The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes is the final Group 1 race of the Royal Ascot meeting. First run in 1868, it is for horses aged four and over, though that is complicated slightly on account of the fact that three-year-olds foaled in the southern hemisphere can also enter. Run over six furlongs, it boasts weight information of nine stone and three pound, with fillies and mares given a three pound allowance. It was a Group 1 race when the current racing classification came in in 1971, being moved to become a Group 2 event in 1998 and took on the Group 1 title in 2002.
Originally known as the All-Aged Stakes, it was, as the name suggests, open to three-year-olds as well as older horses during its more formative years. That changed in 2015 when it was restricted to four-year-olds and over. That was thanks to the introduction of another Group 1 event run at Ascot, the Commonwealth Cup, that year. The became the Cork and Orrery Stakes in 1926 to honour the ninth Earl Cork, who was the Master of the Buckhounds during the 19th century. The race has been renamed several times in order to commemorate the various Jubilee’s of Queen Elizabeth II.
If you head to Cheltenham Racecourse during Royal Ascot week, you’re going to come across a fair few races that have gained their name on account of the fact that they are linked in some way or another to the British Royal Family. The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes is no exception, although it wasn’t originally named in honour of any Royals. Instead, it took its moniker from the fact that it was open to horses of any age, hence its title of the All-Aged Stakes. That changed when it was renamed in order to honour the ninth Earl of Cork, who had served as the Master of the Buckhounds during the 19th century.
That saw it become the Cork and Orrery Stakes, but in 2002 it was given the title of the Golden Jubilee Stakes, which was also when it became a Group 1 offering. Ten years later and there was another jubilee so another new name, with the race becoming the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. A decade on and another new name was needed when the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. In 2023, at the first Royal Ascot after the Queen’s passing, it took on its present title in order to honour her life whilst also keeping the connection to the jubilees that she celebrated over the years.
When the Global Sprint Challenge was created in 2005, the race was added to the list of six events in the series. One of the other events in the series is the King’s Stand Stakes, which is also run at Ascot Racecourse. Limited to fillies and mares, the race takes place over six furlongs and takes place on the final day of the Royal Ascot meeting. There was a need to offer some sort of restriction to the race when the Commonwealth Cup was created in 2015, which is the point at which three-year-olds could no longer take part in it unless they are from the southern hemisphere.
About The Race
The fact that the race has been taking place for so long and is also open to horses aged four and open, to say nothing of the period of time in which it was also one that three-year-olds could run in, means that a few horses have won it more than once. Whilst no horse has yet managed it since the present system of grading races came in, quite a few did during the race’s early years. There was a five year period between 1872 and 1876 in which just two horses were able to win the race, with Lowlander doing so twice in 1875 and 1876 following three successive wins by Prince Charlie.
That performance from Prince Charlie is a record, with horses such as Whitefriar, Hornet’s Beauty and Hamlet all managing to get two wins on the board. Right Boy also got a back-to-back double in 1958 and 1959, which is the last time the same horse won it twice in succession at the time of writing. It might haver happened during the 1915-1918 period or from 1940-1945, but there was no race run during either time owing to the First World War and then the Second World War, when racing was suspended at Ascot. Vincent O’Brien is the most successful trainer, thanks to five wins.
They came courtesy of Welsh Saint in 1970, which was his first victory in the event, then Saritamer, Swingtime, Thatching and finally College Chapel in 1993. All five wins came thanks to the riding of Lester Piggott, who is the record-holding jockey for the race, as with so many others on the flat. He was the rider on Right Boy for those two wins, also taking victories on Tin Whistle, El Gallo and Mountain Call for ten wins during his career. Interestingly, the leading owners have only had three victories, meaning Joseph Dawson is on the list for Prince Charlie whilst Jack Joel got a double with Hamlet on top of Sunflower II’s win.
Having been taking place since 1868, with just a couple of breaks for the two World Wars, it is hardly a surprise that the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes has some interesting trivia attached to it. Here is a look at bits you might like to know:
Timings Are Pretty Consistent
When it comes to how quickly the race is completely, the timings tend to be quite consistent. If it’s taking longer than one minute 13 seconds then it is a slow running. Between 2014 and 2023, for example, that was only the case on three occasions. It is why the 1993 running stands out so much, with College Chapel taking 1:19.15 to get over the finish line. The quickest ever running of the event came in 2005 when Cape of Good Hope came home in 1:08.58. There were was barely a second in it between The Tin Man’s win at 1:12.02 in 2017 and the 1:12.09 that Merchant Navy completed the race in the year after.
Keep Your Eye On The Four-Year-Olds
There has been a decent spread of winning ages across the years, with many three-year-olds winning it. That is both before the move to limit it to horses aged four and over and after, on account of the fact that three-year-olds from the southern hemisphere are allowed to take part in the event. Whilst seven-year-olds have managed to get a win, including the wins for Dream of Dreams in 2021 and Khaadem in 2023, plus some wins for five and six-year-olds, the truth is that it is a race that is dominated by four-year-olds in the modern era of the race, so they’re the ones to watch.
The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes is a prestigious Group 1 race with a rich history dating back to 1868. It is open to horses aged four and older, with the exception of three-year-olds foaled in the southern hemisphere. The race covers a distance of six furlongs and carries a weight of nine stone and three pounds, with fillies and mares given a three-pound allowance. Over the years, the race has undergone several name changes to commemorate the various jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II. It was initially known as the All-Aged Stakes and later became the Cork and Orrery Stakes.
It was renamed as the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2002, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2012 and finally the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes in 2023. The race has witnessed notable performances from horses such as Prince Charlie, who holds the record for consecutive wins, and Right Boy, the last horse to win the race twice in a row. Legendary jockey Lester Piggott achieved great success in the race, whilst trainer Vincent O’Brien holds the record for the most victories. In recent years, the race has primarily been dominated by four-year-olds, although horses of different ages have achieved success.