The UK has its fair share of special events in the horse racing world, but one of the most exciting and luxurious is Royal Ascot. Taking place between Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 June, this five-day long event is the most valuable race meetings in the country. As well as six races per day, Royal Ascot is all about fashion, fine dining and fascinators, and even earns a visit from the Queen and her family. This is definitely not an experience to miss, so here is a guide to the event, the races and how to make the most of this momentous week.
What You Need to Know About Royal Ascot
One of the most important things you need to know when visiting Ascot is that it is a very prestigious event and does enforce a dress code. As this event is taking place during flats season, ladies should dress as for a special occasion and gentlemen are required to wear a jacket with shirt and tie. Some Royal Ascot ladies choose to wear the famous fascinators that are commonly associated with the event. You can check the dress code page on the site for more information.
Each day begins with the gates opening at 10:30 am. Until 2pm, you can enjoy the food and drink provided (or bring your own picnic) and explore the racecourse and its enclosures. At 2pm the Royal Procession begins. The Queen and family will pass the railings of the Silver Ring enclosure drawn by horse and carriage. At 2:30pm, the first race begins. Six races then run on each day until 5:35pm.
As well as the Silver Ring enclosure, there is also the Grandstand to watch the races from. The Royal Enclosure is only available by invitation.
All Royal Ascot races are set into Group 1, 2 or 3, Group 1 being the most prestigious class of flat race. Here is some of the races to look forward to on each day of the event.
Three Group 1 races are taking place on the first day: The Queen Anne Stakes, The King’s Stand Stakes and The St James’s Palace Stakes each with a cash prize of £375k for the winning rider.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes will be taking place on this day with a massive £525k cash prize for the winner. With 37 entries at this point, this race is guaranteed to be the highlight of the second day.
Thursday will be hosting the most famous race at Ascot, The Gold Cup. This race is over 2 miles long and is perfect for runners that can stay the distance. Queen Elizabeth II’s horse Estimate won this race in 2013.
The Commonwealth Cup and The Coronation Stakes, two Group 1 races, will be taking place on the penultimate day of the event. The Commonwealth Cup will be new to Ascot this year and at only 6 furlongs long, it will be an exciting sprint for the finish.
The final day will be hosting the final Group 1 race, The Diamond Jubilee Stakes. This will be the second race to reward £525k to the winning runner. As another 6 furlong sprint, it will make a thrilling close to the week.