Royal Ascot is undoubtedly the jewel in Flat racing’s crown. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about the historic meeting...
The Queen first attended Royal Ascot in 1945 at the age of 19. As an owner, she has since enjoyed 23 winners there since.
During the earlier days of her reign, The Queen used to gallop down Ascot racecourse early in the morning before racing started. In 1960, she finished fourth of seven in an unofficial “race” with members of the Royal party.
Ascot is the only place at which The Queen has ever been seen publicly running.
Royal Ascot has witnessed social change over the years — until 1955 divorcees were not allowed into the Royal Enclosure.
The fashion rules have become slightly more relaxed over recent years and, in 2017, jumpsuits were introduced in the Royal Enclosure. However, this year has witnessed a ban of men’s ankles being on show — socks are now compulsory.
Each year the bookies bet on the colour of The Queen’s outfit each day and they will be doing the same with the Duchess of Sussex this year, who is making her Royal Ascot debut. ITV Racing’s fashion expert, Mark Heyes thinks the Duchess will be “low key, sleek and elegant in a pastel shade.”
Royal Ascot is also renowned for its picnics and there is a 100-year waiting list for one of the coveted “picnic parking spots” in the Royal Enclosure’s car park one.
There are three miles of festive bunting — over half a mile further than the longest race.
An incredible 60,000 finger sandwiches and 80,000 cups of tea are consumed during the five-day Royal Ascot meeting — almost the same number served at the three garden parties The Queen hosts at Buckingham Palace each year. While 56,000 bottles of champagne, 44,000 bottles of wine and 21,000 jugs of Pimm’s are drunk — thirsty anyone?
Royal Ascot will be broadcast each day on ITV with coverage starting at 1.30pm. Live racing and features will be brought to you by the ITV Racing panel, with daily coverage of the Royal procession at 2pm.
Don’t miss the full report from Royal Ascot in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 28 June.