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Royal Ascot race names explained

Some Royal Ascot race names have interesting histories. The Queen Anne, Queen Mary, King George V, King Edward VII and Duke of Edinburgh are all self-explanatory. But what about the Coventry, Jersey, Ribblesdale, Chesham and Hardwicke Stakes?

They celebrate masters of the Buckhounds.

Queen Anne built the racecourse in 1711. However, Ascot was controlled by the Master of the Buckhounds, rather than the monarch. Following Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, King Edward VII abolished the Royal Buckhounds. Since then the Sovereign has appointed a representative to look after the racecourse on their behalf.

Buckhounds in Royal Ascot race names

The Coventry Stakes: first run in 1890 and named after the 9th Earl of Coventry, Master of the Buckhounds from 1886 to 1892.

The Jersey Stakes: first run in 1919 and named after the 4th Earl of Jersey, Master of the Buckhounds from 1782 to 1783.

The Ribblesdale Stakes: first run in in 1919 and named after the 4th Baron Ribblesdale, Master of the Buckhounds from 1886 to 1892.

The Hardwicke Stakes: first run in 1879 and named after the 5th Earl of Hardwicke, Master of the Buckhounds from 1874 to 1879.

The Chesham Stakes: first run in 1919 and named after the 3rd Baron Chesham, the last Master of the Buckhounds, who held the position from 1900 until its abolition in 1901.

More Royal Ascot race names

The Coronation Stakes: first run in 1840, celebrates the coronation of Queen Victoria.

The Queen’s Vase: also named after Queen Victoria, first run in 1838. Renamed the King’s Vase in 1903, it returned to the Queen’s Vase on the succession of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Norfolk Stakes: named after Bernard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, the sovereign’s representative at Ascot from 1945 to 1972. Formerly called the New Stakes, it became the Norfolk Stakes in 1973.

The King’s Stand Stakes: began as the Queen’s Stand Plate in 1860. It became the King’s Stand in 1901. However, unlike the Queen’s Vase, the name stayed the same when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne.

That’s why Royal Ascot race names are so called.

About Chris Pitt

Chris Pitt is a racing historian and freelance journalist. He has written three books including 'A Long Time Gone', chronicling Britain's lost racecourses, and 'Go Down to the Beaten', stories of jockeys who didn't win the Grand National. He founded the Midlands Racing Club and was formerly racing correspondent for BBC Radio WM.

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