Launched in 2015, Royal Ascot’s groundbreaking Group 1 sprint for three-year-olds has quickly become one of the flat season’s most important races
Royal Ascot’s bold vision to fill a gap in the racing calendar with a Group 1 mid-season sprint exclusively for three-year-olds became reality in 2015 with the launch of the Commonwealth Cup. Each of its two winners to date have been crowned that season’s Champion Sprinter.
“The Commonwealth Cup improves the options available for three-year-old sprinters across Europe,” says Ascot’s Head of Communications and International Racing, Nick Smith. “There haven’t been many prestigious races available to these horses in the first half of the season and Ascot, the BHA and other key players saw an opportunity. The idea was to attract European horses who have run in their respective Guineas races (over a mile) and may not have been suited by the distance and to also attract horses who have missed their respective Guineas races for the same reason and whose connections are seeking a prestigious Group 1 prize. That is how we foresaw the Commonwealth Cup – as being the premier mid-season six-furlong race for the Classic generation.”
Entry rules for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, also staged over six furlongs (page xx), were altered to accommodate the new race – three-year-olds are not eligible to take part, although they are still allowed to line up in the King’s Stand Stakes.
In 2015, the first winner Muhaarar lit up the Royal Meeting on its fourth day. Last year, Quiet Reflection lifted the Cup on her way to becoming the first three-year-old filly to win Champion Sprinter honours at the Cartier Awards.
Date: Friday 23 June 2017
First winner: Muhaarar (2015)
Last winner: Quiet Reflection (2016)
Status: Group 1, 3yos
Most wins by a trainer: Charles Hills (1), Karl Burke (1)
Most wins by a jockey: Dane O’Neill (1), Dougie Costello (1)