When was the Commonwealth Cup inaugurated?
The Commonwealth Cup was inaugurated in 2015, when it became the eighth Group One race to be contested at Royal Ascot. Run over a distance of 6 furlongs, the Commonwealth Cup is restricted to three-year-olds, including geldings, making it the only race of its kind to be run anywhere in Europe. Indeed, at the time of its inauguration, the conditions of the other Group One sprint run at Royal Ascot, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – established, as the All-Aged Stakes, in 1868 – were changed to exclude three-year-olds.
The Commonwealth Cup was included in the Royal Ascot programme at the expense of the Buckingham Palace Stakes, a valuable 7-furlong handicap restricted to three-year-olds, which was first run in 2002; at that point, the Saturday meeting, formerly known as ‘Ascot Heath’, was officially incorporated into the Royal Meeting, by way of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Thus, the Buckingham Palace Stakes was not run between 2015 and 2019, much to the displeasure of some experts, but was reinstated, possibly as a one-off, as one of six additional races added to the Royal Ascot programme in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.