Let’s start from the top: a handicap race is one in which horses carry different weights, all allocated by the handicapper. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, aimed at creating a fair field and an exciting race.
The Sandringham Stakes is a flat race – no jumps to be found here – which is open to three-year-old female horses, better known amongst the equestrian community as ‘fillies’. Around 17 horses are expected to take to the turf every year, with the winner earning around £40,000 in prize money.
Run over the course of a mile (1,609 metres), expect the winning horse to cross the finishing line in a time of around 1:40:00 if the going is good.
The race was renamed in 2002 in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee commemorations, named for the royal residence of Sandringham.
Historically, the race dates well back into the 19th century, with famous thoroughbred Galopin winning the event twice in a row in 1874 and 1875.
Another renowned figure in the sport, Willie Carson, won the race – then still called the Fern Hill Rated Stakes – all the way back in 1989 riding Minstrel Guest.
The Sandringham Stakes is the perfect event to finish off a day of racing at Royal Ascot, with three days’ action still to follow. And as the race is only for horses aged three, it’s a great chance to see a few potential champions of the future during the early years of their careers.