What do Elizabeth, Anne, Victoria and Mary have in common with Elletelle, Rizeena, Ceiling Kitty and Acapulco? (Apart from their traditional British names, of course.)
The event, which owes its namesake to the wife of King George V, was first run in 1921. It is geared solely towards two-year-old fillies and serves as the first major race of the season for the young female category.
It is a flat event, over a straight, sprint distance of 5 furlongs (1,006 metres). Attracting a high turnout over the years (with the average number of participants at about 19 in the last decade), the race is an exhilarating contest of speed and positioning.
Originally classed as Group Three with the implementation of the new grouping regulations in 1971, the Queen Mary Stakes advanced to Group Two in 2004. It is now one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for young female horses.
The history of the Queen Mary Stakes
The race is always a highly anticipated event because it introduces new line-up. At only two-years-old, the fillies are usually debutantes or lightly raced rookies, looking for their chance to bag their first big crown.
Many of the competitors use the race as a platform for launching their winning careers – notable names include the 2003 champion, Attraction, who went on to be the first horse to bag both the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Equally impressive, 2001 was the first major race for winner Queen’s Logic. She must have liked the taste of victory as, in the same year, she won European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly and went on to retire undefeated in 2002.
Behind (or on top) of every winning horse is the human who has trained vigorously to help her get past the post first.
When it comes to the Queen Mary Stakes, Sir Gordon Richards is the jockey that leads in taking these girls across the finish line, with five wins between 1932 and 1946.
Collaborating with him on three of those victories is Fred Darling, the top-ranking trainer with seven triumphs between 1924 and 1946.
This 5-furlong sprint is a stunning showcase of speed and ability, setting the forthcoming racing stage with a showcase of future female champions. The youthful nature of the competitors makes it an exciting event, full of anticipation as to who the next horse heroine will be.