The one mile (1.6 kilometre) flat race takes place on the first day of the week-long event, on the round mile course. In 1988, the St. James’s Palace Stakes was moved up to rank in Group One, advancing the competition to include only the best thoroughbreds.
Entrant requirements are restricted to three-year-old colts, bringing together an elite batch of young male horses to battle it out in one, exhilarating lap.
The average number of participants per race over the last decade is nine, with an exceptionally large crowd of 16 in 2012.
Traditionally, the St. James’s Palace Stakes is not only a key feature of the Royal Ascot meeting, but a slice of glory in a wider context for three-year-old, Miler colts.
The race typically attracts entrants who have achieved (or been cruelly denied) success in the great one-mile races such as the British Classics and the French and Irish 2,000 Guineas. The event serves as a platform for the most promising and acclaimed of colts to showcase their abilities and fight their way around the track for the title of male-mile champion.
The history of the St. James’s Palace Stakes
The St. James’s Palace Stakes was first held in 1834 and didn’t exactly get off to the most exciting start – one of the two entrants withdrew his horse and so the first victory was won by way of walkover.
Over 180 years after the first event, it is now one of the most exclusive competitions at Royal Ascot, and on the wider world stage.
Not bad for a competition that literally began as a one-horse race.