An Introduction to Ascot Racecourse
Ascot Racecourse is a leading racecourse for thoroughbred horse racing in the United Kingdom. It is situated in Ascot, Berkshire, England and is in close proximity to Windsor Castle. The royal family are frequent visitors and are part of one the most notable events held here.
The racecourse opened in 1711 and is owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd and managed by the Ascot Authority. All of the events are screened on Racing UK and there are multiple events held throughout the year.
The home of the Royal Ascot Cricket Club, which was founded in 1897, is located in the centre of the racecourse and Ascot United F.C. can be found on the far eastern side of the property.
Horse Racing Events Held at Ascot
There are 26 horse racing events in total that are held throughout the year at the racecourse. These include 18 flat meetings that are during the months of May to October. Various jump meetings are held in the winter months. Notable events include British Champions Day and the Shergar Cup.
British champions Day is the final to the British Champions Series. The event was designed to attract public appeal and is one to rival the Breeder’s Cup and Arc Weekend. The first of this event was held in 2011.
The Shergar Cup is an annual event held early August. It is named after the 1981 Epsom Derby winner, Shergar, and had been sponsored by the horse’s owner Aga Khan until Dubai Duty Free took over sponsorship.
In June the major event is the Royal Meeting which features 18 races over the week including Gold Cup, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Duke of Cambridge Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup. This is the best attended horse racing event in Europe as more than 300 000 people attend annually.
It is in July, however the racecourse holds its most prestigious event which is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Brief History of Ascot Racecourse
In 1711 Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse. The first ever race held at the racecourse was Her Majesty’s Plate. There was win of 100 guineas and three separate heats of four miles were raced by seven horses weighing 12 stones or 76 kilograms each and a favourite for horse betting.
Later in 1813 an Act was passed by Parliament which decreed the racecourse would remain public. In 1839 a grandstand was built.
Parliament went on to pass another Act in 1913 which established the Ascot Authority as management for the racecourse.
From 1711 to 1945 the only racing event held at the racecourse was the Royal Meeting but from that date on further events were added to the racecourse.
Ascot Racecourse in Popular Culture
Ascot Racecourse is well-known around the world as it has been featured in many films and is the subject of the song called Ascot Gavotte.
There is a scene from the My Fair Lady musical that is set at the racecourse. The racecourse was also a filming location in 1985 for the James Bond film A View to a Kill and again later in 2012 for another James Bond film Skyfall.