Want to know what’s what in this popular thoroughbreds’ race? Make sure you have the key facts at your fingertips with this guide to the Queen Anne Stakes, the opening race of the Royal Ascot.

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Key information

The Queen Anne Stakes is in Group One – the most prestigious class of flat race. Its participants are thoroughbreds aged four years or over, carrying weights of 9st (with an allowance of 3lb for fillies or mares and 1lb for Southern Hemisphere four-year-olds). The number of participants ranges from fewer than 10 to nearly 20.

The Queen Anne Stakes is run on a stretch of Ascot Racecourse nicknamed the ‘straight mile’. It’s a straight track with a turf surface that has better drainage than the rest of the Ascot course. The length of the race is 1 mile (1,609 metres).

The history of the Queen Anne Stakes

The Queen Anne Stakes was first run as the Trial Stakes, for horses aged three or over. It was given its current title in 1930 to honour Queen Anne, who founded Ascot Racecourse in 1711.

In 1971 The Queen Anne Stakes was classed as a Group Three race. Its status was raised to Group Two in 1984, and to Group One in 2003. On joining Group One the entry requirements were reassessed and the minimum age for horses increased to three.

As part of an initiative to increase the prominence of British flat horse racing, the Queen Anne Stakes became one of 35 high-quality races to form a new contest called the British Championship Series, launched at Newmarket in 2011.

Financially backed from the outset by Qatari investment group QIPCO, this series was given long-term sponsorship renewal in 2015 in what was – at over £50 million – the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the history of British horse racing.

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Race records

The first horse to win the double was Flambeau in 1840–41. Three further horses accomplished this feat over the next 50 years (Toastmaster, 1885–86; Worcester, 1895–96; Dean Swift, 1906–07) but such double glory has yet to be repeated, indicating the high quality of horses in recent years.

Two jockeys have achieved six wins – Sir Gordon Richards between 1925 and 1952, and Frankie Dettori between 1990 and 2007.

The leading trainer, with seven wins since 1996, is Saeed bin Suroor.

The quickest time achieved in recent years was 1:36:64. This was in 2005, when four-year-old Valixir was ridden to victory by Christophe Soumillon.

Traditionally this race was won by four-year-olds but this trend has been bucked recently by five-year-olds, so age is something to keep an eye on.

The top-rated horses tend to do best – though surprises can and do happen. For example, in 2004 the winner, Refuse to Bend, had odds of 12/1 and the favourite, Six Perfections, plodded in at 6th place.

Kicking off the Royal Ascot race meeting in style, the Queen Anne Stakes is a long-standing race that is bound to get you in the spirit of the racing season.