Royal Ascot: Everything you need to know about Flat racing’s flagship festival

Royal Ascot is one of the most famous horse racing events in the world and even those who don’t follow the sport are aware of it. Scheduled to take place every June, it’s five days of top-drawer Flat racing which is full of international flavour. We’ve put together a Royal Ascot guide that includes all the key stuff you need to know. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.

When/Where is it?

Royal Ascot takes place when the summer is getting into gear in June every year. Ascot racecourse is in Berkshire and it’s a little over an hour away from London and its location close to the M4 motorway makes it easy to get to.

Dress Codes

There are four different enclosures at Royal Ascot and each has a slightly different dress code so it’s important to find that out before if you’re planning on attending. These enclosures are as follows:

  • Royal
  • Queen Anne
  • Village
  • Windsor

For obvious reasons the Royal Enclosure has the strictest dress code and whilst there is no enforced code for the Windsor Enclosure, racegoers are encouraged to dress in formal daywear. Everything you need to know can be found in the what to wear section of Ascot’s website.

Day 1 (Tuesday)

Queen Anne Stakes (1m Group 1, 4YO+)

Coventry Stakes (6f Group 2, 2YO)

King Charles III Stakes (5f Group 1, 3YO+)

St James’s Palace Stakes (1m Group 1, 3YO colts)

Ascot Stakes (2m4f handicap, 4YO+)

Wolferton Stakes (1m2f Listed, 4YO+)

Copper Horse Handicap (1m6f handicap, 4YO+)

Tuesday is always an exciting day as there are no fewer than three Group 1 races on the schedule. The St James’s Palace Stakes is usually the pick of the bunch as the best three-year-old milers in Europe go toe-to-toe.

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Queen Mary Stakes (5f Group 2, 2YO fillies)

Queen’s Vase (1m6f Group 2, 3YO)

Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m Group 2, 4YO+ fillies & mares)

Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m2f Group 1, 4YO+)

Royal Hunt Cup (1m handicap, 3YO+)

Kensington Palace Stakes (1m handicap, 4YO+ fillies & mares)

Windsor Castle Stakes (5f Listed, 2YO)

One of the most prestigious races of the entire week, the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is packed full of quality as the best middle-distance older horses fight for superiority. It’s definitely one of the week’s highlights and there isn’t a trainer alive who doesn’t want to win it.

Day 3 (Thursday)

Norfolk Stakes (5f Group 2, 2YO)

King George V Stakes (1m4f handicap, 3YO)

Ribblesdale Stakes (1m4f Group 2, 3YO fillies)

Gold Cup (2m4f Group 1, 4YO+) 

Britannia Stakes (1m handicap, 3YO colts & geldings)

Hampton Court Stakes (1m2f Group 3, 3YO)

Buckingham Palace Stakes (7f handicap, 3YO+)

The stayers take centre stage on Day 3 as the 2m4f Ascot Gold Cup is the feature race of the day. Legends are made in this race and the outstanding Yeats holds the record with four wins.

Day 4 (Friday)

Albany Stakes (6f Group 3, 2YO fillies)

Commonwealth Cup (6f Group 1, 3YO colts & fillies)

Coronation Stakes (1m Group 1, 3YO fillies)

Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (1m4f handicap, 3YO+)

Sandringham Stakes (1m handicap, 3YO fillies)

King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f Group 2, 3YO colts & geldings)

Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes (5f handicap, 3YO)

A double Group 1 day is always worth getting excited about and the three-year-old sprinters look to establish themselves as future Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes contenders in the Commonwealth Cup.

Day 5 (Saturday)

Chesham Stakes (7f Listed, 2YO)

Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f Group 2, 4YO+)

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (6f Group 1, 4YO+)

Jersey Stakes (7f Group 3, 3YO)

Wokingham Stakes (6f handicap, 4YO+)

Golden Gates Stakes (1m2f handicap, 3YO)

Queen Alexandra Stakes (2m5f+ Class 2, 4YO+)

Speaking of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, it’s the final Group 1 event of the festival and it’s Saturday’s highlight. The Hardwicke Stakes is also an excellent race and the Chesham tends to produce quality juveniles.

Trainers and jockeys to follow

There are a number of trainers and jockeys that tend to thrive on the big occasion and Royal Ascot is the biggest of them all. The trainer and jockey combination that everyone fears is Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. They’re probably the best around and their runners can rarely be ruled out.

US-based trainer Wesley Ward usually brings over a strong contingent of juveniles and he’s one to keep an eye on. Representing the home team, John & Thady Gosden tend to have plenty of major chances and rarely come away without a few winners. William Buick is one of the finest jockeys around and his boss Charlie Appleby is worth following.

Frankie Dettori has gone over to the States now but if he was to return there will be plenty willing to back whatever he’s riding.

If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.

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