chesham Stakes. In terms of what to expect after the race, it is worth bearing in mind that seven of those 12 winners won their next race after their success in the Chesham Stakes, which is interesting. Four of them ran in the Vintage Stakes, with half of them winning that race that takes place at Goodwood.
We have obviously already looked at some of the trivia surrounding the race, but there is some other information that we can give you here:
The Race Will Last About A Minute & A Half
Between 1984 and 2023, the race was run 40 times. The fastest running of the event during that time was 1:13.63, which was managed by Minstrella in 1986. The longest that it has taken a horse to win the event was 1:32.84, which was how long Frankie Dettori took to get Rhapsodist around in 1998.
Generally speaking, you should expect it to take somewhere over a minute and 20 seconds for the winner to make it home, with 29 horses taking at least that long to finish the event. York was a good venue to run the race at in 2005, given it took Championship Point 1:24.14 to win the race.
Named in honour of the last person to hold the post of the Master of the Buckhounds, Charles Compton William Cavendish, the Chesham Stakes has been taking place at Ascot since 1919. It has unusual qualification criteria, given that the horse has to have been sired by a stallion who had won a race of more than ten furlongs in length in order to be able to take part. It is run over seven furlongs on the straight and is limited to horses aged two that meet the aforementioned criteria. The weight is nine stone and three pounds, with five pound allowances given to fillies.
Horses that have won a Group event prior to taking part in the Chesham Stakes are given a penalty of five pounds, whilst those that have won a Listed race receive a three pound penalty. It was run over five furlongs when it was first introduced to Ascot, replacing the first leg of the Triennial Stakes, then for a time it took place over six furlongs. The seven furlongs length was introduced in 1996, which it has remained at ever since. At the time of writing, the Chesham Stakes is the opening race of the final day of the Royal Ascot meeting, which was added to the roster in 2002.