Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of the British social calendar and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. This year Royal Ascot will take place between the 14th and 18th June. If travelling by public transport rather than by car, the Ascot racecourse is easily accessible by train from Waterloo Station in central London. The journey takes approximately 50 minutes and the railway station is a seven-minute walk from the racecourse.
The opening race on Tuesday 14th is the Queen Anne Stakes in honour of the founder. However, the Gold Cup is the most important race of the meeting and is run on Thursday. Open to horses aged four years or older, it is run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs (4,023 metres). Throughout the week there is a strict dress code but Gold Cup day is designated Ladies’ Day. This is a day when women have the chance to dress up in their finery showing off their good taste in fashion especially with their hats.
The Queen has attended every Royal Meeting during her reign. The Royal Family travels from Windsor Castle every day in open horse-drawn carriages to watch the racing. The Royal Procession takes place at the start of each race day. Traditionally the Queen presents the Gold Cup and The Diamond Jubilee Stakes. New versions of these trophies are made each year and presented to the winners to keep.
The Queen is owner and breeder of many thoroughbred horses and shares her interest in horses with many members of her family. In fact the Queen’s own horses have won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. The names of many of the week’s races have a Royal theme, such as ‘King George V Stakes’, ‘Diamond Jubilee Stakes’ and ‘Windsor Castle Stakes’.
In 1711 Queen Anne first saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot. Whilst out riding near Windsor Castle she came upon an area of open heath that looked “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”. The racecourse was laid out and the first race meeting ever held at Ascot took place on Saturday 11th August that same year. In 1813 Parliament passed an Act of Enclosure, which ensured that Ascot Heath would be kept and used as a racecourse for the public in the future. Racing at Ascot was now secure. The Ascot summer race meeting officially became a Royal week in 1911.
For more information go to: https://www.ascot.co.uk/Royal-Ascot.
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