Ascot Event News

Royal Ascot returns with mass crowds and scorching weather

Racings fans are decking out for the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting this summer after Ascot Racecourse confirmed that they had put a range of extra measures to protect the safety of spectators, staff, partners, guests and the local community.

While the UK is still battling COVID-19, the announcement was warmly welcomed by spectators, who have been yearning to descend upon the Racecourse after the 2020 meeting was held behind closed doors.

Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of the UK’s flat racing calendar and a summer highlight for the Queen and her family. Queen Elizabeth II has attended every Royal Ascot meet during her reign and owns many thoroughbred horses, including the esteemed Estimate.

In 1953, Her Majesty’s horse, Choir Boy, gave the Queen her first-ever Royal Ascot success after rider Doug Smith steered the gelding to glory in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Thousands of memorable moments have been made at Ascot Racecourse over the years, with some of the most iconic stemming from members of the British royal family.

Royal Ascot - Royal Procession: The Queen and her husband

Royal Ascot: The royal family’s most memorable moments

In 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan made their jaw-dropping debut at Royal Ascot. The Duchess of Sussex clad in an elegant white shirt dress by Givenchy and a wide structured hat by Irish award-winning haute couture milliner Philip Treacy.

The Duke of Sussex’s mother, Princess Diana, made her debut at the racecourse weeks before her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.

The late princess was well known for her daring fashion, and on her “Shy Di” debut at Royal Ascot, she stunned in a high-neck printed dress with pearl details, anchoring the look with white heels and a hat to match.

Besides fashion and sartorial glamour, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s ecstatic cheering for Her Majesty’s horse Estimate was a hot topic for the crowds.

There was also the time that the Queen congratulated her grandson, Prince Harry, following his excellent performance during a polo match in 2003.

So, when is Royal Ascot 2021 taking place, and why has it been allowed to go ahead if the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat?

When is Royal Ascot 2021?

Crowds will return to Ascot Racecourse to experience the jewel in flat racing between Tuesday, June 15th and Saturday, June 19th.

Why is Royal Ascot going ahead in 2021?

Royal Ascot has been given the go-ahead after being selected by the UK government to form part of a broader Events Research Programme (ERP) to examine the risks of coronavirus transmission at mass events.

ERP aims to explore ways to allow people to return to mass events such as race meets. The programme will inform the UK government on lifting COVID restrictions at events safely and mitigating the risks associated with transmission.

In 2021, Ascot Racecourse will host the five-day meet in Berkshire as usual; however, attendance has been restricted to allow no more than 12,000 guests.

Do you need to take a COVID test to attend Royal Ascot?

Spectators visiting Royal Ascot in 2021 must produce a negative COVID test upon their arrival at the Racecourse to be granted access. 

COVID testing and mask wearing at Royal Ascot

Attendees will also be subjected to pre and post-event monitoring by ERP to gather data on transmission risks.

ERP requires guests to take a PCR test a day before or the morning of attendance and return the test via a Royal Mail pre-paid envelope. In addition, guests will be asked to take a second PCR test five days after attending the event and return the sample to the ERP in the same manner.

To attend the event, guests must agree to the Event Research Programmes conditions, which include:

  • Consenting to attend Royal Ascot as part of the ERP
  • Providing contact information for NHS Test and Trace purposes
  • Produce a rapid lateral flow test on arrival to Ascot Racecourse
  • Take a COVID PCR test before and after the event

While these pre-conditions might seem excessive, Ascot wants to ensure that guests can enjoy the lively atmosphere without fear of becoming ill with COVID-19 or spreading the disease to loved ones following the event.

Hand sanitising stations will be set up across the site, and additional cleaning will take place in high traffic areas such as bathrooms and restaurants.

Although the Racecourse will not be checking guest temperatures, the entire site will be subject to antibacterial disinfectant fogging each night, and attendants will be dressed in PPE clothing.

Face masks are not mandatory at the Royal Ascot 2021 meeting but may be required for travelling to and from the venue. But, of course, if you feel more comfortable wearing a face covering, you may do so by all means.

The Racecourse has gone extra lengths to ensure that the event is safe for visitors, employees, participants and the local community, which has only ramped up the excitement.

Superstar jockey Frankie Dettori expressed his joy over the news that Royal Ascot will return with a crowd of 12,000 this year after the event was held behind closed doors in 2020.

The 50-year-old jockey, who has been synonymous with the venue since his near-impossible winning streak in September 1996 when he won all seven races on the card during British Champions’ Day, said he hopes to secure another Ascot Gold Cup victory in 2021.

He’ll ride the Irish thoroughbred Stradivarius this week and hopes that the chestnut horse will gallop to glory in the Gold Cup race for a fourth successive time.

If Stradivarius achieves the feat, he will draw equal with the magnificent Yeat for most Ascot Gold Cup wins of all time.

Speaking about this year’s meeting, Frankie Dettori said Royal Ascot isn’t the same without the crowds. Although it’s not the usual 60,000 in attendance, Mr Dettori said it was far more than he had expected and commended those that had made it possible.

Frankie Dettori described racing without an audience as “having his arm cut off”. The 73-time Royal Ascot champion went on to say:

“Last year I won some of the biggest races Ascot has in front of empty grandstands. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t the same, so I’m delighted with this news – it will put a smile on everybody’s face.”

Mr Dettori and his runners will be firm favourites on the racecard for the five-day bonanza. However, several other horses are generating significant excitement.

Royal Ascot favourites 2021: What horse should you bet on?

While anything is possible at Royal Ascot, as seen over the years, there have been a few surprises for the opening Queen Anne Stakes race at 14:30 on Royal Ascot Tuesday; Palace Pier is the hot favourite.

He’s chalked up at short odds with several bookies, and we can understand why given his performance during the St James’s Palace Stakes last year.

The Kingman colt then doubled his winning tally in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, and while he suffered defeat during his last race of 2020, he came roaring back to life in his 2021 debut at Sandown.

Palace Pier also knocked rivals out of the park in Newbury last month and is odds-on to get the punters off to a flying start under Frankie Dettori’s guidance in Royal Ascot Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes.

He goes against two previous Queen Anne Stakes winners, with Eve Johnson’s shock 2018 scorer Accidental Agent and David O’Meara-trained four-year-old Lord Glitters vying for a first-place position.

The former has not won a race since his Ascot upset victory but trainer, Eve Johnson Houghton believes that Accidental Agent is back in top form now.

While she acknowledged the overpowering presence of Palace Pier, Houghton believes Accidental Agent “could run a huge race.”

She added: “He had a lot of niggly problems but after significant amounts of physio and a wind op, we’re back in good form.

“He’s enjoying himself, and he ran a huge race under a big weight at Newbury, where he wasn’t fit enough, but I needed to get a run into him. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Ascot Runners and Riders

St James’s Palace Stakes – 16:20

Master trainer Jim Bolger hopes that Poetic Flare will storm to glory in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and add to his Newmarket 2000 Guineas success.

He’s had a remarkable season with only one real blunder during the French 2000 Guineas, but Jim Bolger has drawn a line through it.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Bolger said: “He’s happy on any ground too, which is a significant advantage – it was good to firm when he won at Newmarket Racecourse.

“He’s very well, and I think he has a big chance – the bookmakers seem to think so too.”

The market leader will go against the unbeaten Mostahdaf; Battleground, Chindit and nine other colts in the Royal Ascot Group 1 race on Tuesday.

The Irish-born trainer is no stranger to Royal Ascot and first won the St James’s Palace Stakes with Dawn Approach in 2013.

Bolger’s colt is out to emulate his sire Dawn Approach who was a hardy horse. He secured his thrilling win at Ascot in what was only the third start of his campaign, and yet, Jim Bolger stated that he’s never had a horse of the same quality as Poetic Flare.

However, John and Thady Gosden, who train rival Mostahdaf, believe that the St James Palace Stakes is an open affair. So, who will land the coveted prize in 2021?

King’s Stand Stakes – 15:40

All eyes are on last year’s winner Battaash in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes. Although Charlie Hills star runner suffered a setback while wintering at Shadwell Stud, it would come as no surprise if his champion sprinter dominated in today’s race.

Last winter, the seven-year-old sustained a hairline fracture and missed a warm-up race, but owners at Shadwell Stud said that he had made a full recovery.

Flat master Charlie Hills has also insisted that Battaash is ready for the King’s Stand Stakes battle despite the lack of racecourse action.

Battaash has been successful in all five previous campaigns, and Mr Hills is confident that the thoroughbred can cement back-to-back wins at Royal Ascot.

Although he has not seen competitive action in approximately ten months, Charlie Hills is delighted with his performance during training, noting that Battaash “has not missed a beat.”

Still, he faces strong opposition from Extravagant Kid, Liberty Beach and Winter Power today, who won at Listed and Group Three last autumn and made an exciting return at York last month.

George Boughey plots for Royal Ascot dominion

Newmarket-based trainer George Boughey has planned his first attack on Royal Ascot, with ten runners lined up for the meeting.

George Boughey has only had his trainer’s licence for two years but is fast making a name for himself and his Newmarket stable.

The Dorchester-born trainer has already delivered 45 winners this year, and the large number of horses training under him is testimony to the success of his business.

Flat racing’s rising star trainer Boughey trains Cotton Club, and Three C’s, who “cost five grand and was owned by a syndicate of 10, me and friends.”

He has a total of 50 horses at his Saffron House Stables and 25 housed elsewhere – a tremendous feat given that he has had his training license for less than 24 months.

George Boughey has worked with some of the biggest names in horseracing, having trained with Gai Waterhouse in Australia and Lloyd Williams, who had six runners in the Melbourne Cup during the time he was there.

Mr Boughey hopes to turn up the heat at Ascot Racecourse this summer, too but notes that the scorching weather can be a bit of a problem for the horses.

Explaining his philosophy, Mr Boughey said: “People want winners – they want to have horses with people who train winners.

“I want to train at a higher level, and although that ramps up the pressure on myself, it’s a pressure I want to maintain.”

The rising flat racing trainer added: “I thought if we buy moderate horses and win with them, people will notice that, and they have.

“For me placing horses in suitable races is as essential as sourcing the right horses. I’d rather go somewhere I know my horse can win than have a runner at Royal Ascot for the sake of it – I’m a bit more analytical about it.

“Horse welfare is paramount, but it is an entertainment business. People want to go racing, especially at the moment after they have been locked up for so long.

“We now train for people that I would not have dreamed we would be training for within two years of starting training.”

On the first day of the five-day meeting, Boughey will be represented by Lostwithiel and rider Hollie Doyle-Ridden, who believes the late-maturing gelding has what it takes to conquer the two-and-a-half-mile distance.

Ascot Fixtures, Events & Race Times 2022

Enjoy this complete guide for all events held at Ascot Racecourse, including the times of races at Royal Ascot 2021.

From Budget to Beautiful: 10 Hotels near Ascot Racecourse

Not sure where to stay during your visit to Royal Ascot? Our useful guide covers all the top hotels near Ascot racecourse.

Royal Ascot: Your Guide to Ladies Day

When is Ascot Ladies Day?

Ladies Day is always on the Thursday of Royal Ascot, which this year falls on Thursday 16th June 2022.

What is Ascot Ladies Day?

Ladies Day is a perennial favourite of racing festivals all across the world, but Royal Ascot takes the tradition to new heights of elegance and glamour. On the third day of Royal Ascot guests, ladies, in particular, are encouraged to come dressed to the nines and enjoy a day of racing in style. The practice is thought to have come from Ascot itself originally, either from Queen Anne herself, who founded the racecourse or from an anonymous poet, who described the Thursday of the Royal Meeting as ‘when the women, like angels, look sweetly divine.’ in 1823.

Whatever the story, the tradition continues and 2022 looks just to be just as glamorous as ever.

Royal Ascot Ladies Day Guests at Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea on the Queen Anne Lawns – Royal Ascot

What is the Ascot dress code?

Although other racing events encourage a refined sense of style, Ascot is renowned for the strictness of its dress code. Woven into the fabric of the event, Regency fashion arbiter Beau Brummel dictated the dress code for men in the 19th Century, and the formal tradition continues to this day.

Royal Enclosure

The most prestigious enclosure at Ascot demands a dress code to match. Women are required to wear dresses of modest lengths with straps of one inch or greater. Jumpsuits and trouser suits are welcome but must be of a matching colour. Hats or larger headpieces are also a requirement. Men must be in black or grey morning dress, with a top hat.

Queen Anne Enclosure

Named for the event’s founder, steeped in pedigree and featuring such luxurious facilities as the Royal Ascot Pavilion, this enclosure’s dress code follows in a similar vein. Women are required to wear formal dress, with strapless and off the shoulder dresses not permitted. Rules on head-wear are relaxed, however, with guests allowed to express themselves with all manner of hats, headpieces and fascinators. Men must wear a full-length suit with a tie at all times.

Windsor Enclosure

A more casual experience, but no less befitting of the style and elegance Ascot is known for, the Windsor Enclosure requires women to wear formal dress, but gives more opportunity for guests to express themselves with different cuts and headwear. Men may also forgo a suit and tie, with a jacket, shirt and long trousers being the only necessities.

Village Enclosure

The dress code for the glamorous enclosure is similar to those above. Guests are expected to resemble the elegance and formality of the Royal Ascot whilst attending the village enclosure. Ladies must wear a suitable headpiece at all times whilst strapless, or sheer tops/ dresses are not permitted. The Village enclose is a grassed area; therefore, guests are encouraged to consider this when deciding on suitable footwear. Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit & tie attire.

Where is Ascot?

Ascot Racecourse is located in beautiful Berkshire, less than an hours drive or train journey from London. Visitors coming from further afield will find it convenient from the M3, M4, M40 & M25 motorways as well as London Heathrow, ensuring you can make the most of your day at this remarkable event.

Popular Royal Ascot Facilities:

The Ascot Pavilion

With a private balcony overlooking the gorgeous Plaza Lawns, the Royal Ascot Pavilion packages provide your esteemed clientele with a delicious three-course lunch, complimentary bar and afternoon tea, before sauntering down to the Grandstand and Parade Ring to watch the thrilling action unfold.

Treat yourself, your employees or your important clients to this magnificent sporting and social occasion with our Royal Ascot Pavilion hospitality packages. In this glorious setting, tradition, pageantry and style intertwine to create a truly unforgettable experience.

The Gallery Restaurant

This brand new facility, with a superb second-floor suite being introduced above The Lawn Club, provides guests with a fabulous corporate hospitality option, taking the place of the original Sandringham Restaurant. A splendid benefit of this new and delightful location is its situation relative to the racecourse; from its prime viewing position, attendants can enjoy the thrilling racing action like never before. The Royal Procession will also pass directly in front of the facility.

Eventmasters is delighted to be providing Royal Ascot hospitality. However, if you want to secure your place, there is limited availability remaining at Ladies Day 2022.

Interested in attending Royal Ascot’s Ladies Day? Let us know below.

Royal Ascot: Where to Stay?

 

Ascot Racecourse: Hotels

Royal Ascot is undoubtedly one of the leading horse racing and social events held each year. The highly anticipated gathering occurs at the renowned Ascot Racecourse – located in Ascot, Berkshire, England. Whether attending one or all five days of Royal Ascot, it’s important to have your wardrobe, hospitality and accommodation sorted for the grand event. Find out what hotels you can stay in at Ascot with our handy guide below!

Hotels for Royal Ascot

Each year, the stylish event draws horse racing and fashion enthusiasts from far and wide! With the event spanning over five days, many racegoers opt for spending a night or two in Ascot to truly get the most out of their Royal Ascot experience. See some of what Ascot has to offer below.

Royal Berkshire Hotel

Located just 2 miles from Ascot Racecourse, the Royal Berkshire Hotel is a splendid destination for racegoers looking to spend more than a day in Ascot. A beautiful country house with 15 acres of land ideal for spending more time outdoors. Guests can enjoy flat screen TV’s, hairdryers, hot beverage making facilities and much more directly from their rooms. From comfy rooms to family rooms and luxury suites, guests can tailor their room to suit their needs at this hotel! Rated very good on Trivago by previous guests.

Highclere Hotel

Situated just over a mile away from Ascot Racecourse, the Highclere Hotel is a great option for Royal Ascot guests wishing to accommodate closer to the meeting. Guests can enjoy modern and tasteful rooms perfect with Wi-Fi and can even book a tasteful continental breakfast to start the day. Previous trip advisor guests rated this location 4.5/5 stars.

Macdonald Berystede Hotel

A mere 1.5 miles away from Ascot Racecourse, the Macdonald Berystede Hotel offers spa packages and a state-of-the-art gym. Perfect for increasing the VIP feel of a Royal Ascot experience. The hotel features secluded gardens, numerous luxury bedrooms and as mentioned before a luxury spa with outdoor hydro pool. As an official 4 star rated hotel, previous Trivago guests have also rated it good.

Sleep N Eat Guesthouse

A warm bed and breakfast accommodation option for Royal Ascot guests looking to keep it simple. The Sleep N Eat Guesthouse is about a mile away from Ascot Racecourse and offers a “luxurious yet affordable” experience to their guests. Rooms are diverse and offer superior levels of comfort with an en-suite shower and Wi-Fi.

Royal Ascot Hospitality

These are just a few of the many options available for those looking to stay overnight within close proximity of Royal Ascot. When booking a room, be sure to do thorough research and book a hotel that suits your specific needs!

Enjoy the exquisite atmosphere at the Royal event and secure a sumptuous Royal Ascot hospitality package to go with it, courtesy of Eventmasters.

With exquisite fine-dining and superb VIP service in some of the most appealing hospitality facilities in the world; Royal Ascot corporate hospitality packages are the only way to truly relish in this prestigious event.