IT is a perfect mix. Horse racing and glamour. The old and the new. Royal Ascot 2018, with its rich heritage and history, has also moved into the modern era with its wonderful grandstand and state-of-the art facilities. The royal meeting is only a few months away and the secret is in the planning. Now is the time, when the weather is cold and stark, to start dreaming of summer and the social occasion to beat any other.
For more than 300 years the five-day meeting has delighted thousands of racing fans and fashionistas. And, let’s be honest, if you are going to head to the the royal meeting, you may as well do it in style. The various Royal Ascot hospitality packages are well worth exploring and you might actually be surprised what good value they are.
Royal Ascot 2018: a rich history
Ascot, along with York (ironically dubbed the Ascot of the north), is the finest racecourse in the country. For a racegoer, the experience is second to none. Ascot just gets everything right. Royal Ascot has become a very British institution, not unlike Derby Day at Epsom. It is also the highlight of the UK social calendar and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world.
It was Queen Anne in 1711 that unearthed the potential for a racecourse at Ascot. In those days it was called East Cote and riding out near Windsor Castle one morning she came upon an area of open heath that looked, in her words, “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”. The racecourse was laid out by William Lowen, helped by a team including a carpenter, a painter, and a racing administrator. In 1813, Parliament passed an Act of Enclosure, which ensured that Ascot Heath, would be kept and used as a racecourse for the public in the future. Racing at Ascot was now secure.
Global appeal of Royal Ascot 2018
The very best British and Irish horses converge on Ascot in June and that will be the case again at the five-day feast of racing from June 19. But as well as attracting visitors from all over the world, Royal Ascot has embraced the idea of international competition on the track. In recent years horses such as Black Caviar and Tepin have graced the royal meeting while Wesley Ward has been a pathfinder for American trainers by making Ascot an integral part of his season. NBC in America also broadcast the meeting live last year, taking advantage of the US obsession with the Royal Family and horse racing.
The horses: prospects for Royal Ascot 2018
The success of Big Orange in last year’s Ascot Gold Cup was one of the highlights of the royal meeting and he will be back to defend his crown in 2018. But with one of last year’s big winners retiring in Ribchester, there will be a new name etched on to the trophy for the Group One Queen Anne Stakes. Who knows what quality will line up in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes and the Coronation Stakes for fillies. Then there are all the juvenile races for two year olds and the devilishly difficult big- field handicaps such as the Wokingham and the Royal Hunt Cup.