How many times has Sir Michael Stoute won the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot?

Veteran Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute, who turns 75 in October, 2020, is no stranger to success at Royal Ascot. In fact, the victory of Crystal Ocean in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes in 2019 took his careeer total to 80 winners and confirmed his position as the leading trainer of all time at the Royal Meeting. One race in which Sir Michael has done particularly well is the Hardwicke Stakes, which has been staged in recent years on the and final day of Royal Ascot, but moved to the penultimate day in the revamped schedule for 2020.

Named after the Fifth Earl of Hardwicke, Charles Yorke, popularly known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, who was Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot, the Hardwicke Stakes is a Group Two contest – that is, just one step below the top tier, Group One, in terms of quality – run over 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 211 yards and open to horses aged four years and upwards.

All told, Sir Michael Stoute has won the Hardwicke Stakes eleven times, with eight of those wins coming after the turn of the twenty-first century. Sir Michael first claimed the prize with Dihistan in 1986 but, after back-to-back victories with the Shareef Dance colt, Rock Hopper in 1991 and 1992 – courtesy of the Ascot stewards on the first occasion – he suffered a lengthy hiatus and did not saddle the winner again until 2006. However, his 2006 winner, Maraahel, followed up in 2007 and

has since been joined on the roll of honour by Harbinger (2010), Sea Moon (2012), Telescope (2014), Snow Sky (2015), Dartmouth (2016), and Crystal Ocean (2018).

Which is the longest race run at Royal Ascot?

The longest race run at Royal Ascot is the Queen Alexandra Stakes, a conditions, or weight-for-age, race over 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 143 yards, traditionally contested as the final race of the five-day Royal Meeting. Inaugurated in 1864, as the Alexandra Plate, the race is named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark, the wife of King Edward VII. Prior to 2006, the Queen Alexandra Stakes was run over a distance of 2 miles, 6 furlongs and 34 yards, but it was shortened to its current distance as a result of realignment of the track during the £200-million redevelopment of Ascot Racecourse. Nevertheless, the Queen Alexandra Stakes remains the longest race, not only at Royal Ascot, but anywhere in Britain, on the Flat racing calendar; it is, in fact, just five yards longer than the Pontefact Marathon Handicap.

The Queen Alexandra Stakes is synonymous with the name of Brown Jack, who won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1928, but subsequently won the Queen Alexandra Stakes six years running in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934. Unsurprisingly, Brown Jack became one of the most popular British racehorses of his day, if not all time; his achievement is commemorated by a life-sized bronze statue, by celebrated equestrian painter Sir Alfred Munnings, which overlooks the paddock at Ascot Racecourse.

How many times did Yeats win the Gold Cup at Ascot?

Run over 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 210 yards and, nowadays, open to horses aged four years and upwards, the Gold Cup was inuagurated in 1807 and, when the European Pattern Race system was introduced 1971, was the one and only Group One race staged during Royal Ascot. Prior to 2008, just one horse, Sagaro, trained by François Boutin in Lamorlaye, near Chantilly, had won the Gold Cup three times. However, on June 19 that year, Yeats, trained by Aidan O’Brien, was sent off 11/8 favourite to become the second horse to complete a hat-trick in what is the longest Group One race in the world and duly obliged, drawing clear in the closing stages to beat Geordieland by 5 lengths.

Not only that, but the following year, as an eight-year-old, Yeats returned to Royal Ascot to attempt an unprecedented fourth win in the Gold Cup. Sent off 6/4 favourite, ahead of Geordieland and Paktai, who had finished first and second in the Group Two Henry II Stakes at Sandown the previous month, Yeats never gave his supporters an anxious moment; having taken a commanding lead inside the final quarter-of-a-mile, Yeats galloped on resolutely to beat Paktai by 3½ lengths with his old rival Geordieland 15 lengths further back in third place. Yeats was retired from racing the following October as was subsequently described by Timeform as ‘a giant who will be virtually impossible to replace on the track’.

Which races did Frankel win at Royal Ascot?

Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, under the auspices of Khalid Abdullah, and trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, Frankel won five times at Ascot in all, but just two of those victories came at Royal Ascot. Indeed, on the first occasion, as a three-year-old, on June 14, 2011, Frankel came as close to defeat as he did in his entire 14-race career. Fresh from an impressive 6-length win in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Galileo colt was sent off at 30/100 to win the St. James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Meeting. However, having taken a 6-length lead with a quarter of a mile to run, Frankel was quickly coming back to his rivals inside the final half a furlong and had to be ridden out by jockey Tom Queally to beat 20/1 chance Zoffany, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, by three-quarters of a length.

The following season, as a four-year-old, Frankel contested the opening Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, for which he started a hugley prohibitive 1/10. Nevertheless, his cramped odds proved entirely justified as he soon quickened clear, despite drifting slightly right in the closing stages, for an extremely impressive 11-length win over old rival Excelebration; in so doing, Frankel achieved the highest rating ever achieved by a Flat horse in the history of Timeform.

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