Ascot Racecourse

Infobox UK Racecourse
Name = Ascot

Website =
Location = Ascot, Berkshire
Coordinates = coord|51|24|58|N|0|40|37|W|type:landmark_scale:10000_region:GB
Owner = Crown Estate
Opened = 11 August 1711
Channel = At The Races
CourseType = Flat
National Hunt
NotableRaces = Ascot Gold Cup
Prev = Aintree
Next = Ayr

Ascot Racecourse is an English racecourse, located in the village of Ascot, Berkshire used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 31 annual Group 1 races, the same number as Newmarket. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle, and owned by the Crown Estate. [cite-web|title=The Crown Estate Profile|url=]

Ascot today stages twenty-five days of racing over the course of the year, comprising sixteen Flat meetings held in the months of May and October. The Royal Meeting, held in June, remains a major draw, the highlight being the Ascot Gold Cup. The most prestigious race is the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes run over the course in July.


Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne. The first race, "Her Majesty's Plate," with a purse of 100 guineas, was held on 11 August 1711. Seven horses competed, each carrying a weight of 12 stones (76 kg). This first race comprised three separate four-mile (6437 m) .

In 1813, Parliament passed an act to ensure that the grounds would remain a public racecourse. In 1913, Parliament passed an act creating the Ascot Authority, an entity that manages the racecourse to this day. From its creation until 1945, the only racing that took place at Ascot was the Royal Meeting, a four-day event. Since that date, more fixtures have been introduced to the grounds, notably the Steeplechase and hurdles in 1965.

Ascot racecourse closed for a period of twenty months on 26 September 2004, for a £185 million redevelopment funded by Allied Irish Bank. As owner of the Ascot estate, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth reopened the racecourse on Tuesday 20th June 2006.

However upon re-opening, the new grandstand has attracted widespread criticism for failing to provide sufficient raised viewing for patrons to watch the racing, and devoting too much space to money-spinning restaurants and corporate hospitality facilities.Fact|date=September 2008 At the end of 2006 a £10 million programme of further alterations was announced to better the viewing from lower levels of the grandstand using an innovative steel composite product ("SPS" Sandwich Plate System) to reprofile the existing concrete terraces. However, the upper levels provide far less accommodation for the everyday racegoer than was present in the former stand.Fact|date=August 2008

Royal Ascot

The centrepiece of Ascot’s year, Royal Ascot is the world’s most famous race meeting, steeped in history dating back to 1711. The royal family attend the meeting, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. The Royal Enclosure has a strict dress code—male s must wear full morning dress including a top hat, whilst ladies must not show bare midriffs or shoulders and must wear hats. Outside the Royal Enclosure the dress code is less severe, but many people choose to wear formal dress anyway. Traditionally to be admitted to the Royal Enclosure for the first time one must either be a guest of a member or be sponsored for membership by a member who has attended at least four times. However, controversially in 2007 Royal Enclosure day passes were also issued with hospitality packages.

Over 300,000 people make the annual visit to Berkshire during Royal Ascot week, making this Europe’s best-attended race meeting. Many of the visitors know nothing about racing, and are there purely for the social side and to drink large quantities of champagne. This leads to a split among racing fans, some of whom are glad to see racing in the spotlight, and getting more attention, while others do not like the meeting despite the quality of racing.

There are 16 Group races on offer, with at least one Group One event on each of the five days. The Ascot Gold Cup is on Ladies' Day on the Thursday. There is over £3,000,000 of prize money on offer.

Notable races

Royal Ascot

* Coventry Stakes
* King's Stand Stakes - Group 1
* St. James's Palace Stakes - Group 1
* Queen Anne Stakes - Group 1
* Jersey Stakes
* Windsor Forest Stakes
* Prince of Wales's Stakes - Group 1
* Royal Hunt Cup
* Queen Mary Stakes
* Norfolk Stakes
* Ribblesdale Stakes
* Ascot Gold Cup - Group 1
* Albany Stakes
* King Edward VII Stakes
* Coronation Stakes - Group 1
* Queen's Vase
* Chesham Stakes
* Hardwicke Stakes
* Golden Jubilee Stakes - Group 1
* Wokingham Stakes
* Queen Alexandra Stakes

= Other flat races =

* Sagaro Stakes
* Summer Mile Stakes
* Princess Margaret Stakes
* King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Group 1
* Royal Lodge Stakes
* Fillies' Mile - Group 1
* Queen Elizabeth II Stakes - Group 1
* Cumberland Lodge Stakes
* Diadem Stakes
* Bengough Memorial Stakes
* Cornwallis Stakes
* Autumn Stakes

National Hunt races:
* Long Walk Hurdle
* Victor Chandler Chase
* Ascot Chase
* Reynoldstown Novices' Chase


External links

* [ Main Ascot website]
* [ Royal Ascot website]
* [ Course guide on GG.COM]
* [ Royal Ascot Guide]
* [ Course guide on At The Races]

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