The Queen Alexandra Stakes is run tight-handed over two miles, five furlongs and 143 yards. It is for horses aged four and over and has specific weight information attached. At one time, it was the longest professional flat race run anywhere in the world, eventually being usurped by Australia’s Jericho Cup, which is run at the Warrnambool. It is named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark and was run for the first time in 1864, when it was known as the Alexandra Plate. It later got re-named to be the Alexandra Stakes and has born its current moniker since 1931.
There is something interesting about the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is that it is, at the time of writing, scheduled to be the final race of the entire Royal Ascot meeting. As a result, some owners and trainers feel that their horses are sufficiently recovered from the Ascot Stakes, run on the first day of the meeting, to take part in this race. Several have won both races in the same year, with the most recent being Simenon in 2012. Though no longer the world’s longest flat race, it is the longest flat race in the United Kingdom, being run over 21 yards more than Pontefract’s Marathon Handicap.
Britain’s longest professional flat race, the Queen Alexandra Stakes is named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark. Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia, to give her her full name, was married to King-Emperor Edward VII and therefore Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions as well as the Empress of India from 1901 to 1910. Her family had actually been quite obscure until 1852, which was when her father was chosen to succeed as the King of Denmark. She was chosen as the future wife of the then-Prince of Wales at the age of 16.
That obviously proves her credentials to have a race named after her at Royal Ascot, given the level of some of the other people who have races named after them during the meeting. Originally run in 1864, in the past it has been contested over two miles, six furlongs and 34 yards, but was shortened in 2005 when Ascot was redeveloped and the track was realigned. The most successful horse in the race’s history is easily Brown Jack, who won it six times in a row between 1929 and 1934. Interestingly, the race’s most successful jockey never rode him during that time.
Ryan Moore enjoyed his first win in the race on Bergo in 2010, with another four following that up to Dawn Rising in 2023 to cement his place in the record books. Similarly, two trainers have notched up four wins apiece in the race without any of them being thanks to Brown Jack. Between winning with Grey of Falloden in 1965 and getting two wins back-to-back with Cuff Link in 1994 and 1995, Dick Hern might have the longest gap between first and last winners. Willie Mullins, meanwhile, got his first win in the race thanks to Simenon in 2012 and then also managed consecutive wins with Stratum in 2021 and 2022.
About The Race
The nature of the Queen Alexandra Stakes being the country’s longest flat race means that it often attracts talented jump racing horses, who tend to have a touch more stamina about them. That is why Willie Mullins’ name features on the list of the best trainers, given the fact that he is more commonly thought of as being a jump race trainer. Others like Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson have also seen their horses win the race over the years. The weight information that is in play for the horses running in this race is as follows:
- 4-year-olds: 9 stone 0 pounds
- 5-year-olds+: 9 stone 2 pounds
- Fillies & mares are given a 5 pound allowance
- Class 1 race winners receive a 5 pound penalty
- Class 2 race winners receive a 3 pound penalty
- The penalties exclude handicap races and are cumulative to a max of ten pounds
Between 2012 and 2023, the race took place 12 times and 11 of the winners were aged six or over. That is thanks to the increased stamina needed to be able to compete successfully in the race, with only three of those winners being the favourite. Interestingly, only one of those 12 winners won their last race before taking part in this event, but nine out of the 12 enjoyed a run out within the previous 57 days. In terms of their experience of Ascot, eight of the 12 winners had taken part in at least two races at the course before running in this one, with five of the 12 having won at the venue.
In terms of what came after this race for the horses that have enjoyed a victory in it, five of the 12 we’re looking at took part in the Goodwood Cup on their next run, but none of them even managed to place, let alone win it. Of the 12 horses in question, 11 of them took place in at least one other race before the season ended but none of them won a race and only two of them managed to place. That might have more to do with the fact that many of them will have been jump racing horses than flat racing ones, but it is worth bearing in mind nevertheless.
We have obviously given you a fair bit of trivia about the event already, but there is more to tell you if you’re interested. One thing worth thinking about when it comes to your bets, for example, is the fact that eight out of the 12 horses that won the Queen Alexandra Stakes between 2012 and 2023 were trained by National Hunt trainers.
Here is some of the other fascinating stuff:
Age Is Just A Number
It is a slightly trite thing to say, but when it comes to the winner of the race it is maybe not as important how old they are as how well they tend to be able to run. The race was run 47 times between 1977 and 2023, with one of them taking place at York when Ascot was closed for refurbishment. Of those 47 races, the winner was four-years old 14 times, was five on 11 occasions, six nine times and seven six times. There was also three eight-year-old winners, the same number of nine-year-olds that won and even a 12-year-old in 2009’s Caracciola.
Expect A Long Race
Details about the length of time that it took horses to complete the race have been kept since 1986. The quickest that the race has been run during that time was a little over four minutes and 45 seconds, which is how long it took Pallasator to win it in 2018. Oriental Fox wasn’t far behind in 2015. The longest amount of time it has taken for a winner to get across the finish line, meanwhile, is 5:21.58, which is how long Sprowston Boy took to get over the finish line in 1987. In more modern times, Swingkeel won the race with a time of 5:02.73 in 2011.
Named in honour of the wife of King Edward VII, the Queen Alexandra Stakes is the longest handicap flat race that is run in the United Kingdom and was the longest in the world at one time. The length of the race tends to attract horses with exceptional stamina, which is why so many National Hunt trainers have enjoyed success in it in recent years. Names like Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott have featured in the winners’ enclosure, proving that it isn’t just flat racing trainers that can win during the week of Royal Ascot, even if they do so most of the time.
The race is run over two miles, five furlongs and 143 yards, taking as long as five minutes or so for the leaders to make it to the finish line. There is different weight information at play depending on the age and gender of the horse, as well as their success in other flat races previously. No horse has won the event more times than the six occasions that Brown Jack enjoyed success, whilst Ryan Moore is the race’s leading jockey. Trainer-wise, both Dick Hern and Willie Mullins have enjoyed numerous successes.