Ascot Racecourse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Ascot
Ascot racecourse logo.jpg
AscotFinishingPost.JPG
LocationAscot, Berkshire
Coordinates51°24′58″N 0°40′37″W / 51.41611°N 0.67694°W / 51.41611; -0.67694
Owned byAscot Racecourse Ltd
Date opened11 August 1711
Screened onAt The Races
Course typeFlat
National Hunt
Notable racesThe Gold Cup
Official website
 
  (Redirected from Ascot Authority)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the private housing development named Royal Ascot in Hong Kong, see Royal Ascot, Hong Kong.
Ascot
Ascot racecourse logo.jpg
AscotFinishingPost.JPG
LocationAscot, Berkshire
Coordinates51°24′58″N 0°40′37″W / 51.41611°N 0.67694°W / 51.41611; -0.67694
Owned byAscot Racecourse Ltd
Date opened11 August 1711
Screened onAt The Races
Course typeFlat
National Hunt
Notable racesThe Gold Cup
Official website

Ascot Racecourse (play /ˈæskət/) is a famous English racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot, Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 32 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle. It is owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd.[1]

Ascot today stages twenty-six days of Flat racing over the course of the year, comprising eighteen Flat meetings held between the months of May and October inclusive. It also stages important jump racing throughout the winter months. The Royal Meeting, held in June, remains a major draw, the highlight being the Gold Cup. The most prestigious race is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes run over the course in July.

Contents

History

The Royal Enclosure on cup day, 1907

Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne. The first race, "Her Majesty's Plate", with a purse of 100 guineas, was held on 11 August 1711. Seven horses competed, each carrying a weight of 12 stones (76 kg). This first race comprised three separate four-mile (6437 m) heats.

In 1813 Parliament passed an act to ensure that the grounds would remain a public racecourse. In 1913 Parliament passed an act creating the Ascot Authority, an entity that manages the racecourse to this day. From its creation until 1945 the only racing that took place at Ascot was the Royal Meeting, a four-day event. Since that date, more fixtures have been introduced to the grounds, notably the Steeplechase and hurdles in 1965.

Hat in the Royal Enclosure, 2009

Ascot racecourse closed for a period of twenty months on 26 September 2004, for a £185 million redevelopment funded by Allied Irish Bank and designed by Populous and Buro Happold. As owner of the Ascot estate, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth reopened the racecourse on Tuesday 20 June 2006.

However upon re-opening the new grandstand has attracted widespread criticism for failing to provide sufficient raised viewing for patrons to watch the racing, and devoting too much space to money-spinning restaurants and corporate hospitality facilities.[citation needed] At the end of 2006 a £10 million programme of further alterations was announced to improve the viewing from lower levels of the grandstand using an innovative steel composite product ("SPS" Sandwich plate system) to reprofile the existing concrete terraces. However, the upper levels provide far less accommodation for the everyday racegoer than was present in the former stand.[citation needed]

In March 2009 it was confirmed that the main sponsors of Ascot, William Hill would be ceasing their sponsorship deal, citing that the decision by the BBC to reduce live race coverage as the main reason in its decision making process.[2]

In July 2009 Ascot Racecourse also hosted the third round of the UAE President's Cup.[3]

Royal Ascot

The centrepiece of Ascot's year, Royal Ascot is one of Europe's most famous race meetings, and dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by HM Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family such as The Prince of Wales, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queen's Royal Standard. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. There are 3 enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week

The Royal carriages leave after carrying The Queen to the races

The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious of the three enclosures, with recent visits from the Queen and Royal Family members. Access to the royal enclosure is restricted, with high security on the day. First-time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure office and gain membership from someone who has attended the enclosure for at least four years. For existing badgeholders, an invitation is sent out by Her Majesty's Representative to request badges. The badgeholder's name is written onto the badge and can be used only by that person; the colours of the badges vary each day for one-day applicants. Those in the Royal Enclosure have the options of fine dining and hospitality, and a selection of bars. The dress code is strictly enforced. For women, only a day dress with a hat is acceptable, with rules applying to the length and style of the dress. In addition, women must not show bare midriffs or shoulders. For men, black or grey morning dress with top hat is required.

Over 300,000 people make the annual visit to Berkshire during Royal Ascot week, making this Europe’s best-attended race meeting. There are 16 Group races on offer, with at least one Group One event on each of the five days. The Gold Cup is on Ladies' Day on the Thursday. There is over £3,000,000 of prize money on offer.

Key races

The Royal Ascot 2012

Day 1 - Tuesday 19th June

Day 2 - Wednesday 20th June

Day 3 - Thursday 21st June

Day 4 - Friday 22nd June

Day 5 - Saturday 23rd June

Other races

Champions Day

Another feature racing meeting outside Royal Ascot sinced British Champions Series is established at 2011, including five final stage of British Champions Series

Other flat races

Other major races in Ascot are

National Hunt races

Champions' Day

Ascot now stages the new climax of the British flat racing season, designed to increase the sport's public profile and to rival the Arc weekend and Breeders' Cup to attract the best horses. The first Champions' Day was staged on 15 October 2011 and was generally regarded as a success, though overshadowed by controversy over tough new regulations on the use of the whip. The meeting includes the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the Champion Stakes moved from Newmarket, the British Champions Long Distance Cup won by Gold Cup winner Fame and Glory, the British Champions Sprint Stakes won by Deacon Blues (also a Royal Ascot winner) and the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes won by Epsom Oaks winner Dancing Rain.

Family day at Ascot Racecourse

Royal Ascot Cricket Club & Ascot United

The racecourse is also home to Royal Ascot Cricket Club, which was founded in 1897 and their ground is situated in the middle of the racecourse. Ascot United F.C. are located towards the eastern side of the site[4] . A new clubhouse, stand and floodlighting have recently been erected.

Trivia

The racecourse is the setting for a scene in the musical My Fair Lady and the subject for the song "Ascot Gavotte".

The racecourse was used as a filming location in the James Bond film A View to a Kill in 1985, where Bond (played for the last time by Roger Moore) was beginning his mission to defeat the villainous Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), whose horses were competing in a race there.

Gallery

The stand, completed in 2006 and designed by architects Populous and engineers Buro Happold and built by Laing O'Rourke

References

External links