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Royal Ascot
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Why is it called Royal Ascot?

Ascot racecourse has always had a royal connection as the track was opened by Queen Anne back in 1711. The first ever race at Ascot took place on the 11th of August of that year and was called Her Majesty’s Plate. 

That contest could hardly be more different to the Flat races run there now as it consisted of three heats which were four miles long! The winner received prize money of 100 Guineas which equates to £105 in modern currency, although that would have been substantially more valuable in the 1700s than it is today.

Horse Racing

The Royal Connection

The origins of modern-day Royal Ascot date back to 1807, when the Gold Cup was run for the first time. That race is still one of the highlights of the royal meeting and the 2024 renewal boasts the only odds-on ante-post favourite of the entire five-day festival. 

Queen Elizabeth II was always an avid racing fan and maintained a breeding operation throughout her reign. The Royal colours were carried to success in the 2013 Gold Cup when Estimate won the big race for Her Majesty. Sir Michael Stoute’s mare made history as the Queen became the first ruling monarch to win the race.

King Charles III has carried on the tradition and Desert Hero scored at the royal meeting last year to provide him with his first winner. Another royal winner or two this year would be popular with the racegoers and our current monarch has a long way to go to catch up with his mother’s total of 22.

Members of the Royal Family are often tasked with presenting winning connections with their prizes. This means that owners, trainers and jockeys will get an experience they’ll never forget if they’re lucky enough to have a winner!

Which are the King's horses racing at Royal Ascot? 

King Charles III, alongside Queen Camilla, currently has three entrants for this year's royal meeting, including the aforementioned Desert Hero, who is set to run in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Treasure (Ribblesdale Stakes) and High Order (King Edward VII Stakes) are the monarch's other entrants, although that number could rise as the meeting draws nearer.

Is King Charles attending Royal Ascot 2024?

Racing fans will be delighted to hear that King Charles III does plan to attend at least one day of Royal Ascot this year.

The King was also in attendance last year which represented his first appearance at a race meeting since coming to the throne.

Royal Parade

Royal Ascot is a unique and important part of the British cultural phenomenon as it combines elite sport, fashion, tradition and patriotism into one event which brings hundreds of thousands of people together each year.

An important part of this is the Royal Procession, which takes place before the start of racing on all five days of the meeting. This is a tradition which has taken place since the 1820s and it really puts the Royal into Royal Ascot.

A horse-drawn carriage parades in front of the stands and important members of the royal family greet the public. Fashion-conscious racegoers get a chance to see what the royals are wearing and there was always plenty of interest in what colours Queen Elizabeth II would model.

Fashion and pageantry 

Ascot’s world-famous dress code was established at around the same time as the Royal Procession by Beau Brummell and it has become almost as significant as the racing itself. One could even argue that fashion has surpassed the sporting element from the perspective of cultural significance. 

We can say for sure that the focus on fashion adds to the sense of occasion and terrestrial TV coverage also highlights this aspect with separate fashion-related segments. This doesn’t always go down a treat with the racing purists but it does open coverage up to new audiences.

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