Ascot Racecourse, located in Berkshire, stages `Royal Ascot? - five days of world-class Flat racing in mid-June and a meeting known for its history, pomp and pageantry. The meeting boasts some of the most valuable races of the Flat season, including the Group 1 Gold Cup. Jumps action also takes place through the autumn, winter and into spring.
The Flat course at Ascot is a right-handed, round track which extends over fourteen furlongs and the straight is two and a half furlongs in distance. Contests run over further than a mile take in the downhill bend of Swinley Bottom and the short run-in tends to play to the strengths of those who race prominently. There are two mile courses - the old mile course, which joins the track at Swinley bottom and takes in a bend and the straight mile.
The National Hunt course is also a right-handed flat, galloping track with stiff fences that come in quick succession, testing the horses? jumping ability, particularly down the back straight. The track suits horses who race up with the pace.
Ascot Racecourse is one of the oldest racecourses in the UK which boasts over 300 years? worth of history. The racecourse was founded in 1711 when Queen Anne discovered an expanse of heathland six miles from Windsor Castle, which she deemed ideal for horse racing.
The first race contested on the heathland was Her Majesty?s Plate worth 100 guineas to the winner, all seven runners carried twelve stone and there were three heats run over four miles. When Queen Anne died, King George I put a stop to racing due to his hatred of sport but racing was once again revived in 1720.
Racing at Ascot became a huge success and the first grandstand was erected in 1793 for a capacity of 1,650 people.
The inaugural running of the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting was staged in 1807 along with the establishment of the royal enclosure for King George III and his guests. In 1823 the first Ladies? Day was hosted and in 1825, King George IV initiated the first carriage procession at the track; both traditions have continued to this day.
In 1839 when a new grandstand was built and up until 1945, the only meeting to be hosted at Ascot was the Royal meeting, before further fixtures were scheduled throughout the year.