The link between Royal Ascot and the Royal Family is never far away, as shown by this race that is named in honour of King Edward VII. Is is effectively the equivalent of the Ribblesdale Stakes, in the sense that that race is limited to fillies whilst this one is for colts and geldings. Otherwise, there are a lot of similarities between the two races, including the fact that they are run over the same distance. Both races take place right-handed over one mile, three furlongs and 211 yards and both boast weight information of nine stone, zero pounds, with a three pound penalty for Group 1 race winners.
The race was known as the Ascot Derby when it was established in 1834 and was open to fillies during its formative years. In that sense, that is another thing that it has in common with the Ribblesdale Stakes, which was open to both fillies and colts during its early years. The race was given its current moniker in 1926, done so in order to honour the memory of King Edward VII, who had died 16 years earlier. Typically hosted on the fourth day of the five-day meeting at Royal Ascot, the King Edward VII Stakes is one of several Group 2 races run during the week.
The King Edward VII Stakes was run for the first time in 1834 as the Ascot Derby, which is how the race is referred to sometimes even now. That is in part thanks to the fact that it is seen as the equivalent to the Epsom Derby, run a few weeks before, with some of the horses that entered that race taking part in this one. Equally, horses that do well in it can sometimes be seen in the Irish Derby later in the season. Whilst the Epsom Derby obviously isn’t a trial for this event, it is one that it is worth watching to get a sense of how horses are likely to do in this race.
Sometimes, this is the race that horses are entered into if they failed in their trials for the Epsom Derby, or if they are considered to be too inexperienced for that race by their owners or trainers. As well as the Irish Derby, races such as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Grand Prix de Paris can be targeted by those that do well here. Equally, the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York has been won by horses that have won the King Edward VII Stakes before, with the Great Voltigeur Stakes being one of the trial races for the St. Leger, so there is plenty to be learnt from it.
King Edward VII, after whom the race is named, was born in 1842 and was Prince of Wales for nearly 60 years. He became king in January of 1901, dying a little over nine years later. Whilst it would be untrue to suggest that Edward VII was a long-term lover of horses, the fact that the Royal Family is so closely linked to Ascot meant that it was always likely that he would have a race named after him at the meeting. The re-naming came 16 years after his death, but is yet another sign of the extent to which the Royals are the dominant force at the meeting.
About The Race
When it comes to Royal Ascot, we’re used to seeing names like Frankie Dettori, Willie Carson and Lester Piggott associated with winning events as jockeys. Whilst Dettori and Carson have both won it several times, the most successful jockey in the race is the lesser-known Morny Cannon. He won it seven times between 1891 and 1904, which is more than the four wins managed by William Buick, Joe Mercer and Dettori in the modern era, as well as the five racked up by Pat Eddy between 1974 and 1977 on horses like English Prince and Cacoethes.
Whilst names like , John Gosden, Henry Cecil and Micheal Stoute all appear on the list of the race’s most successful trainers, only the latter two can get close to John Porter in terms of overall wins. Stoute and Cecil are the best trainers of the modern era with seven wins to their names, but Porter managed nine between 1867 and 1904 to cement his place at the top of the list. In terms of crossover, Matchmaker, Conroy, Frontier, Flying Lemur and Darley Dale were ridden by Cannon and trained by Porter, meaning only five of Porter’s nine winners came thanks to the jockey.
Given the fact that the event has been taking place for nearly 200 years, it is not all that surprising that there is a fair bit of interesting trivia that we can tell you about it. Here is a look at the best bits:
Keep An Eye On The Times
Whilst it is not unreasonable to expect colts and geldings to run faster than fillies, this race is similar to the Ribblesdale Stakes when it comes to timings. The quickest that it has been run at the time of writing is 2:27.37, which was managed by Father Time in 2009. The slowest running of the race, meanwhile, occurred in 1973 when Klairvimy won with a time of 2:43.20. It isn’t just because it was decades ago that such a slow time was managed either; in 2021, Alenquer finished first with a winning time of 2:41.31, proving that even modern horses struggle if the Going is tough.
Look Out For Previous Winners
Between 2012 and 2022, all three of the winning horses of the King Edward VII Stakes had won at least one of the previous three starts. At the same time, nine out of those ten winners had yet to win over a distance of one mile and four furlongs prior to their victory hear. Seven out of the ten winners had enjoyed a top-three finish in their previous race. All of those are facts that it’s worth remember when you’re looking up which horse to place a wager on in the build-up to the event getting underway, given that they’re all helpful things to bear in mind for your selections.
The King Edward VII Stakes is a Group 2 horse race at Royal Ascot and was formerly known as the Ascot Derby. The race is named in honour of King Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom from 1901 until his death in 1910. Renamed in 1926, the race celebrates the memory of the late monarch, emphasising the close association between the Royals and the Royal Ascot meeting. Similar to the Ribblesdale Stakes, the King Edward VII Stakes is limited to specific genders; this race is exclusively for colts and geldings, while the Ribblesdale Stakes is reserved for fillies.
Both events run over the same distance of one mile, three furlongs, and 211 yards, with a weight requirement of nine stone, zero pounds, and a three-pound penalty for previous Group 1 race winners. The King Edward VII Stakes was inaugurated in 1834 as the Ascot Derby. For punters seeking insights into race selection, historical trends reveal interesting facts. Between 2012 and 2022, all three winners of the King Edward VII Stakes had won at least one of their previous three starts. Additionally, nine out of ten winners had not won a race over one mile and four furlongs before their victory in this race.