Not to be confused with the Palace House Stakes, which is an event run over five furlongs at Newmarket, the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes is run over the same distance but takes place at Ascot during the Royal week. A handicap event, it asks the official handicapper to assign weights to the horses depending on their ability. It was one of several races that was added to the race card in 2020, which was when extra races were added to the Royal Ascot meeting in order to give horses and jockeys extra chances to run in a difficult year, initially on a temporary basis before remaining.
Named after The Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is often referred to as either Holyrood Palace or simply Holyroodhouse, the race is limited to three-year-olds. Run over five furlongs, it often sees a decent-sized field taking part, whilst the leaders tend to make it the finish line after about about a minute. Horses that are running in the event need to have an official handicap rating of between 0 and 105, with the race itself scheduled to take place on the Friday the Royal meeting. It is a competitive sprinting event, with the age of the participants adding to their ability to run at speed.
Given the fact that the race was only added to the Royal Ascot meeting in 2020, it is far to say that it is one of the youngest events run during the week. It was added, along with a number of others, in order to give both horses and jockeys the chance to get a run out after a season in which their chances of doing so were limited thanks to the global health crisis that was occurring at the time and resulted in horses racing being temporarily halted. As with the others, it is a handicap race, requiring the official handicapper to dictate the weights carried by the horses.
It is named after Holyrood Palace, which can be found at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It is at the opposite end of the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle and has served as the principal residence for Royals in Scotland since the 16th century. It is where state occasions and any official entertaining that needs to take place happens, having originated as a guest house for Holyrood Abbey. It is this link to the Royal Family that is the reason for the residence to have its name used for one of the races run during the week of Royal Ascot, in spite of the lack of a link to horses.
Unlike some other races that were added in 2020, there is no gender information at play for this event. Instead, horses of either gender can run in it and in the inaugural season the fillies did well. Although they were out-numbered two-to-one by male horses, fillies finished second, third, fourth and fifth. There is no particularly obvious reason why that might be the case, except for the relative youth and inexperience of all of the participants likely contributing to it. Interestingly, the first two winners of the race were trained by trainers who were based in the north of England.
About The Race
When it comes to betting on races during the week of Royal Ascot, it is often difficult to know whether it is going to be the bookmakers or the bettors who are happier once the dust has settled. That is made clear by the history of the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes, which was won by the 6/4 favourite during the inaugural meeting before a 10/1 outside won it the year after. In 2022, the winners was the 5/1 second-favourite, which some might be tempted to call a draw, before Hollie Doyle took 12/1 Rhythm N Hooves to victory in 2023 to add confusion to proceedings.
In terms of what the official handicapper has asked the horses to carry, that doesn’t make it much clearer. Art Power had 9-0 on his back, whilst Significantly was asked to carry 9-1 and Latin Lover had 8-2. Rhythm N Hooves carried 8-8, so it is nearer nine stone for most of the winners to date. They were rated 97, 92, 84 and 87 respectively, so not even that paints a particularly clear picture about what you can expect from the race. At the time of writing, no trainer has won the event more than once and neither have any of the jockeys, with two females winning it out of the four.
The relative youth of the race means that there isn’t loads to tell you about it. That means that you would be well-served to do your own research to check whether there are any trends that have formed in the years since the event’s first outing. One of the things we do know is that it takes about a minute for the leaders to make it to the finish line, with the fastest running at the time of writing happening in 2022 when Latin Lover, the Irish horses, made it across the line in 59.56 seconds. The longest was 1:02.75 seconds for Significantly a year later, which is interesting.
Despite the race’s youth, there is something interesting we can tell you in addition to the speed it takes horses to make it to the finish line:
Look At The Stalls
Flat races tend to start in stalls, which can lead to suggestions of stall bias. Obviously we don’t have loads of information to work with at this stage in proceedings, but there is enough to mean that we can lead you in the right direction and you can have a look from there. The first winner of the race, Art Power, ran out of stall 19, with the second winner coming out of stall 24.
The third victor, Latin Lover, is the exception to the rule, having run out of stall 11. The following year, however, it was back to the high numbered stalls when Rhythm N Hooves won out of stall 25.
Added to Royal Ascot in 2020 as a result of the decision to give jockeys and horses another chance to run after the health crisis of the time had stopped racing for a period, the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes is an event for horses aged three. It is a handicap race, with the official handicapper assigning weights for the entrants to carry in order to try to make it fairer. The horses need to have an official rating of between 0 and 105 in order to take part in in the event, which tends to last for around a minute before the leaders will make it to the finish line.
The race is named after Holyrood Palace, which is located in Edinburgh at the opposite end of the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. It is the official residence of the Royal Family when in Scotland, which was seen as reason enough for it to see its name given to one of the events that is run during the week of Royal Ascot. It is one of the events run during the Royal meeting that tends to be quite open, thanks largely to the fact that it often attracts a large field of competitors. In terms of the stalls, most of the early winners of the race ran out of the higher stall numbers.