By: Scott McGlynn
Royal Ascot has been a showpiece event in the British horse racing calendar since its inception in 1711. Attended by members of the Royal Family on each of the days racing, it is now seen as one of the most important events of the flat horse racing calendar, offering high quality action with horses, jockeys and trainers from around the world battling it out for prize money in excess of £5 million. Run over five consecutive days and with six races per day, Royal Ascot regularly attracts over 300,000 visitors making it the best attended horse race meeting in Europe.
The highlights of day one are the two Group 1 races – The Queen Anne Stakes and The St James’s Palace Stakes. The Queen Anne is run over a mile and attracts the top milers from the UK and the rest of the world. The St James’s Palace is also run over a mile, with runners being restricted to three-year old colts. Normally horses that have been successful in the British, the Irish and the French 2000 Guineas compete in the St James’s Palace and this year is no different, with the winners of all three races due to compete.
Day two sees the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes run over a mile and two furlongs. Like the Queen Anne Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes regularly attracts the top middle distance horses from around the globe with runners from as far afield as the US, Japan and Australia entered in this years race.
The Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup is the highlight of day three, with horses battling it out over the marathon two miles and four furlong distance. The unique distance of the Gold Cup means that it attracts the best staying horses from around Europe. It is one of only three Royal Ascot races that allows the winning owners each year to keep the trophy permanently. Day four’s showpiece race is the Group 1 Coronation Stakes. Run over one mile, this race is exclusively for three-year old fillies and historically features fillies that have run well in the British, Irish and French Guineas earlier in the racing season. The final day of the meeting features the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes which is run over one mile and six furlongs. Open to horses aged four years and older it also attracts an international field battling it out for a share of the £525,000 purse. With high-class fields, betting turnover at the Royal Ascot meeting is always high. Ante-post markets are available now at most online bookmakers for the majority of races, offering the savvy punter a chance to potentially get some early value.