Feature Race: King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in the
United Kingdom open to thoroughbreds which are three-years-old or above. It is run over a distance of 1 mile and
4 furlongs (2,414 metres) at Ascot Racecourse, and it takes place annually in late July.
The race was created as the result of an amalgamation of the King
George VI Stakes, a two-mile race for three-year-olds run in October since 1946, and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which had
been run each July since 1948 at one and a half miles. The amalgamated race was first run during the Festival of Britain in 1951, and was called the Festival of Britain King George VI &
Queen Elizabeth Stakes. This became the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1952, and the race continued
with this title until 1974.
From 1972 to 2006 the race was sponsored by the diamond company De Beers, and in 1975 permission was given by Queen Elizabeth II for the word Diamond to be included in the title. As a result,
from 1975 it was run as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. With De Beers ending their sponsorship
after the 2006 running, the race reverted to its old title and was run in 2007 without sponsorship.
It is probably the highest quality race in the United Kingdom, and
it is an opportunity for the leading middle-distance three-year-olds to compete against the more established older horses.
This race can often put the merits of the Classic generation into context. In recent years, however, there has been a decline
in the number of three-year-olds participating. No horse of this age has contested the race since 2005.