Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is a Group 1 race over a mile on British Champions Day at Ascot. It often features an exciting clash between the Classic generation and some of the best older horses in Europe. The QE II Stakes has been won by some of the greatest names in racing history including Brigadier Gerard (1971, 1972), Dubai Millennium (1999) and Frankel (2011).

The Race

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is currently race 4 on British Champions Day in October and takes place over the straight mile. A top class field is assured for this hugely valuable contest and there is usually a brisk early pace. The race is very late in the year and can be one too many for horses who have been busy throughout the summer on faster ground.

Famous Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Winners & History

This race was originally known as the Knights’ Royal Stakes with the inaugural running in 1947 won by the brilliant Tudor Minstrel. The race was renamed the QE II Stakes in 1955 with victory going to the French-trained Hafiz, owned by His Highness The Aga Khan.

The race was initially given Group 2 status in 1971 and was not promoted to Group 1 level until 1987. It was moved from September to its current October date to compliment the Champion Stakes in 2011 with prize money raised to a staggering £1 million.

Brigadier Gerard became the first dual winner of the race in 1971-72. He famously won 17 of his 18 races including the 2000 Guineas, the Champion Stakes twice and the Eclipse. He was incredibly tough and versatile, winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over a mile and a half in 1972. Rose Bowl, trained by Fulke Johnson-Houghton and ridden by Willie Carson, emulated The Brigadier with back-to-back victories in 1975 and 1976.

Other popular winners of this race include Kris (1979), Teleprompter (1984) and Dubai Millennium (1999). Kris was a bold, front-running chestnut trained by Sir Henry Cecil and ridden by Joe Mercer. He won 14 of his 16 races, suffering his only defeats when runner-up in the 2000 Guineas to Tap On Wood and to Known Fact when attempting a repeat QEII Stakes win in 1980.

Teleprompter was a popular gelding trained by Bill Watts in Yorkshire. Geldings were not permitted to run in Group 1 races at that time and the QEII still had Group 2 status. He looked certain to be beaten by Coronation Stakes winner Katies but battled back bravely to win by a neck. He gained his biggest career win in the Arlington Million in 1985.

Dubai Millennium’s 6 lengths win in this race in 1999 earned lavish praise from owner Sheikh Mohammed, calling him the best horse ever prepared by his Godolphin operation. He immediately assigned him to the Dubai World Cup which he duly won by the same margin in 2000.

Frankel (2011) graced the inaugural Champions’ Day meeting at Ascot with a four lengths victory to sign off his three-year-old campaign. He was eventually retired with a flawless 14/14 record and rated the greatest racehorse in history by Timeform and in the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings.

Key Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Trials

The two most significant form guides to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes are the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. These two races account for five of the last twelve winners. Charm Spirit (2014) and Baaeed (2021) both won the Prix du Moulin before following up at Ascot. Four other Moulin winners were beaten here during that period, notably Excelebration (2011) and Ribchester (2017) who both finished second. Frankel (2011) and Solow (2015) both won the Sussex Stakes on their previous start.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Betting Trends

The form usually holds up well in the QEII Stakes with all but two of the last 12 winners coming from the first three in the betting. Five of those started favourite; Frankel (4-11), Excelebration (10-11), Solow (11-10), Minding (7-4) and Roaring Lion (2-1). The two horses to buck the trend of winning market leaders were Persuasive (2017) who returned at 8-1 and King Of Change (2019) at 12-1.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Stats

Three-year-olds hold the edge in this race with 10 winners in the past 14 years. The only horses to break their domination were Excelebration (2012) and Persuasive (2017) as four-year-olds and Solow (2015) and The Revenant (2020) as five-year-olds.

This race is all about class and 8 of the last 12 winners had already won at least once at Group 1 level. An official rating of 115 or higher is usually required to win this, only Persuasive (113) falling narrowly below that mark in recent times. The highest rated winner going into this race was Frankel (135) in 2011.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor is the leading trainer in the history of the race with five winners; Mark of Esteem (1996), Dubai Millennium (1999), Summoner (2001), Ramonti (2007) and Poet’s Voice (2010). John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien have both trained four winners, Gosden winning it in 2017 and 2018 with Persuasive and Roaring Lion.

Willie Carson remains the leading jockey in the history of the race with eight winners. This included a sequence of four successive seasons between 1975 and 1978. He has particularly fond memories of this race from his winning ride on Bahri in 1995 when taking the scenic route under the trees to find the better ground. Frankie Dettori has won it six times; Markofdistinction (1990), Mark of Esteem (1996), Dubai Millennium (1999), Ramonti (2007), Poet’s Voice (2010) and Persuasive (2017).

Betting on the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

There is a strong ante-post market with some tempting bookmaker offers including enhanced odds on the favourite for new customers. It is always worth keeping a close eye on the state of the going for this meeting with soft ground horses often favoured.

This race comes at the end of a long season for the top milers in Europe. Three recent winners have gone to the Breeders’ Cup but were all well beaten in very different ground conditions.

Summary

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is one of the most prestigious one mile races in Europe and always provides a thrilling spectacle. The winner will join the likes of Frankel and Dubai Millennium on the roll of honour for a race which is the perfect appetiser for the Champion Stakes.

As the Co-Founder of British Racecourses, I love the chance to share my enjoyment of racing with others. As a family, we have always loved the racing and went to Haydock races as kids, as often as we could. We are now lucky enough to own some fantastic racehorses who we will follow around the tracks and we have had some great wins. As part of British Racecourses, I enjoy visiting and reviewing the racecourses that we visit, all of which I think have something to offer and are brilliant in their own ways.