Royal Ascot festival explained

Royal Ascot festival explained


Royal Ascot is a five-day festival with the best horses from around the world competing at the highest level.

The action will be broadcast in 175 territories with a reach of 650 million households. It will be live on Tellytrack.

Why is Royal Ascot so important?

Founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, Ascot boasts a rich history. Royal Ascot dates back to 1911 and is the highlight at the track each year.

The Queen has attended every royal meeting during her reign, arriving by horse-drawn carriage in a royal procession each day.

More than 300,000 people make their way to Berkshire for this prestigious meeting annually and are treated to a host of top-quality races, with the best trainers, jockeys and owners in attendance.

This year there will be £7,330,000 (about R137 million) in prize-money on offer, with no race worth less than £90,000 (about R1.7 million).

What is the feature race?

There are eight Group 1 contests at Royal Ascot and the standout is arguably the Gold Cup, which was first run in 1807. The trophy is presented by the Queen, who became the first ruling monarch to win the race when Estimate won in 2013.

Run over 4000m, the Gold Cup is the most prestigious event for stayers and will take place at Thursday, 20 June.

What are the other highlights?

There are three Group 1s on the opening Tuesday, 18 June: the Queen Anne, the King’s Stand and the St James’s Palace.

Frankel, who retired unbeaten after 14 starts, won the St James’s Palace in 2011 and the Queen Anne the following year.

There is only one Group 1 on Wednesday, 19 June: the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, won last year by Poet’s Word for Sir Michael Stoute.

Alongside the Gold Cup on Thursday, there are two Group 2s, including the Ribblesdale Stakes for fillies, which was won last year by Magic Wand.

There is a Group 1 double-header on Friday 21 June with the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes, which was established in 1840 to mark the coronation of Queen Victoria two years earlier.

The Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the feature race on the final day of the meeting and was won last year by Merchant Navy for top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

What is the Royal Ascot dress-code?

Formal attire is essential in the Royal Enclosure, with ladies required to wear dresses and skirts falling above the knee and a hat, while men must wear a waistcoat and tie, a top hat and plain black shoes.

In the Queen Anne Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure, men must wear suits – socks are mandatory – and ladies must be formal with a hat.

Quickfire stats

Top trainer: Sir Michael Stoute leads the way among those still training with 79 runners, while his closest pursuer Aidan O’Brien is on 65.

Top jockey: With 60 Royal Ascot winners, Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey in the weighing room, with Ryan Moore, who had a record nine winners at the meeting in 2015, behind him on 53.

Course records: Miss Andretti set the record time at Ascot for 1000m in 2007 with a time of 57.44 seconds, while Alpha Centauri holds the fastest time over 1600m on the round course, after winning last year’s Coronation Stakes in a time of 1m 35.89s.

International involvement: There have been 145 overseas-trained winners at Royal Ascot since 2000, with Ireland providing 105, France 19 and the US 11. –

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