2 Results Found For: February 2017

2nd February 2017

With so many supporting the reduction in distance of the Queen’s Vase, I must admit that I was beginning to wonder if I was overreacting. Son Charlie then pointed out to me that this will now mean that Royal Ascot will have Group 2 races, restricted to three-year-olds, at 10, 12 and 14 furlongs. The Queen’s Vase of old, at two miles, was surely a much more realistic race for the true stayer.

1st February 2017

The Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, having only recently been downgraded from Group 3 to Listed, has now leapfrogged up to Group 2 ‘as part of British racing’s long-term plan to safeguard the staying breed’. That has to be good news. But, at the same time, the distance of the race has been reduced from 2 miles to 14 furlongs. Eh? What is that move doing for the staying breed?

Is 14 furlongs a ‘staying’ race? I know some will say it is and I well remember that, back in 1995, Double Trigger missed out on being crowned Champion Stayer despite having won all five Cup races that year because Strategic Choice earned a higher rating for his third place in the 12 furlong King George and was deemed to be a stayer because he had run in that year’s Irish St. Leger over 14 furlongs. But that couldn’t happen now and, even then, surely most of us would have accepted 14 furlongs as being a Classic distance – the distance of the St. Leger.
The Queen’s Vase has always been, for me, the first big test of the true three-year-old stayers. A true trial for Cup horses of the future. That said, in the last twenty years, only three Ascot Gold Cup winners had run in the Queen’s Vase. I’m not sure if that makes it a good trial or not but those three were Leading Light and Estimate, who had both won the Vase, and Mr Dinos, who had finished second.

Would Leading Light and Estimate have won the Queen’s Vase over 14 furlongs? Maybe, but we can’t be sure.

I am a huge supporter of the principles behind the initiative to promote the breeding and racing of stayers in Britain but I have some grave reservations about some of the methods being employed. Our Kingsley Klarion went to press just before this change was announced today but in it I have queried other parts of this initiative which involve the programming of two-year-old maiden races over 7 and 8 furlongs for horses whose sire won over a minimum of nine and a half furlongs.

To my mind it is quite simple, if you want to promote the breeding and racing of stayers, you improve opportunities and/or prize-money for stayers. You don’t do it by putting meaningless restrictions on 7 furlong maidens and you don’t do it by reducing distances of the best stamina tests.