Royal Ascot is one of the most famous race meetings in the
world, and it’s the best attended in Europe. Over a quarter of a
million people visit Ascot Racecourse during Royal Ascot, and
the five-day event features top class racing and a number of
Group 1 races. The highlight of the meeting is the Gold Cup,
which takes place on the third day (Ladies’ Day). More details
on the Royal Ascot race meeting can be found below.
History of Ascot Racecourse & Royal Ascot
Ascot Racecourse is over 300 years old, founded in 1711 by
Queen Anne. She decided the location was ideal for a racecourse
while out riding from Windsor Castle. The first meeting at Ascot
featured Her Majesty’s Plate, a three-heat race for any horse
over the age of six. Racing became commonplace, and in 1813, a
parliamentary act was passed to ensure that the land (owned by
the Crown) would be used as a public racecourse. A later act
established the Ascot Authority, still responsible for managing
the racecourse today.
The Royal Ascot meeting was the only racing that took place
at Ascot until around the middle of the 20th century. The
history of Royal Ascot essentially dates back to that first race
meeting in 1711; and since then, the race meeting has evolved
into the current format. The first records of it being a
four-day meeting are from 1768; and in 1807, the Gold Cup was
introduced. From that point on, more top class races have been
added to the event, and Royal Ascot now takes place over five
days featuring a number of Group 1 races.
Group 1 Races at Royal Ascot
There are a total of seven Group 1 races at Royal Ascot, at
least one on each of the five days. The majority of the other
races are Group 2. The schedule can be changed around, but there’s a format in place that’s generally adhered to. The first day
of the meeting, a Tuesday, opens with three Group 1 races: the
Queen Anne Stakes, The King’s Stand Stakes, and The St. James
The Queen Anne Stakes was founded in 1840, originally called
the Trial Stakes before being renamed after Queen Anne in 1930.
It’s open to Thoroughbreds aged four years and older. The
King’s Stand Stakes is open to Thoroughbreds aged three years
and older and is run over 5 furlongs. It was established in 1860
and has been part of the Global Sprint Challenge since 2005. The
St James Palace Stakes was established in 1834 and is run over 1
mile. It’s for three year old colts only.
On the second day of the Royal Ascot, the feature race is the
Prince of Wales Stakes for four year olds and older, and it’s
contested over 1 mile and 2 furlongs. The main race on the third
day is the Gold Cup, established in 1807, and often referred to
as the Ascot Gold Cup to avoid confusion with other Gold Cup
races. It’s official name is simply the Gold Cup. The race is
run over 2 miles and 4 furlongs and is the first leg of the
Stayers’ Triple Crown (the other two legs are the Goodwood Cup
and the Doncaster Cup).
On day four of Royal Ascot is the Coronation Stakes, a
one-mile race for three year old fillies first run in 1840. On
the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot, the main race is the
Diamond Jubilee Stakes. This race was founded in 1868 as the
All-Aged Stakes before being renamed the Cork and Orrery Stakes
in the 1920s. It was renamed again in 2002 to mark the Golden
Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. In 2012, the year of the Queen’s
Diamond Jubilee, it was given its current name. It’s a 6
furlong race for three-year-olds and older.
Betting on the 2020 Festival
As a five day racing event, with six races per day, there are
betting opportunities galore during Royal Ascot. Of course, you
don’t have to bet on every race, and many bettors will stick to
the big ones. However, it’s often the big events that are
hardest to predict, and you’ll frequently find better value in
some of the other races taking place. It’s a good idea to look
through the race card each day and see if there are any horses that
There are many ways to bet on horse racing, and, in our
opinion, the easiest way is to use an online betting site. If you
are going to bet online, it’s important to use a reputable and
reliable site. Any of the sites suggested on our horse racing
guide come highly recommended and provide a safe and reliable
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