There aren’t many events run during the week of Royal Ascot that don’t tend to have the word ‘Stakes’ in them, but this is one. Run over one mile, six furlongs and 34 yards, it was established in 1838 and is run right-handed on the Ascot course. Nowadays, the race is limited to three-year-olds, with the weight information in place being as follows:
- Weight: 9 stone 2 pounds
- Fillies given a 3 pound allowance
- Group 1 winners given a penalty of 3 pounds
When it was first run, the race took place over two miles and the trophy given to the winner was a gold vase that had been donated by Queen Victoria. That is obviously where the race gets its name from, although it was changed to become the King’s Vase in 1903 before reverting to have its current title in 1960. Whilst it is limited the three-year-olds nowadays, a decision was taken to open it to horses of any age in 1840, not being restricted back to its current age profile until 1987. It is run on the second day of the Royal Ascot meeting and is one of three perpetual trophies contested during the week.
When the present grading system was introduced in 1971, the Queen’s Vase was given Group 3 status. In 1986, the race was relegated to become a Listed event, being restricted to three-year-olds a year later. In 1991 the race returned to being a Group 3 event, but in 2014 it was once again considered to be a Listed race. In 2017, the European Pattern Committee was keen to recognised the importance of staying flat races across the calendar. As a result, the Queen’s Vase was upgraded to become a Group 2 event, which it has remained ever since.
Interestingly, alongside the move to upgrade it to become a Group 2 race, the European Pattern Committee also decided to change the event’s distance. Having been run over two miles throughout its existence, the race was cut back to be run over one mile and six furlongs. There are only three perpetual trophies that are run during the week of Royal Ascot, meaning that the trophy can be kept permanently by their owners. The Royal Hunt Cup and the Gold Cup are the other two, with the Queen’s Vase rounding off the list and providing an extra reason to want to win it.
In 2013, the race was run with the title of the ‘Queen’s Vase in Memory of Sir Henry Cecil’. That was in order to honour the memory of Sir Henry Cecil, who had trained more winners than anyone else at the Royal Meeting at the time. That included being the winning trainer of the horse that enjoyed success in the Queen’s Vase eight times, which is something we’ll discuss further later on. It was the third name that the event had been run under, having previously been both the Queen’s Vase and the King’s Vase depending on who the monarch was at the time.
About The Race
The list of successful jockeys in this race in the modern era is one that is full of names that horse racing enthusiasts will know well. Willie Carson won it three times, for example, as did Frankie Dettori, Steve Cauthen and Michael Kinane. Kevin Darley won it four times, but Ryan Moore is the most successful jockey of the modern era thanks to five wins between 2008 and 2020. Even so, it is George Fordham who goes down in the history books as the race’s most successful rider, winning the event on six occasions between his first win on Arsenal in 1857 and his last on Tristan in 1882.
As mentioned earlier, Henry Cecil won the race eight times as a trainer. His first win came on the back of Falkland in 1972, then he enjoyed victory with General Ironside in 1976, Le Moss two years later, Arden in 1987, River God three years after that, Jendali the following year, Stelvio in 1995 and then finally thanks to Endorsement in 1999. Mark Johnston enjoyed seven wins between 2001 and 2011, which is the same number racked up by Aidan O’Brien between 2007 and 2020, so it’s entirely possible that Cecil’s record doesn’t last all that long.
Whilst the Queen’s Vase isn’t the oldest race run during the week of Royal Ascot, it is certainly old enough to mean that it boasts some interesting trivia. It is limited to three-year-olds nowadays, for example, but there wasn’t always such a limit in place. As a result, Bachelor’s Button won the event twice in 1904 and 1905. That is the only horse to have won the event more than once, which is an interesting tidbit. Here is some other interesting trivia:
There Is A Wide-Range Of Finishing Times
Since records have been kept on the length of time the race takes to be completed, there has been a wide-range of finishes. The quickest it’s ever been completed in was 3:00.89, achieved by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Kew Gardens in 2018. The longest it has taken the winner to make it around the course, meanwhile, is the 3:46.47 that it took Infrasonic to complete in 1993. Of course, that might well have something to do with the fact that the event was shortened to one mile and six furlongs in 2017. Since then, all winners have come in at around the three minute mark.
Look At Form
Between 2012 and 2022, the race saw nine winners that had enjoyed a top-three finish in the last race before being run in this one. Seven of the ten winners had won within their last two starts, showing that form does tend to matter as far as the Queen’s Vase is concerned. Of those ten winners, only three were the favourites for the event itself. As well as looking at the form, you might also want to have a look at their pedigree. From the ten winners, nine of them were by a sire that had a stamina index in excess of one mile and two furlongs, which is worth bearing in mind.
The Queen’s Vase is a Group 2 horse race, that was established in 1838. It has a rich history and strong connections to the British monarchy. The race is run right-handed on the Ascot course over a distance of one mile, six furlongs and 34 yards. The event was originally contested over two miles and the winner was presented with a gold vase donated by Queen Victoria. As a result, it acquired the name ‘The Queen’s Vase,’ symbolising the Queen’s patronage of the race. Today, the Queen’s Vase is exclusively limited to three-year-olds, with a weight requirement of nine stone, two pounds.
Over its long history, the Queen’s Vase has evolved from a Group 3 status in 1971 to becoming a Listed event in 1986, before being restored to its former Group 3 status in 1991. Eventually, recognising the importance of staying flat races, the European Pattern Committee upgraded the race to Group 2 in 2017, a position it holds now. The Queen’s Vase, Royal Hunt Cup and Gold Cup are the only three perpetual trophies contested during the Royal Ascot week. Winners of the Queen’s Vase have the unique honour of keeping the trophy permanently, adding an extra incentive for participants to emerge victorious, were it actually needed.