Are you ready for Royal Ascot?
A Beginner’s Guide
Racing fans, punters, fashionistas and royal watchers are all getting excited, as the one event
of the year that brings them all together draws ever closer. Forget Cheltenham, forget Aintree,
Royal Ascot is the racing event that the Queen herself has marked off on the calendar every year.
If you’ve never been before, Royal Ascot is a race meeting like no other. Here are some survival
tips to help you get the best out of this highlight of the flat racing season.
When and where
Royal Ascot takes place between 19 and 23 June at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire. It is one of the
most accessible racecourses in the UK, and many choose to arrive by train. It’s less than an hour
from London Waterloo, and the walk from Ascot station to the racecourse takes around 10 minutes.
The course is also in close proximity to the M3, M4 and M25, but if you arrive by car, be prepared
for congestion on the local roads as you get close.
The first race is at 2:30PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and at 3:05PM on Tuesday and
Friday. Tickets are likely to sell fast, particularly for Ladies Day on Thursday, so it is a good idea to
get them in advance from the Ascot website.
Which horses to back
With six races every day, there is no shortage of on-track action. The owners and trainers are still
confirming exactly which horses will be running in which races, but it is slowly taking shape, and
the bookmakers are already offering early odds on the favourites for the big races. It’s worth keeping
an eye on sites like WinningSportsBets to get a tipster’s-eye view of the latest horse racing betting tips
as the rumours unfold and the form is evaluated.
One of the most eagerly awaited races will be the Gold Cup on Ladies Day. Last year, Order of St George
was the hot favourite, but was pipped at the post by Big Orange in one of the most exciting races of the
year. Can he make up for it this year? The bookies seem to think so and have him as favourite again,
although there are plenty of other horses in with a shout. Stradivarius and Vazirabad are two that have
caught the early attention of the tipsters.
What to wear
Given that you stand a chance of rubbing shoulders with royalty, it is understandable that there are some
strict dress codes in place, at least in certain enclosures.
If you are lucky enough to gain admittance to the Royal Enclosure, it’s full regalia all the way – tie, waistcoat,
black shoes and top hat for the gentlemen, and dresses for the ladies, that must be no shorter than just above
the knee. Naturally, Royal Ascot is all about the hats, and many ladies choose to make something of a statement,
especially on Ladies Day! Children aged 10-16 are allowed in the Royal Enclosure on the final two days of
Royal Ascot, and must also follow a formal dress code.
The Grandstand Enclosure also has a dress code, but it is a little less formal. Men are required to wear a suit
with a shirt and tie, and the ladies can opt for trousers instead of a dress if they prefer.
The least formal area is the Silver Ring. Here, there is no official dress code, and smart casual attire will be just
fine. Note that replica sports shirts are not allowed, so leave all thoughts of the football World Cup at home and
simply enjoy some wonderful days of horse racing.