Has the Lockinge Stakes always been a Group One race?
Nowadays, the Lockinge Stakes, run over a mile at Newbury in May, is a Group One race open to four-year-olds and older horses. However, that has not always been the case. The Lockinge Stakes was established in 1958 and for much of its existence was open to three-year-olds. Indeed, the inaugural winner, Pall Mall, was a three-year-old owned by Queen Elizabeth II and trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort
Following the introduction of the European Pattern in 1971, the Lockinge Stakes was assigned Group Two status but, based on a rolling three-year average of the ratings of the first four finishers, was downgraded to Group Three status in 1983, before being upgraded again in 1985. In 1995, the race was upgraded again, to Group One status, and closed to three-year-olds.
Since the inauguration of the British Champion Series, in 2011, the Lockinge Stakes has been the second race of the season in the Mile category, which starts with the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and ends with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. The most notable recent winner was undoubtedly Frankel, who cruised to a 5-length victory, at odds of 2/7, in 2012.