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.