Ascot Racecourse is situated only six miles from Windsor Castle and attracts punters from around the world to what is globally accepted to be one of the best racecourses anywhere, if not the best. It stages both high-class flat racing and jumps racing, and is most famous for its five-day Royal Ascot Meeting which is held in June.
Founded: By Queen Anne in 1711
Course Type: Flat and Jumps
Current Owner: Ascot Racecourse Limited
There are two flat racing courses at Ascot, these being the Round Course and the Old Mile Course. The Round Course is 14 furlongs in length and features a sweeping right-hand bend known as Swinley bottom, which runners have to negotiate before turning into a home straight of approximately three furlongs. Occupying a good position around Swinley Bottom can be the difference between winning and losing, especially if a horse is forced to race wide around it. Famous races like the Ascot Gold Cup and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes are run on this course.
Meanwhile, The Old Mile Course is a straight course that stages races from five furlongs up to a mile. Famous races stages on this course include the Wokingham, the Victoria Cup, and the Queen Anne Stakes.
National Hunt enthusiasts can also enjoy racing on Ascot’s Chase Course, Hurdle Course, and National Hunt Flat Course. All three course are right-handed and feature Swinley Bottom. The courses are quite stiff and tend to suit relentless gallopers rather than out-and-out speed horses. Famous races include the Ascot Chase and the Long Walk Hurdle.
Ascot Racecourse stages an incredible 13 Group 1 Races, with eight of these taking place at Royal Ascot.
Royal Ascot: Understandably, this is Ascot’s flagship event and it kicks-off with the Queen Anne Stakes, a race won by Frankel in 2012. Since then, it has become an international affair with wins for France, Ireland, and America. The 2018 renewal produced a shock for most punters though as Accidental Agent scored at 33/1.
Some of the fastest sprinters on the planet have graced Royal Ascot and the Kings Stand Stakes is the place to watch them. This race often has an international flavour, with wins for Spain, America, Hong Kong, and Australia this century. 2018 winner Blue Point proved that Ascot is very much a horses-for-courses racetrack as he maintained his unbeaten record at Ascot when landing this Group 1 sprint.
The top-class three-year-olds also get a look in on day one in the St James’s Palace Stakes, a mile race that often produces a clash between the season’s 2,000 Guineas winners. This is another race that Frankel added to his CV, whilst Frankel’s owner the Khalid Abdulla has also won the race with Kingman.
The Princes Of Wales’s Stakes is an opportunity for the 10 furlongs specialists to grab a share of Royal Ascot history, and the likes of Dubai Millennium, Bosra Sham, and Ouija Board have all got their names on this trophy.
Royal Ascot may be all about tradition in many ways, but it’s also about innovation. That’s why the Commonwealth Cup was introduced into the Royal Ascot schedule in 2015, and it gives the three-year-old sprinters a chance to battle it out against their peers from the classic generation over six furlongs.
The Gold Cup, sometimes wrongly referred to as the Ascot Gold Cup, is for main highlight of the whole Royal Ascot Meeting. It pitches the best stayers around against each other over 20 furlongs and has produced magic moments such as Estimate’s win for The Queen in 2013.
The best three-year-old fillies also get chance to battle it out for the right to be called the queen of the milers in the Coronation Stakes, and star performers like Banks Hill, Attraction, and Ervedya have lit up Royal Ascot in recent seasons.
The final Group 1 Race of Royal Ascot is traditionally the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, which is run on the Saturday. It takes place over six furlongs and has been won by popular English-trained winners like Twilight Son and The Tin Man, whilst also watch out for any of Aidan O’Brien’s Australian imports.
The King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes: Ascot’s other summer highlight and it brings together the best of the classic generation and the older horses in a mouth-watering clash over 12 furlongs. It has a mouth-watering role of honour too, with Dancing Brave, Reference Point, Dubawi, Galileo, and Enable just a handful of the great horses to have claimed this prestigious prize.
The Shergar Cup: It may lack the class horse of some of the other Ascot Meetings, but it has broken boundaries in helping female riders establish themselves as equals to their male counterparts. Teams made up of jockeys from the UK and Ireland, Europe, the Rest of the World, and the Girls, do battle in a team event, one that the Girls team won in 2018.
Champions Day: It’s a day that makes sure Ascot’s flat season also goes out with a bang as Ascot stages another four Group 1 Races. These include the Champion Stakes, British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and the British Champions Sprint Stakes.
Ascot’s Jumps Season Highlights: Not long after Ascot’s flat season ends, its jumps season begins. The Long Walk Hurdle takes place in December and is often won by a past or future Stayers’ Hurdle winner. Meanwhile, the Clarence House Chase has been won by memorable two-mile stars such as Masterminded and Sprinter Sacre. The third and final Grade 1 Chase is the Ascot Chase which takes place in February and has been won by crowd favourites such as Monet’s Garden and Cue Card.
Ascot is synonymous with top and hat and tails but, whilst you may enjoy dressing up to the highest standard of modern society, the dress code is dictated by the enclosure you’re in.
Royal Enclosure: For Royal Ascot, men are required to wear top hat and tails, whilst ladies must wear formal daywear that covers all parts of their body that any respectable lady would cover. Ladies must also wear a hat.
Queen Anne or Village Enclosure: Ladies are required to wear a hat as well as a smart dress. Men must wear a suit and tie.
Windsor Enclosure: Both men and ladies may wear smart casual attire.
Please note that dress codes may not be as strict for meetings other than Royal Ascot.
In 2018, a win for Poet’s Word enabled Sir Michael Stoute to surpass his late friend’s Sir Henry Cecil record as the trainer to have saddled most Royal Ascot winners.
Around 300,000 punters pack into Royal Ascot every year.
Punters at Royal Ascot consume around 5,000 kilos of Salmon, 3,500 lobsters, 5,000 steaks, 7,000 rumps of lamb, 3,000 kilos of beef, and 56,000 bottles of champagne.
Address and Contact Details
Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot SL5 7JX
Phone Number: 0844 346 3000
Free Tips for Ascot
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