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Ascot to become racing showcase

Ascot racecourse is to undergo a multi-million pound redevelopment

Ascot has unveiled plans for a £180m redevelopment scheme, which will be completed in time for the Royal meeting in2007.

The dream of the royal racecourse is to become the finest showcase for horseracing in the world. The blueprint, which was unveiled last week, includes a 190-bedroom hotel and restaurant.

Plans for the new 350-metre longgrandstand include an internal, glass encased galleria, which is an undercover court area, six floors high and extending the length of the new stand.

The straight mile will be re-aligned to make room for the enlarged building. Planning permission has been lodged with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which is expected to grant permission within the next 12 months.

Rod Sheard, the architect responsible for the highly successful Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Stadium Australia, which housed the 2000 Olympic Games, has drawn up the plans.

The Queen and Prince of Wales have been shown the plans and discussed them at Royal Ascot. “They seem to be very happy with them,” said Lord Hartington, the Queen’s representative at Ascot.

There is even the possibility of a new all-weather dirt track being included.

“Perhaps one day in the far off future we might be able to stage the Breeders’ Cup,” added Lord Hartington.

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