Royal Ascot - The Pavilion

5 Facts about Royal Ascot

This year’s Royal Ascot is just over the horizon, and here we look at some facts about one of horse racing’s most famous and iconic race meetings.

Every year, Royal Ascot is a five-day horse racing spectacular that catches the imagination of fans across the country and, indeed, the world. People come in their thousands to witness the action throughout this event, where there are a number of famous races – chief amongst which is the Ascot Gold Cup that takes place on Ladies Day, which will take place on 20th June 2024.

Royal Ascot 2024 takes place from Tuesday, 18th June, to Saturday, 22nd June, at the iconic and historic Ascot Racecourse.

Horse racing has been taking place at Ascot since it was founded by Queen Anne in 1711. The first ever race to take place there was known as ‘Her Majesty’s Plate’, consisting of four heats that were all the length of the Grand National. The horse with the greatest stamina would win a prize of 100 Guineas.

The first Royal Meeting at Ascot occurred 57 years later, in 1768. Then, the aforementioned Ascot Gold Cup was founded some time later in 1807, and it currently stands as the oldest surviving race that still takes place at Ascot Racecourse. The winner of the inaugural Gold Cup race was Master Jockey.

Since its founding, Royal Ascot has grown to become the iconic event it is today, attracting crowds in their thousands. It is famous for its enthralling racing and incredible atmosphere, and also for royalty.

The British Royal Family appear at Royal Ascot every year, and there is an annual procession of carriages that are paraded in front of an adoring crowd. Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had a horse named Estimate, who in 2013 made her the first reigning Monarch to record a victory at Royal Ascot when Jockey Ryan Moore rode Estimate to the win in that year’s Ascot Gold Cup.

Royal Ascot is a five-day event that has a plethora of history in its wake. Here, we will take a look at 5 facts about one of horse racing’s premium annual events.

5: Yeats has the record for the most Gold Cup wins for a horse with 4

We kick things off with Yeats, who, as it stands, is the horse that has recorded the most wins in the Ascot Gold Cup with no less than four. This record is even more extraordinary because Yeats won four consecutive Ascot Gold Cup titles from 2006 to 2009.

In 2006, Jockey Kieren Fallon rode Yeats to a four-length victory ahead of Christophe Soumillon’s Reefscape, who had to settle for a second-place finish that year. Distinction rounded off the top three.

A year later, in 2007, it was a closer battle as Yeats managed a victory over second-placed Geordieland by the narrowest of margins, with jockeys Mick Kinane and Jamie Spencer battling until the end of the race.

Then, in 2008, the battle between Yeats and Geordieland was renewed. However, this time, it was a more emphatic victory this time for Yeats, with Jockey Johnny Murtagh guiding his horse to a 5-length win. Stephane Pasquier’s Coastal Path did round off the top three in third. This victory meant that he was just the second horse in the history of this race to win it three times in succession.

Finally, Yeats’ final victory in the Ascot Gold Cup came in 2009, and it made him the first horse to achieve the feat of winning this race in four consecutive years. This time, ridden by Johnny Murtagh once again, Yeats beat runner-up Patkai by a significant margin of 3 and a half lengths. 2007 and 2008 runner-up Geordieland rounded off the top three in that year’s race in third place.

4: Royal Ascot is the most valuable race meeting with prize money worth £10 million

Of all of the tremendous horse racing meetings that take place up and down the British Isles, from the Grand National to the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot offers the most cumulative prize money. The total prize money available stands at £10 million as of the time of writing.

All the races offer significant prize money, but particular races offer more than others. On day one, the most valuable race is set to be the Queen Anne Stakes, where the winner is set to earn no less than £600,000.

Moving on to day two, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is by far and away the most valuable race on that day in terms of prize money, which for this particular race stands at no less than £1,000,000. The next most lucrative is The Queen’s Vase, worth a total of £262,500 in prize money.

The most valuable race in terms of prize money on the third day of action will be the highly coveted Ascot Gold Cup, which offers no less than £500,000. On the fourth and penultimate day of racing, The Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes will be the joint most valuable races of this day, with £500,000 each in prize money.

Finally, the fifth and final day on Saturday, 22nd June 2024, will see its most valuable race, the Platinum Jubilee Stakes, worth an extraordinary £1 million. The next most valuable in terms of prize money is the Hardwicke Stakes on, £225,000.

3: Lester Piggott holds the record for the most wins as a jockey in the Ascot Gold Cup

Lester Piggott is one of the most revered, successful and iconic jockeys in the history of horse racing, and he \truly dominated the Ascot Gold Cup over the course of what was an extraordinary career.

His first triumph in this prestigious race came in 1957, when he won with Zarathustra. This was to be the first of no less than 11 Ascot Gold Cup wins. The other ten victories in this famous race came in 1958 (Gladness), 1961 (Pandofell), 1963 (Twilight Alley), 1965 (Fighting Charlie) 1975 – 1977 (Sagaro), 1979 (Le Moss) and won two races in a row from 1981 to 1982 with Ardross.

Overall, the legendary jockey Lester Piggott rode no less than an extraordinary number of 116 winners at Royal Ascot over the course of his career.

2: Trainer Aidan O’Brien and horse owner Sue Magnier have 8 Ascot Gold Cup wins each

Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer of all time in the Ascot Gold Cup with 8 wins, and as for owners, Sue Magnier has the most wins of any other owner with 8 wins, too. Both work together and had four consecutive wins with Yeats between 2006 and 2009.

Their further four wins in the following years came through Fame and Glory in 2011, Leading Light in 2014, Order of St George in 2016 and most recently with Kyprios in 2022.

1: Hundreds of thousands visit Ascot Racecourse each year

We now move on to the final fact on this list, which is that hundreds of thousands visit the famous, iconic and historic Ascot Racecourse each year. More specifically, no less than 600,000 people visit this racecourse each year – and, extraordinarily, this accounts for around 10% of all UK racegoers on an annual basis.

Ascot Racecourse was also the first racecourse in the continent of Europe to reach the incredible milestone of 500,000 annual visitors.

Excitement and anticipation are building rapidly ahead of the 2024 Royal Ascot that is set to take place over the course of five days between Tuesday, 18th June, to Saturday, 22nd June 2024.

There is no better way to experience world-class horse racing at the 2024 Royal Ascot than with an Eventmasters VIP Hospitality Package. Book now to avoid disappointment!

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