Ascot Racecourse – Your Guide to Britain’s Best Racecourse
Ascot Racecourse was opened in 1711 by Queen Anne and her name still adorns the opening race of the Royal meeting. Royal Ascot takes place over five days in June and is one of the highlights of Britain’s summer social calendar. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in July and Champions Day in October are other feature events at the track which also hosts top quality National Hunt racing.
Royal Ascot is one of the finest racing festivals in the world and features eighteen Group races. The meeting attracts some of the world’s top thoroughbreds and more than 300,000 spectators over the course of the week. Each day begins with the Royal Procession with the action beamed live to a worldwide TV audience of around 650 million.
*The 2020 Royal meeting was held behind closed doors due to the Covid Pandemic. The races were re-scheduled with the Ribblesdale Stakes and King Edward VII Stakes taking place on the opening day. This was to provide extra time for Epsom Derby and Oaks entries to take up both engagements. There were also consolation races for the Royal Hunt Cup and Wokingham. The schedule for Royal Ascot 2021 is yet to be confirmed.
Royal Ascot Day 1 Guide
Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
The Queen Anne Stakes is the first Group 1 race of the week and notable past winners include Goldikova (2010) and Frankel (2012).
Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
The Coventry Stakes is one of the top two-year-old races of the meeting and famous past winners include Mill Reef (1970), Chief Singer (1983) and Dawn Approach (2012).
King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)
Top class sprinter Battaash ended his Royal Ascot hoodoo at the fourth attempt in 2020 by winning the King’s Stand Stakes. He had finished runner-up in this race for the previous two seasons.
St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1)
The St James’s Palace Stakes is one of the top mile races of the season for three-year-old colts and often attracts Guineas winners from England, Ireland and France. Notable past winners include Brigadier Gerard (1972), Rock Of Gibraltar (2002) and Frankel (2011).
The Ascot Stakes is a handicap over two and a half miles and is open to four-year-olds and upwards.
The Wolferton Stakes was introduced in 2002 and is a listed race over a mile and a quarter.
Royal Ascot Day 2 Guide
Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
The Jersey Stakes is one of the top seven furlong races of the season and has been won by many subsequent Group 1 winners including Observatory (2000), Proclamation (2005) and Ribchester (2016).
Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
The Queen Mary Stakes is the top two-year-old race for fillies at the Royal meeting.
Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)
This race for fillies and mares was introduced in 2004 and Sir Michael Stoute has been successful four times, most recently with Integral (2014).
Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)
The only Group 1 action on day 2 is the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over ten furlongs. Famous past winners include Dubai Millennium (2000) and Ouija Board (2006).
Royal Hunt Cup
The Royal Hunt Cup over a mile is one of the big betting races of the week.
The Sandringham Handicap was formerly run as the Fern Hill Rated Stakes until 2001.
Royal Ascot Day 3 Guide
Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
The Norfolk Stakes is a five furlong race for two-year-olds and has twice been won by American trainer Wesley Ward.
Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3)
The Hampton Court Stakes is for three-year-olds over ten furlongs and has been won four times by Aidan O’Brien, most recently in 2020 with Russian Emperor.
Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2)
The Ribblesdale Stakes is known as the Ascot Oaks and is confined to three-year-old fillies over a mile and a half.
Gold Cup (Group 1)
The Ascot Gold Cup was first run in 1807 and is Ascot’s longest surviving race. John Gosden’s Stradivarius completed a hat-trick in this race in 2019. He became only the third horse in history to win three Ascot Gold Cups after Sagaro (1975-1977) and four-time winner Yeats (2006-2009).
The Britannia Stakes is a very competitive one-mile handicap for three-year-olds.
King George V Stakes
The King George V Stakes is a three-year-old handicap over a mile and a half.
Royal Ascot Day 4 Guide
Albany Stakes (Group 3)
The Albany Stakes is a six furlong race for two-year-old fillies.
King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
The King Edward VII Stakes is sometimes referred to as the Ascot Derby and is confined to three-year-old colts and geldings.
Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)
The Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds over six furlongs was added to the programme in 2015 with victory going to Champion sprinter Muhaarar.
Coronation Stakes (Group 1)
The Coronation Stakes is confined to three-year-old fillies over a mile and is often the target for 1000 Guineas winners from across Europe. Notable recent winners include Ghanaati (2009), Winter (2017) and Alpha Centauri (2018).
Duke of Edinburgh Stakes
The Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes is a one and a half mile handicap for three-year-olds and upwards.
Queen’s Vase (Group 2)
The Queen’s Vase for three-year-olds was formerly run over two miles but was cut to a mile and six furlongs in 2017. It is a recognised trial for the St Leger with Kew Gardens winning both races in 2018.
Royal Ascot Day 5 Guide
The Chesham Stakes for two-year-olds over seven furlongs is becoming an increasingly significant 2000 Guineas trial. Churchill won here in 2016 and Pinatubo was victorious in 2019.
Windsor Castle Stakes
The Windsor Castle Stakes is for two-year-olds over five furlongs and provided a Royal winner in Tactical in 2020.
Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
Sir Michael Stoute has won the mile and a half Hardwicke Stakes a record eleven times, most recently with Crystal Ocean in 2018.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the final Group 1 of the meeting and is for four-year-olds and upwards over six furlongs.
The Wokingham is a fiercely competitive six furlong handicap with Cape Byron (2019) being the only winning favourite in the past ten seasons.
Queen Alexandra Stakes
The Queen Alexandra Stakes is one of the longest flat races in the calendar over two and three-quarter miles.
Champions Day takes place in mid-October and is the most valuable day’s racing in the British racing year. The Champion Stakes was transferred from Newmarket to Ascot in 2011 and is the feature race on a top quality card. Champions Day 2020 will take place on Saturday 17th October.
The Group 2 Long Distance Cup opens proceedings followed by the British Champions Sprint, the first of four consecutive Group 1 races. The British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes and the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes precede the ten-furlong Champion Stakes.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes was first run in 1955 and is one of the most prestigious mile races in Europe. The roll of honour includes dual winners Brigadier Gerard (1971 and 1972) and Rose Bowl (1975 and 1976) as well as racing legends Dubai Millennium (1999) and Frankel (2011).
The British Champion Stakes is the richest ten furlong race in Europe and was originally run at Newmarket in 1877. Notable past winners include Pebbles (1985), Triptych (1986, 1987), Cirrus des Aigles (2011) and Frankel (2012). Frankel’s victory was an emotional success for the late Sir Henry Cecil as the horse ended his 14-race career unbeaten.
Ascot jumps races
National Hunt racing was introduced at Ascot in 1965 and soon became established as one of the top jumping venues. The course stages three Grade 1 races; The Clarence House Chase, the Ascot Chase and the Long Walk Hurdle. Famous chasers to win here include Arkle, Mill House, Flyingbolt and Desert Orchid.
Ascot is home to the Shergar Cup, a challenge event between teams of top International jockeys. The event was first staged at Goodwood in 1999 before moving to Ascot the following year. The Girls team scored a famous victory in 2015 and repeated the performance in 2018.
Ascot Racing Tips
Champions Day 2020 looks set to live up to its star billing with a host of top International horses among the entries. John Gosden holds a very strong hand, led by French Derby winner Mishriff in the Champion Stakes. He also has the ante-post favourite for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in St James’s Palace Stakes winner Palace Pier.
Dream Of Dreams will be difficult to beat in the Champions Sprint Stakes after his impressive victories at Newbury and Haydock. Aidan O’Brien has several options for Irish Champion Stakes winner Magical including the Champion Stakes and the Fillies and Mares Stakes.
Ascot Course Guide
Where is Ascot Racecourse?
Ascot Racecourse is approximately 6 miles from Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
Ascot Racecourse Distance & Information
Ascot is widely regarded as one of the fairest racecourses in the country. It is a galloping track of a mile and three-quarters with a one mile straight course. The uphill finish can put the emphasis on stamina and there is no discernible draw bias.
Best Flat Jockeys for Ascot 2020
Frankie Dettori is always a popular Ascot bet having ridden his “Magnificent Seven” here on 23rd September 1996. The Italian won on all seven mounts at the accumulated odds of 25,051-1. His incredible achievement is believed to have cost the bookmakers around £30 million. Ryan Moore became the first post-war jockey to ride nine winners at the Royal meeting in 2015.
Best National Hunt Jockeys for Ascot 2020
Harry Cobden and Nico de Boinville are the jockeys to follow for your Ascot bets over jumps. They ride for the powerful stables of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson respectively, both regularly among the winners. Robbie Power returns a very high percentage of winners from his Ascot rides.
Ascot Racecourse Contact Information
The official website for Ascot Racecourse is ascot.co.uk