Tuesday 19th June – 3:40pm – Royal Ascot – 5f King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)

The King’s Stand Stakes is now the premier 5 furlong race at the Royal Meeting and is open to horses aged three years old and upwards. However, the event was born out of a set of very strange circumstances. At the Royal meeting in 1860 heavy rain had made it impossible to run the Royal Stand Plate over its normal distance of 2 miles, so it was shortened to 5 furlongs to take advantage of the only raceable part of the course. This amended version of the race was called the Queen’s Stand Plate. For a while it was open to all age groups and its name was changed to the present King’s Stand Stakes following the accession of King Edward VII in 1901.

When the current system of race grading was introduced in 1971 the race was granted Group 1 status but was downgraded to Group 2 level in 1988. The race became part of the Global Sprint Challenge in 2005 and consequently attracted high class sprinters from around the globe and its status was therefore raised to Group 1 again in 2008.

It is very difficult to pick an age trend for the race as in the last 25 renewals three year olds have won five times, four year olds five times, five year olds five times, six year olds eight times and seven year olds three times. However, in the last 12 renewals the race has been won by five to seven year olds seven times.

The draw has not been a significant factor and as it is the first sprint of the week there is not any current draw bias to be considered.

The betting is a reasonable guide to finding the winner as eight of the last 12 winners have come from the first three in the betting but just two favourites have won over the same period.

Winning form earlier in the season needs to be taken into consideration as eight of the last 12 winners had won earlier in the season and 11 of the last 12 winners finished in the first two on their last starts. Overall form over the 5 furlong trip is a reasonable pointer with seven of the last 12 winners having at least four wins over the trip and eight of the last 12 winning at least twice over 5 furlongs. Previous course form is a ‘good to have’ as six winners had previously won at least once over the course and seven winners had previously run at least twice at Ascot.

An Official Rating of at least 111 has been required to win the race in nine of the last 12 renewals, and horses with at least one win at Group 1 level have won six of the last 12 times, while on 10 of the last 12 occasions horses with winning form in Groups 1 to 3 have prevailed 10 times.

Blue Point running for Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby won the race last year and comes into this year’s renewal on the back of wins in one of his last three starts in Dubai. The five year old bay horse has plenty of winning form in the going and has won two of his four starts over 5 furlongs. He is also a course specialist having won on three of his four runs at Ascot and has the stamina to get home up the stiff uphill climb. It would be no great surprise to see him add his name to the list of dual winners of the race.

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