Famous the world over, Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England, is famous for its pomp and pageantry aligned with quality, excellence, and thoroughbred horse racing. Located less than an hour from London and approximately 6 miles from Windsor Castle, the highlight of Ascot’s calendar is Royal Ascot, which takes place each June and is made up of five days of top-level racing that punters can enjoy with the queen in attendance. This annual regal event opens with a Royal Procession before the Queen Anne Stakes are held, named after the 16th-century queen whose legacy this course is.
Away from Royal Ascot, the course hosts 13 of the UK’s 36 annual Group 1 horse races as part of 26 days of both flat and jump racing over the course of the year. Each meeting has a unique theme and atmosphere such as the King George VI Weekend in July. The course, owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd, stages 18 flat meetings from May through October as part of its annual offering which includes Queen Elizabeth Stakes run over the course, also in July. Jump racing at Ascot is held throughout the winter months, during the UK’s National Hunt season.
Ascot Racecourse History
The 300-year story of racing at Ascot began in 1711 when Queen Anne first saw the potential for a racecourse in the area while she was out riding on the heath and discovered a patch of land near Windsor forest that occurred to her as being ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch. And so, she established a racecourse near Ascot village, which was close to her hunting hound’s kennels. By July that same year, the London Gazette announced that Her Majesty’s plates of 50 and 100 guineas would be contested at Ascot the following month and today Queen Anne is remembered by the opening race at Royal Ascot, the Queen Anne Stakes.
Racing at Ascot was temporarily suspended after Anne died in August 1714 with no further record of Ascot races until 1720 as neither of the following monarchs, George I and George II, held any affection for Ascot. This all changed, however, with the latter’s son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland who organized the racecourse’s first four-day Tuesday-to-Friday fixture in 1749. By 1785, the Straight Mile had been constructed before George IV, in January 1820, ordered the construction of a new stand, which included a lawn for the exclusive use the royal family, which today forms the Royal Enclosure.
Ascot Racecourse track configuration
Two tracks, both Flat and Jumps for chases and hurdles
Right-handed, triangular circuit course, slightly in excess of 1 mile, 6 furlongs
Straight mile course and the Old mile course join the round course in Swinley Bottom
Ascot race track bias
Ascot’s round track is a large galloping run of 14 furlongs in circumference with a run-in of 2½ furlongs. Most races that are shorter than a mile are likely to be run over the straight course, which joins the round track at Swinley Bottom. Going conditions are known to vary here due to drainage clearing quicker in parts, notably the straight which drains quicker than the rest and which can become exceptionally testing when soft.
In general, hold up horses have been heavily favored due to those ridden prominently being extremely difficult to peg back, making positioning key. The round course is right-handed with a downhill charge into Swinley Bottom before a shorter run-in from the final turn. Because the run-in on Ascot’s round course is relatively short, you can get into trouble trying to come through rivals late on so it’s best to look for a front runner.
Ascot race track best trainers
With a healthy blend of the highest quality flat and jump cards throughout the year, Ascot is home to some of the very best racing in the world. Hosting 13 of the UK’s 36 annual Group 1 races as part of 26 racing days, this is a course where, thanks to prestige and heritage, all of the top trainers aspire to create winners.
Each and every year, particularly in the summer months when Ascot really comes into its own, legends of the turf are created. But, who are the names behind the horses, the trainers that make it all possible? Take a look for yourselves at the top five trainers by win rate over the past three years.
- Robert Walford (50% win rate)
- Ian Williams (40% win rate)
- N J Henderson (29.41% win rate)
- D Pipe (28.57% win rate)
- Dr R D P Newland (22.22% win rate)
Ascot race track best Jockeys
Ascot has seen some truly magical moments over the years, but the most famous of them all has to be in 1996 when Italian jockey Frankie Dettori rode all seven winners on the card here during the Festival of British Racing and instantly made a name for himself in the Ascot halls of fame. While this has never been bettered or even equaled, there are still a number of jockeys who have fared better at Ascot than others.
Just take a look at these top five Ascot jockey win rates.
- Jack Sherwood (60% win rate)
- Nico de Boinville (33.33% win rate)
- James Best 33.33% win rate)
- J E Moore (25% win rate)
- H Cobden (22.73% win rate)
Ascot racing season
While it remains true that the Berkshire course hosts a number of top-class National Hunt fixtures over the winter months, Ascot isn’t widely considered among the horse racing community as a jumps course. At least not one to rival Cheltenham, Aintree, or Doncaster. Indeed, Ascot’s well-earned reputation is as a world-renowned flat course, the undisputed highlight of which is June’s five day long Royal Meeting.
An event to see and be seen at, Royal Ascot is a high-quality mix of racing, stunning fashion, extravagant hats, and royalty. Almost all of Ascot’s other famous events are also run on the flat and over the warmer months such as The Shergar Cup (named after the missing Derby winner), British Champions Day, and The King George, all of which make up Ascot’s fantastic annual offering.
Ascot race track stakes and Graded Stakes calendar for 2019
Saturday 19th January 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 16th February 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Sunday 31st March 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Wednesday 1st May 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 10th May 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 11th May 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Tuesday 18th June 2019 – Royal Ascot – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Wednesday 19th June 2019 – Royal Ascot – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Thursday 20th June 2019 – Royal Ascot – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 21st June 2019 – Royal Ascot – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 22nd June 2019 – Royal Ascot – Flat
Saturday 13th July 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 26th July 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 27th July 2019 – King George – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 10th August 2019 – Shergar Cup – Flat – Af
Saturday 7th September 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 4th October 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 5th October 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 19th October 2019 – British Champions Day – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 2nd November 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 22nd November 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 23rd November 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 20th December 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 21st December 2019 – Jump – Afternoon – Turf
Ascot Racecourse address and website
Ascot Racecourse Limited, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JX, United Kingdom