A race that is limited to fillies, as the name suggests, the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap is run over seven furlongs and 213 yards. As a race, it tends to boast a big field, meaning that there will often be horses of all sorts of prices. It was only added to the roster in 2021, being run as the last race on the Wednesday of Royal Ascot week. One of the youngest races of the meeting, it is run on the round course and is named in honour of Kensington Palace, one of the Royal households. It is usually a very open race, thanks to both the field size and the participants.
Despite the fact that its name says it is a race for fillies, it is actually for female horses aged four and over. That being said, it is more appealing to four-year-olds, with a couple of the outings so far seeing no other aged horse taking part in the event. The horses need to have a rating between 0 and 105, at which point the handicapper will decide how much weight they’ll carry in order to make it as fair as possible. This is one of those races where it is worth having a look at the stall that the horse that you’re thinking of betting on is running from, based on the history of the winners.
This is a young race by Royal Ascot standards. First run in 2021, it is one of the youngest of the entire meeting, so the information available about it is somewhat limited. At the time of writing, we can look back at just three iterations of the event to tell you what happened, so it’s fairly clear that more information will become available as the years pass. Whilst we’ll tell you what we can, it is always worth doing as much research of your own as you can in order to ensure that you’re not missing any of the important trends of the race that we’ve been unable to highlight for you here.
One of the things that we can tell you about is Kensington Palace, which is what the race is named after. It is a Royal residence and is set in Kensington Gardens, which is located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has been one of the residences used by the Royal Family since the 17th century, often housing several members of the Royal Family. At the time of writing, for example, it is where the Prince and Princess of Wales live, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
With such strong Royal ties, therefore, it is hardly surprising that the residence’s name was used for one of the races that is run during the week of Royal Ascot. There are all sorts of other races that have also been named after things far more tangentially linked to the Royal Family than one of the places in which many of them live. Other than the fact that it is one of the Royal residences, there isn’t much more of a tie to horses racing for the modern day Palace. There is a building called the Old Stables on-site, though, suggesting horses might have been kept there once.
About The Race
The Kensington Palace Fillies’ Stakes is a handicap event. That means that the handicapper is responsible for deciding how much weight each of the horses should carry, with the logic being that the better horses should carry more weight in order to make it a fairer race. Theoretically, the horses would all cross the finish line at the same time, though obviously that has never happened. There are all sorts of reasons why they might not do so when it comes to the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Stakes, with one of them being the fact that it tends to boast a field of up to 20 horses.
Limited to female horses and with an age preference of four and over, the race asks the horses to have an official rating of between 0 and 105. The rather open nature of the race means that it has been a better one for the bookmakers than the punters in the years that is has been run so far. The inaugural winner was a 12/1 offering, whilst the horse that came in first in 2022 was a 40/1 outsider. In 2023 that dropped to 25/1, which was still relatively long odds and enough to make the bookies happier than the bettors, unless said bettors happen to have bet on the winner.
Despite the age rules of the race, all three of the winners in 2021, 2022 and 2023 were four, which is obviously suggestive of a race that favours younger, faster horses. The weight that the three carried also doesn’t tell us much, with Lola Showgirl having 8-2 on board compared to the 9-1 that Rising Star was asked to take. Villanova Queen for Jessica Harrington had 9-10 to carry and yet still managed to make it home first. With about 20 runners tending to take to the turf, this is a race that is often wide open and therefore all the more exciting because of the lack of predictability.
Given the relative youth of the event, there isn’t as much to say about it as there is some of the other races that you can bet on during the week of Royal Ascot. That being said, the following is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning on placing a wager on the event and are considering what the horses might do:
It Takes About A Minute & 40
In 2022, when the race was run for the second time, the top three horses had run out of the stalls that were 17+. That isn’t necessarily something to think too much about, considering Lola Showgirl was in stall 10 and Villanova Queen came out of stall 8, so what else can you think about?
In the three renewals that we’ve seen so far, no horse has taken longer than 1 minute and 42 seconds to get over the finish line, so you can expect the winners to be there in just over a minute and a half. It is worth looking at which horses have been able to run at that sort of pace.
Named in honour of the residence where members of the Royal Family live in London, the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Stakes has a slightly misleading name, insomuch as it is open to female horses aged four and over. They run just over seven furlongs on the round course at Ascot, which usually takes the winner about one minute and 40 seconds to complete. If you’re looking for an event to bet on that might just see a long-odds winner make it home, this could be the race for you, with winners having odds of 12/1, 25/1 and 40/1, well and truly favouring the bookmakers.
Only added to the Royal Ascot roster in 2021, this is one of the youngest races that is run during the week of the meeting. It is scheduled to take place on the Wednesday and was the last race of the day during its first running. The key thing to remember about the event is that it is a handicap race, which means that it is the official handicapper who decides the weight that each horse must carry, using their official rating as the yardstick to judge it by. The horses themselves need to have an official rating of between 0 and 105 in order to take part in the race, having weights assigned accordingly.