What makes Royal Ascot such a unique occasion?
Royal Ascot is an annual horse racing meeting held at the Ascot racecourse in Berkshire. It takes place over five days, and it is known in the sport as the royal meeting. Here is a look at what makes the event so special, and some things to remember for those planning a trip to the prestigious event.
Best horses in the world
Although it is not officially described as a world championship meeting, Royal Ascot sees the best horses from around the globe meet in their respective divisions. At the end of the week, we find out who are the best turf horses on the planet.
The 2022 King’s Stand Stakes is the best example of the leading internationals clashing in their division. The top two horses in the Royal Ascot odds this year are from the USA and Australia: Golden Pal is the 15/8 favourite to give US-based trainer Wesley Ward yet another winner at the meeting.
With the quality so high, every year Royal Ascot produces memorable moments on the track, whether it is record-breaking times, horses coming of age or history being made, like Yeats did in 2009 when he landed a fourth Ascot Gold Cup.
This year’s Royal Ascot meeting features 35 races and eight of those are of Group One level – the highest in the sport.
Royal stamp of approval
Royal Ascot dates all the way back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded the racecourse. The Royal family has staged a procession across the course before racing begins ever since 1825. King George IV established the tradition, and his successors have continued it ever since.
Queen Elizabeth II is a big horse racing fan, and her appearance at Royal Ascot adds extra attention to the meeting. The world’s media are keen to see what colour hat and dress she wears each day.
Another tradition kept by the racecourse is the singing of the national anthem ahead of the opening race on each of the five days. This is something that is not replicated at any other racecourse across the UK.
The importance of fashion
As much as racing is the primary focus at Royal Ascot, fashion is also very important. Racegoers are encouraged to wear their best suits and outfits for the event.
The dress code at Royal Ascot is much stricter than a standard race meeting, so it is a good idea to check what spectators are required to wear before attending. It’s also worth noting that each enclosure has its own dress code.
For those who are proud of what they are wearing on the day, there are various competitions to enter. Prizes are handed out for the best hat, dress, suit, and so on. Anyone who’s ever watched the meeting on television before will have a sense of how much time the broadcasters spend discussing the fashion, as well as the racing!
The editorial unit