After the thrills of the opening day of Royal Ascot the day before, there is a degree to which a sense of it being a normal day of racing is in place for the second day. It usually gets started with the Queen Mary Stakes, which gets underway about half an hour after the traditional Royal Procession has made its way to the Royal Enclosure.
It is very much a race for those that love to see their horses running at pace, which was typified in 2016 by the performance of Lady Aurelia, who won the race by seven lengths in a performance that absolutely eviscerated the opposition.
There is only one Group 1 race run on the Wednesday of Royal Ascot week, which is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Don’t be too disheartened by that though; it is the most valuable contest of the week and attracts all of the best flat racing horses in the country, whilst the prize money, which has topped £1 million in the past, also brings in the finest horses from the rest of the world.
Just as the day started, so it is as it draws to a close with another race for the fastest horses on the blocks when the penultimate event, the Windsor Castle Stakes, is run before the Kensington Palace Stakes ends proceedings.
All race times indicated below are correct but we all know races rarely go off at the exact time. If races went off at post time or too early the bookies might lose out!
Naturally, the weather is usually glorious for Ascot but heavy downpours are not unheard of that can delay races.
Race 1 - Queen Mary Stakes - 14:30
- Distance: 5f (1006m)
Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary Stakes is a captivating Group 2 horse racing event exclusively for two-year-old fillies. Held on the second day of the prestigious meeting, this five-furlong dash on the straight track offers an exhilarating display of speed and skill from talented young female horses. Established in 1921 and named after Queen Mary, consort of King George V, the Queen Mary Stakes boasts a relatively young history compared to other Royal Ascot races. Renowned jockey Sir Gordon Richards and esteemed trainer Fred Darling have left their mark on the event, with Darling securing an impressive seven victories between 1924 and 1946.
The race’s elevation to Group 2 status in 2004 solidified its significance, attracting top-class fillies and promising emerging stars. Winners of the Queen Mary Stakes have often gone on to achieve greatness in other prestigious races, showcasing the event’s potential to discover future champions. The Queen Mary Stakes is known for its fast-paced nature, with some races being completed in under a minuteThe favourites don’t always win, which is worth berating in mind. Don't miss the thrilling spectacle of the Queen Mary Stakes, where young fillies compete fiercely for glory, making it a race to watch and an experience to remember at the iconic Royal Ascot meeting.
- Horse - Crimson Advocate (9/1)
- Jockey - John R Velazquez
- Trainer - George Weaver
- Overall Prize Money - £113,126
- For The Winner - £65,217
Race 2 - Kensington Palace Fillies' Handicap - 15:05
- Distance: 1m (1609m)
Run over a little over seven furlongs on the round course, the Kensington Palace Fillies' Stakes is a handicap event that is open to female horses aged four and above. The handicap nature of it means that the weights carried by the participants are decided upon by the official handicapper, who uses the horse's rating and form to decide what they should carry. The horses are asked to have an official rating of between 0 and 105 in order to take part in the event, which often attracts a large field in order to mean that it is one of the most open events that is run during the meeting.
If you're placing a bet on the race then you'll want to look towards the finish line after about one minute and 40 seconds, which is roughly how long it takes the leaders to make it there. The event is one of the youngest that takes place during the Royal Ascot meeting, having only been added to the list of races in 2021. It is named after the Royal residence of Kensington Palace, which is where numerous members of the Royal Family have lived over the years. In 2021, 2022 and 2023, all of the winners of the race were aged four, in spite of the fact that older horses can run in it.
- Horse - Villanova Queen (25/1)
- Jockey - Colin Keane
- Trainer - Mrs John Harrington (IRE)
- Overall Prize Money - £98,370
- For The Winner - £51,540
Race 3 - Duke of Cambridge Stakes - 15:40
- Distance: 1m (1609m)
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes is a Group 2 event introduced at Royal Ascot in 2004. Despite being a relatively young addition to the prestigious meeting, the race has swiftly established itself as an exciting platform for seasoned female horses. In 2005, the Ascot Racecourse redevelopment led to a temporary move of the event to York Racecourse, adding an element of unpredictability upon its return. Limited to fillies and mares aged four and above, the Duke of Cambridge Stakes offers a mile-long straight track challenge, where maturity and intelligence play a significant role in the outcome.
No horse has managed to secure more than one victory in this race, keeping the competition thrillingly open. The race’s renaming in 2013 to honour Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, added an extra touch of prestige to the event. Throughout its short history, some jockeys have enjoyed multiple victories, adding excitement and rivalry to each running. Intriguingly, four-year-olds have dominated the winners’ circle, with most races being completed in approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds. As the Duke of Cambridge Stakes continues to evolve, the event promises thrilling competition.
- Horse - Rogue Millennium (10/1)
- Jockey - Daniel Tudhope
- Trainer - Tom Clover (GB)
- Overall Prize Money - £232,031
- For The Winner - £133,765
Race 4 - Prince of Wales’s Stakes - 16:20
- Distance: 1m 1f 212y (2004m)
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is an esteemed Group 1 horse race held during the Royal Ascot meeting. It was established in 1862 and named after the Prince of Wales of that era, who later became King Edward VII. The race retains its name as a tribute to the Prince of Wales title.
Open to horses aged four and above, the race takes place on Ascot’s turf track, covering a distance slightly under 1 mile and 2 furlongs. It is widely recognised for attracting top-tier horses from across the globe. Over the years, the race has seen impressive champions, including Brigadier Gerard, Dubai Millennium and Ouija Board.
Notably, three horses have achieved the remarkable feat of winning the race twice: Connaught in 1969 and 1970, followed by Mtoto and Muhtarram. The Prince of Wales's Stakes holds a significant place in the Royal Ascot program, usually occurring on the second day as the sole Group 1 race.
It captivates the attention of racing enthusiasts and global spectators eagerly anticipating the exhilarating competition among elite horses. Throughout its history, the race’s distance has undergone modifications, with the current distance set in 2000 to attract exceptional middle-distance horses.
- Horse - Mostahdaf (10/1)
- Jockey - Jim Crowley
- Trainer - John & Thady Gosden (GB)
- Overall Prize Money - £983,700
- For The Winner - £567,100
Race 5 - Royal Hunt Cup - 17:00
- Distance: 1m (1609m)
The Royal Hunt Cup is a handicap event run during the week of Royal Ascot. It takes place on the straight over one mile, having begun life as an event run over a little more than seven furlongs. That was back in 1843, with the race having developed since then. It is for horses aged three and over, whilst the fact that the handicapper decides the weight that is carried might help to explain why none of the 12 winners between 2012 and 2023 were the bookies' favourite. In fact, you need to look back to 2009 in order to find a favourite enjoying success in the race, which was Forgotten Voice.
Only one horse to date has managed to win the event twice, which was Master Vote in 1947 and 1948. When it comes to jockeys, Lester Piggott and Charles Wood share the honour of enjoying the most success, having four wins apiece during their careers. At the time of writing, the event is run on the second day of the Royal Ascot meeting and it has a perpetual trophy, which the winners get to keep, associated with it. Only the Gold Cup and Queen's Vase also share that honour in terms of races run during the meeting, which adds a touch of prestige to proceedings.
- Horse - Jimi Hendrix (22/1)
- Jockey - Rossa Ryan
- Trainer - Ralph Beckett (GB)
- Overall Prize Money - £172,148
- For The Winner - £90,195
Race 6 - Queen’s Vase - 17:35
- Distance: 1m 6f 34y (2847m)
The Queen’s Vase is a distinguished Group 2 horse race and has a storied legacy dating back to 1838. Set against the iconic Ascot Racecourse, this prestigious event unfolds right-handed over a distance of one mile, six furlongs and 34 yards. In its early days, the race spanned two miles, and the triumphant horse was rewarded with a majestic vase gifted by Queen Victoria herself. This regal gesture bestowed the race its illustrious title of ‘The Queen’s Vase’, signifying the monarch’s esteemed patronage of the event. Today, exclusivity marks the Queen’s Vase, as it caters solely to three-year-olds, with a stringent weight requirement of nine stone, two pounds.
The race offers a platform for emerging talents to showcase their prowess on Ascot’s hallowed turf. Throughout its extensive history, the Queen’s Vase has undergone a change to its status several times. Once a Group 3 race in 1971, it briefly held Listed status in 1986 before reclaiming its former Group 3 classification in 1991. In a recognition of the significance of staying flat races, the European Pattern Committee elevated the race to the prestigious Group 2 tier in 2017, where it currently stands. The Queen's Vase is one of three perpetual trophies presented during Royal Ascot week.
- Horse - Gregory (Evens)
- Jockey - Frankie Dettori
- Trainer - John & Thady Gosden (GB)
- Overall Prize Money - £260,281
- For The Winner - £150,282
Race 7 - Windsor Castle Stakes - 18:10
- Distance: 5f (1006m)
When Strike the Tiger won the race in 2009, he did so as a 33/1 offering. That is long odds, but the favourite for the event only won it three times between 2012 and 2023. It might be because the field is large, making it a tricky one to be successful in. Run over five furlongs on the straight, the race is limited to two-year-olds. The weight information is nine stone and three pounds, with fillies given an allowance of five pounds. It is named in honour of Windsor Castle, which is one of the Royal residences and was one of the favourites of Queen Elizabeth II before her death in 2022.
The race is a Listed event that tends to take about a minute for the horses to complete. If they come in in under 60 seconds then it is fair to say that it has been a quick running of the event. It is an interesting event, insomuch as it is one of only a few races that Frankie Dettori failed to win at Ascot. That is in spite of the fact that he rode in it 15 times during the course of his career. Several other jockeys managed to rack up more than one win, including Pat Eddery, who found himself in the Winners' Enclosure six times between 1988 and 2001, putting himself in the record books.
A race called the Windsor Castle Stakes was first run at Ascot in 1839 and first run at the Royal meeting in 1880. In 1898 the first Windsor Castle Stakes for two-year olds was run.
- Horse - Big Evs (20/1)
- Jockey - Jason Hart
- Trainer - Michael Appleby (GB)
- Overall Prize Money - £98,370
- For The Winner - £56,710
What To Expect From The Second Day At Royal Ascot
Those in attendance are still expected to keep up the high standards that will have been set the day before, so don’t be mistaken into thinking that the fact that this feels a little more like a normal day of racing means that you can let your hair down too much. That being said, there is still the same sense of fun off the track on Day Two, thanks to live music and food and drink stalls in various locations.
Head to the right part of the racecourse at the right time and you’ll be able to take part in some lawn games and other garden party-type experiences around the place.
That isn’t to say that the racing isn’t the most important topic for the day, of course. The vast majority of people are there to see the horses and there is no mistaking the quality of racing on offer. From the Duke of Cambridge Stakes to the Royal Hunt Cup, there is a huge amount of entertainment on offer from the stars of the show and the vast majority of people will be delighted by what they see.
Those in attendance in 2019, for example, will never forget the incredible performance of Frankie Dettori on the back of Crystal Ocean in the day’s feature race.
When it comes to how you’re expected to behave, you just need to do the same sort of thing that people on Day One will have done. The exact rules will be dictated according to where you find yourself on the racecourse, but if you’re lucky enough to be in the Royal Enclosure then you’re likely to know exactly what is expected of you.
Whilst there isn’t the same level of expectation in place for the rest of the course, it’s also fair to say that you’re not exactly going to see people in crop tops or fancy dress during the week of Royal Ascot as that’s just not the done thing
Racegoers tend to be in the swing of things by the time Day Two of Royal Ascot comes around, with at least a few people having half an eye on the Gold Cup that is being run the day after. The Royal Family will still have a few representatives at the course, who will obviously be centre of attention for most, whilst the occasional celebrity will doubtless catch the eye.
Ultimately, most of those watching the racing will be focussed on the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, which is easily the feature race of the day thanks to it being the only Group 1 event on the Wednesday of Royal Ascot week.