First run in 1768 Royal Ascot is part of the UK’s sporting summer alongside Wimbledon and the British Open golf tournament. Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds in prize money.
Eighteen Group races, eight of them Group 1, are staged each year and broadcast to audiences in almost 200 countries worldwide. Royal Ascot has four enclosures in total with three open to the public. The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious with access strictly limited. Entrance can only be gained if you gain sponsorship from someone who has attended the Royal Enclosure for at least four years.
There is a very strict dress code with men wearing grey, navy or black morning wear and top hat and women wearing formal daywear and a hat.
Each day is started with a Royal Procession which leaves nearby Windsor Castle following lunch and is attended by various members of the Royal Family and carefully selected guests, arriving each day in horse-drawn carriages.
Sir Michael Stoute has trained more winners at Royal Ascot than any other trainer with 82 successes and the most famous being when Estimate won the 2013 Gold Cup for The Queen. Close behind him is Aiden O’Brien with 81 although that tally has been clocked up in just 25 years and at 26 Royal Ascots working out at an average of just over three winners per Royal Ascot which is quite staggering.
The leading jockey is the great late Lester Piggott who amassed a total of 116 winners including a record-breaking 11 Ascot Gold Cups. Some way behind with 76 is Frankie Dettori for whom this year’s meeting will be his last.
Ascot Racecourse is a dual-purpose British racecourse located in Ascot, Berkshire, England. It is visited by approximately 600,000 people each year and covers 179 acres leased from the Crown Estate and enjoys close associations with the Royal Family.
Founded in 1711 with the first permanent building erected 82 years later. A new grandstand was opened in 1839 at a cost of £10,000. In 2002 the racecourse was closed for a £220 million redevelopment, the single biggest investment in British Horse Racing.
Alongside the Royal Ascot meeting the other main fixtures at the Berkshire track are the British Champions Day run annually in October, with four Group 1’s the meeting is the richest single day in UK racing and signals the end of the turf flat season and the King George Diamond weekend meeting which is the other prestigious meeting run at Ascot.
Taking place in July, the feature race is the King George V and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes which features the three-year-old’s meeting their elders over the Derby distance of 1m 4F.