Bad weather played a crucial role in the origins of the King’s Stand Stakes. In 1860 heavy rain made it impossible for the two mile Royal Stand Plate to take place so the race was renamed the Queen’s Stand Plate and run over five furlongs, the only raceable part of the course.
With the accession of King Edward VII in 1901, the race was renamed the King’s Stand Stakes but curiously did not revert to its original name when the present monarch Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952.
The King’s Stand Stakes soon became the most important sprint of the Royal Meeting, with dual winners Sundridge (1903 and 1904) and Foresight (1908 and 1909) proving to be outstanding performers. Hornet’s Beauty, successful in 1911 and 1913, was another of the great victors, having triumphed in the Trial Stakes and the Fern Hill Stakes as well as the King’s Stand Stakes at the 1911 Royal Meeting.
Other notable winners of the King’s Stand Stakes include 1,000 Guineas heroine Diadem, successful in 1919 and 1920, and 2,000 Guineas victor Tetratema, who captured the sprint in 1921. Gold Bridge was arguably the finest winner in the inter-war years as the Major Vandy Beatty-trained colt triumphed in the King’s Stand in 1933 and 1934 and was also successful in the Granville Stakes at Ascot plus the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
Abernant proved to be another outstanding winner in 1949. The grey colt had made all to take the previous season’s Chesham Stakes at the Royal Meeting and was just touched off in the 2,000 Guineas earlier in the year. Trained by Sir Noel Murless, Abernant went on to win the King George Stakes at Goodwood and Nunthorpe Stakes at York two years running and was just denied by Tangle in the 1950 King’s Stand Stakes.
The 1957 King’s Stand victor Right Boy was a terrific sprinter, winning 16 races in a glittering career which included dual successes in what is now the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (formerly the Golden Jubilee and before that the Cork & Orrery), the July Cup and the Nunthorpe Stakes.
The 1978 winner Solinus had a magnificent record, winning eight of his 10 starts, including the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot as a two-year-old. Trained by the great Vincent O’Brien, the colt became the fourth horse since the York’s Nunthorpe Stakes was first staged in 1922 to land the King’s Stand, the July Cup and the Nunthorpe Stakes in the same year, emulating the Mick Easterby-trained Lochnager two years earlier.
Top-class filly Marwell won 10 from 13 starts, including the 1981 King’s Stand. She took the King’s Stand by two lengths before success in the July Cup and the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp, while Never So Bold became the fifth horse to win the King’s Stand Stakes, the July Cup and the Nunthorpe in the same season in 1985. He was Lester Piggott’s seventh and final winner of the King’s Stakes Stakes, making him the most successful rider in the race.
One of the greatest sprinters, Dayjur took the 1991 King’s Stand Stakes and followed up by setting a course record in the Nunthorpe before victories in the Haydock Sprint Cup and the Prix de l’Abbaye. Elbio became the first horse since Gold Bridge to win two King’s Stand Stakes in 1993, while another six-year-old, the exceptional mare Lochsong, took the King’s Stand Stakes the following year en route to a second successive Prix de l’Abbaye.
Pivotal, now an outstanding sire, captured the 1996 King’s Stand Stakes and became trainer Sir Mark Prescott’s first Group One winner when landing the Nunthorpe Stakes by a short-head on his final start.
The King’s Stand was switched to the first day of Royal Ascot in 2000, having been previously run on the Friday, and attracted a record field of 23. Nuclear Debate, trained in France by John Hammond, came with a late surge to deny the Japanese trained Agnes World, and the gelding’s status as a top sprinter was confirmed with victory in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Choisir became the first Australian-trained horse to win in Britain when he led from start to finish in the 2003 King’s Stand Stakes. The Paul Perry-trained colt lined up in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes four days later and again made virtually all of the running to become the first horse since Stanerra in 1983 to win twice at the same Royal Meeting.
The Global Sprint Challenge, aimed at fostering international competition, was started in 2005 and encompasses both Royal Ascot races. The Australians returned with a vengeance in 2006 when the remarkable Takeover Target, trained by former taxi driver Joe Janiak, prevailed by a short-head. Takeover Target came back in 2007 to defend his crown and finished a gallant fourth behind the fellow Australian-trained Miss Andretti. The Lee Freedman-trained mare shaved two and a half seconds off the track record to win in 57.44s.
The King’s Stand Stakes regained Group One status for 2008, having been a Group Two since 1988, and Takeover Target returned as a nine-year-old, only to fail by half a length as the Spanish-trained Equiano caused a shock. The Aussie machine rolled into action for a fourth time in six years as the Danny Morton-trained Scenic Blast landed the 2009 contest from Fleeting Spirit.
Equiano became the first horse since the outstanding Elbio to win two renewals of the King’s Stand
Stakes when he made all the running in 2010 to triumph for trainer Barry Hills, who had taken over the training of the sprinter the year before.
Trainer Robert Cowell and Ascot-born jockey Jim Crowley both celebrated Royal Ascot success for the first time in 2011 as Prohibit stormed home to win by half a length. The international stature of the sprint was highlighted as five different racing jurisdictions filled the first five places with Australia (Star Witness), Hong Kong (Sweet Sanette), Hungary (Overdose) and Germany (War Artist) chasing home the Newmarket-trained winner.
Another international field lined up in 2012 with runners from five countries – Ireland, Britain, Hong Kong, Australia and France – resulting in a first success for Hong Kong as the Danny Shum-trained Little Bridge came home in front under Australian jockey Zac Purton.
Sole Power, third in 2012, was given a masterful ride by Johnny Murtagh to record a second Group One success of his career for Irish handler Edward Lynam in 2013. The six-year-old, a shock winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2010, disputed last approaching the final furlong, but quickened brilliantly to nail South African raider Shea Shea virtually on the line to win by a neck. Sole Power became the latest horse to win the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes twice when prevailing in 2014 by a length and a quarter. With Richard Hughes up, he beat the runner-up, Stepper Point, again in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
THE KING’S STAND STAKES WINNERS
YR/DATE GROUP WINNER TRAINER JOCKEY OWNER AGE/WEIGHT
14/17/06 1 SOLE POWER Edward Lynam IRE Richard Hughes Sabena Power 7-9-04
13/18/06 1 SOLE POWER Edward Lynam IRE Johnny Murtagh Sabena Power 6-9-04
12/19/06 1 LITTLE BRIDGE Danny Shum HK Zac Purton Ko Kam Piu 6-9-04
11/14/06 1 PROHIBIT Robert Cowell Jim Crowley Dasmal, Rix, Barr, Morley, Mrs Penney 6-9-04
10/15/06 1 EQUIANO Barry Hills Michael Hills James Acheson 5-9-04
09/16/06 1 SCENIC BLAST Danny Morton AUS Steven Arnold Elio Anthony Galante & Partners 5-9-04
08/17/06 1 EQUIANO Mauricio Delcher Sanchez ESP Olivier Peslier James Acheson 3-8-12
07/19/06 2 MISS ANDRETTI Lee Freedman AUS Craig Newitt S Buckley/D Mueller/Gabriella Guerizi 6-9-01
06/20/06 2 TAKEOVER TARGET Joe Janiak AUS Jay Ford Joe & Ben Janiak 7-9-07
*05/14/06 2 CHINEUR Mikel Delzangles FR Christophe Lemaire Marquesa De Moratalla 4-9-02
04/15/06 2 THE TATLING Milton Bradley Darryll Holland Dab Hand Racing 7-9-02
03/17/06 2 CHOISIR Paul Perry AUS Johnny Murtagh Terry Wallace & Partners 4-9-07
02/18/06 2 DOMINICA Marcus Tregoning Martin Dwyer Bobby & Helen Kennard 3-8-07
01/19/06 2 CASSANDRA GO Geoff Wragg Michael Roberts Trevor Stewart 5-8-13
00/20/06 2 NUCLEAR DEBATE John Hammond FR Gerald Mosse Bob Chester 5-9-02
99/18/06 2 MITCHAM Terry Mills Richard Quinn Terry Mills 3-8-10
98/19/06 2 BOLSHOI Jack Berry Carl Lowther Trish Brown 6-9-02
97/20/06 2 DON’T WORRY ME Guy Henrot FR Olivier Peslier Jean-Francois Gribomont 5 8-13
96/21/06 2 PIVOTAL Sir Mark Prescott George Duffield Cheveley Park Stud 3 8-10
95/23/06 2 PICCOLO Mick Channon Richard Hughes John White & partners 4 9-06
94/17/06 2 LOCHSONG Ian Balding Frankie Dettori Jeff Smith 6 9-00
93/18/06 2 ELBIO Peter Makin Walter Swinburn Brian Brackpool 6 9-03
92/19/06 2 SHEIKH ALBADOU Alex Scott Walter Swinburn Hilal Salem 4 9-03
91/21/06 2 ELBIO Peter Makin Steve Cauthen Brian Brackpool 4 9-03
90/22/06 2 DAYJUR Dick Hern Willie Carson Hamdan Al Maktoum 3 8-10
89/23/06 2 INDIAN RIDGE David Elsworth Steve Cauthen Anne Coughlan 4 9-03
88/17/06 2 CHILIBANG John Dunlop Willie Carson Mrs H J Heinz 4 9-03
87/19/06 1 BLUEBIRD Vincent O’Brien IRE Cash Asmussen Robert Sangster 3 8-09
86/20/06 1 LAST TYCOON Robert Collet FR Cash Asmussen Richard Strauss 3 8-09
85/21/06 1 NEVER SO BOLD Robert Armstrong Lester Piggott Ed Kessly 5 9-03
84/22/06 1 HABIBTI John Dunlop Willie Carson M A A Mutawa 4 9-00
83/17/06 1 SAYF EL ARAB Bill O’Gorman Taffy Thomas M Dabaghi 3 8-09
82/18/06 1 FEARLESS LAD Dick Peacock Edward Hide G Soulsby 3 8-09
81/19/06 1 MARWELL Michael Stoute Walter Swinburn Edmund Loder 3 8-06
80/20/06 1 AFRICAN SONG Paul Kelleway Pat Eddery G Kaye 3 8-09
79/22/06 1 DOUBLE FORM Fulke Johnson Houghton John Reid Baroness H H Thyssen 4 9-03
78/23/06 1 SOLINUS Vincent O’Brien IRE Lester Piggott Daniel Schwartz 3 8-09
77/17/06 1 GODSWALK Vincent O’Brien IRE Lester Piggott Robert Sangster 3 8-09
76/18/06 1 LOCHNAGER Mick Easterby Edward Hide C Spence 4 9-03
75/20/06 1 FLIRTING AROUND Richard Carver FR Yves Saint-Martin Mrs A Hausmann 4 9-04
74/21/06 1 BAY EXPRESS Peter Nelson Brian Taylor P Cooper 3-8-09
73/22/06 1 ABERGWAUN Vincent O’Brien IRE Lester Piggott Charles St George 5-9-01
72/23/06 2 SWEET REVENGE Atty Corbett Geoff Lewis Mrs B Attenborough 5-9-04
71/18/06 2 SWING EASY Jeremy Tree Lester Piggott Jock Whitney 3-8-08
70/19/06 AMBER RAMA Francois Mathet FR Yves St Martin Arpad Plesch 3-8-08
69/20/06 SONG Derrick Candy Joe Mercer Bryan Jenks 3-8-08
68/21/06 D’URBERVILLE Jeremy Tree Joe Mercer Jock Whitney 3-8-03
67/23/06 BE FRIENDLY Cyril Mitchell Scobie Breasley Peter O’Sullevan 3-8-03
66/17/06 ROUGHLYN Doug Francis George Cadwaladr J D Pickering 5-9-09
65/18/06 GOLDHILL Peter Easterby Jimmy Etherington R G Johnson 4-9-01
63/21/06 MAJORITY RULE Paddy O’Gorman Lester Piggott J Muldoon 3-8-06
62/22/06 CASSARATE Vincent O’Brien IRE Neville Sellwood Countess Margit Batthyany 3-7-11
61/16/06 SILVER TOR Brud Fetherstonhaugh Geoff Lewis Stanhope Joel 3-8-00
60/17/06 SOUND TRACK Phonsie O’Brien IRE Scobie Breasley Lady Hemphill 3-8-06
59/19/06 CHRIS Billy Nevett Joe Sime H F Hartley 3-8-10
58/20/06 DRUM BEAT Paddy O’Gorman Scobie Breasley J S Gerber 5-8-09
57/21/06 RIGHT BOY Bill Dutton Lester Piggott G A Gilbert 3-8-06
56/22/06 PALARIVA Alec Head FR Roger Poincelet H H Aga Khan 3-8-04
55/15/07 PAPPA FOURWAY Bill Dutton Harry Carr Mrs E Goldson 3-9-00
54/18/06 GOLDEN LION Cyril Mitchell Brian Swift W T Barrett 3-8-04
53/19/06 FAIRY FLAX Joe Lawson Scobie Breasley R S Clark 4-9-02
52/20/06 EASTER BRIDE Tom Rimell E Fordyce W J Rimell 3-7-11
51/15/06 STEPHEN PAUL Atty Persse Neville Sellwood J Olding 3-8-06
50/16/06 TANGLE Bill Payne Eph Smith Lady Baron 3-8-00
49/17/06 ABERNANT Noel Murless Gordon Richards Reginald Macdonald-Buchanan 3-8-06
48/18/06 SQUANDER BUG M Collins Bill Rickaby Mrs E P Moss 5-9-01
47/20/06 GREEK JUSTICE Fred Darling Gordon Richards J A Dewar 3-8-06
46/21/06 VILMORIN Joe Lawson Cliff Richards J Read 3-8-00