Ascot Races

Welcome to our official guide to Ascot Racecourse. In this section we explore this Royal racecourse in detail, looking at its history, Royal Ascot, a guide to the track, the major races, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Ascot Racecourse

Overview

A name associated heavily with the British Royal family, Ascot Racecourse holds a prestige that arguably no other course in the world can match. It hosts 13 of the country’s 36 annual Group 1 horse races and is located just 6 miles from Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

Ascot is owned by an independent firm, Ascot Racecourse Ltd, but was founded by Queen Anne in the 1700s; hence its close associations with the Royals. Currently, Ascot stages race meetings over 26 days of the year, made up of 18 flat racing meetings between May and October and jump racing through the winter months. Undoubtedly, the Royal meeting (Royal Ascot), held over 5 days in June, is considered ‘the main event’ for the course with high-class racing and a Royal procession down the centre of the course before racing begins.

The stunning racecourse covers 179 acres of land in beautiful rural Berkshire and is leased on Royal land. Ascot operates several sustainability measures to work in as ‘green’ a way as possible, including reservoirs in the middle of the track collecting rainwater to cleanse and re-use. Eco-friendly initiatives are being added to the site constantly. It is constantly undergoing renovation and development work to ensure its high standards, and the most recent major project completed was the New Ascot Grandstand, which her Majesty the Queen opened in 2006 after a £220m development that took 18 months and was the biggest investment made in British racing history.

Aside from the racing, the restaurants on-site are of outstanding quality and open year-round, boasting 5 Michelin stars and 13 AA rosettes between them!

Racecourse History

Ascot was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, with the first race, ‘Her Majesty’s Plate’ running in August of that year. The first race prize money was just 100 guineas and seven horses competed. However, Ascot was not to remain entirely just royal for long. In 1813, Parliament passed an Act to ensure the racecourse would remain public – even though it sat on royal land – as part of Windsor Park.

The racecourse made headlines around the globe with the completion of a major grandstand in 1839 – which cost £10,000 to build (a huge amount at the time!) A century later in 1913, another Parliamentary Act was passed, and this allowed the racecourse to rest in private ownership: establishing the Ascot Authority, who still oversee activities at the course to this day.

Whilst further redevelopment took place throughout the years, the most major, in 2004 closed the course entirely. The New Ascot Redevelopment cost £185 million and meant that the course had to be closed for a full 18 months however the results have been brilliant. The course continues to grow and attract new events and races and shows no signs of slowing its growth and popularity.

Ascot Races and Royal Ascot

Ascot hosts a number of meetings throughout the year (both flat racing and national hunt) with major races in both disciplines including King George, Ascot Chase, Shergar Cup, Clarence House Chase, Long Walk Hurdle and the British Champions Day season finale (which we explore in more detail further on).

The centrepiece of Ascot’s calendar is, however, without doubt, Royal Ascot, which began in 1911 and has grown year-on-year to now welcome a whopping 300,000 racegoers across the five days. Members of the Royal Family attend every year, and the Royal Enclosure is well-renowned for its celebrity and upper-class attendance (others include the Village Enclosure, Windsor Enclosure and Queen Anne Enclosure). There are 18 races on across Royal Ascot and at least one Group 1 race daily – all of the races at Royal Ascot are fiercely contested, carrying a huge amount of prestige. The most attended day of Royal Ascot is the Gold Cup, which always takes place on Ladies Day, on the Thursday. The prize money for Royal Ascot is the highest in the world and has exceeded £7million, the main races at Royal Ascot over the five days include:

  • Tuesday – The Group 1 races include The Queen Anne Stakes ran over 1 mile, The Kings Stand over 5 furlongs and The St James Palace Stakes.
  • Wednesday – The Groups 1 race of the day is the Prince of Wales Stakes over 10 furlongs and the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes ran over 5 furlongs for 2 year old fillies.
  • Thursday – the main race is the Group 1 Gold Cup over 2miles and 4 furlongs and the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes ran over 1mile 4 fulongs.
  • Friday – two Groups 1s on the Friday, the first is the Commonwealth Cup over 6 furlongs and the second the Coronation Stakes over one mile.
  • Saturday – the final day sees the Hardwicke Stakes over 1m 4 furlongs and the final Group 1 is Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 6 furlongs.

Ascot Racecourse Map

Ascot Racecourse Map

  • Flat racing – Ascot is a right-handed triangular-shaped, galloping and stiff track. It has a steep climb out of Swinley Bottom from the back-straight and is just over 1mile 6 furlongs on the round course, with 2 and a 1/2f furlong run-in. There is both a straight mile and also a round mile course. All races ran between 5 furlongs and 7 furlongs are ran on the straight course.
  • Jump racing – takes place on the round course and the fences are known for being stiff and that they take some jumping. Jump winners at Ascot tend to be good jumpers with good reserves on stamina, particularly when the course is riding on the easy side.

Ascot Racecourse Address

Ascot Racecourse
High St
Ascot
SL5 7JX
Phone: 0344 346 3000

How To Get To Ascot Racecourse

  • By Car – there are more than 8,000 parking space at Ascot (suitable for cars shorter than limousines!) but it usually does require advance booking.
  • By Rail – South Western Railways run frequent services to Ascot with increased voracity during major events. It’s less than an hour’s journey from Waterloo and less than half from Reading.
  • By Bus and Coach – a variety of bus and coach services operate direct to the racecourse, but services vary depending on the time of year.
  • By Air – over 400 helicopters and 1,000 limos attended Royal Ascot this year, so although well linked by public transport, it’s not for everyone!
  • By Royal Procession – if you are looking enough to be a member of the Royal Family on your way to the Royal Enclosure!

Hotels Near Ascot Racecourse

Despite being such a large draw to the area, there aren’t lots of hotel options for Ascot; because most people return home due to its brilliant transport links. However, there are some great choices if you’re booking in advance, which is advised in you are booking for the Royal meeting and also Champions Day.

The Premier Inn Bagshot Hotel is a brilliant budget option just 20 mins away with rooms starting from just £34; but if you’re looking for something more… royal, then consider the Macdonald Berystede Hotel and Spa – they’ll even put on a shuttle to get you to the course on race days. Whichever option you go for, we suggest booking through Booking.com as below:

Booking.com

What Are The Best Online Ascot Betting Sites?

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

Ascot Betting Guide

Though attending Ascot doesn’t mean you have to wager a bet, its all part of the experience of the race day for many racegoers.

When attending Ascot, there are lots of betting choices for you, lets race in!

Online Betting

Ascot is a common option for betting online with good wifi and 4G cell connections.

Be sure to check out some incredible bonuses for betting here:

Local Betting Shops

Here are the local betting shops nearest to Ascot Racecourse:

  • Coral – 29 High St, Ascot SL5 7HG
  • William Hill – 49a High St, Ascot SL5 7HG
  • Ladbrokes – 8 Priestwood Ct Rd, Bracknell RG42 1UD
  • Ladbrokes – 14 High St, Berks, Bracknell RG12 1LL

On Course Bookmakers

In front of the Grandstand, there are several rows of individual bookies, all clearly showing the odds offered on all horses for each race. However, the bookies at Ascot make the experience; so nip to the grandstand and place your bets, everybody can have a flutter.

It’s always best to have a nosy at the horses while they wonder the Parade Ring before betting because you just might spot the winner.

Ascot On Course Bookies

Ascot Racecourse Fixtures

  • January – Clarence House Chase and Holloway Hurdle are the big races.
  • February – Reynoldtsown Novices Chase and Ascot Chase.
  • March – Spring Family Raceday
  • April – Royal Ascot Trials Day featuring the Sagaro Stakes.
  • May – Racing Weekend – featuring The Victoria Cup
  • June – Royal Ascot – the Royal meeting five day festival is covered in detail above but include a host of Groups 1 races including The Queen Anne Stakes, Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth ii stakes) and Prince of Wales’s Stakes, amongst others.
  • July – Summer Mile meeting
  • July – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes meeting. The King George is one of the flat season highlights.
  • August – Shergar Cup meeting, with the big race being the Shergar Cup.
  • September – Festival of Food Weekend
  • October – Autumn Racing Weekend – Cumberland Lodge and Cornwallis Stakes.
  • October – British Champions Day – (Qipco British Champions) is a day stuffed with Group 1 races including the Sprint Stakes, Long Distance Cup, Fillies and Mares Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes. Champions Day does what it says on the tin, crowds the big horses of the season, with enormous prize available.
  • October – Fireworks Family Raceday – Sodexo Gold Cup
  • November – Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend and Amlin Chase
  • December – Christmas Racing Weekend – Long Walk Hurdle.

Royal Ascot

Ascot Racecourse Weather

Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, especially for Royal Ascot, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Ascot:

ASCOT WEATHER

Ascot Racecourse Guide Summary

Ascot is a racecourse like no other, with the Royal racecourse playing host to Royal Ascot over a brilliant 5 days (attended yearly by the Royal family who reside in the elite Royal Enclosure), as well as British Champions Day and top-class jump racing throughout the winter months. With huge prize money and more Group 1 races than any other racecourse, it is a jewel in the crown of a nation and the racing world. Top races on the track include the King George VI, St James Palace, Queen Anne, The Gold Cup and King’s Stand Stakes, to name a few. Whilst the royal turf has seen wins for top-class horses across both codes, from superstar Frankel to the electric Kauto Star.

A stunning course, fantastic facilities and steeped in history, Ascot is the best British racecourse (whether you are attending the splendid Royal Ascot or a chilly winter jumps meeting) and indeed we believe the best racecourse in the world.

Other Racecourses

Our team as of February 2021 have reviewed the following other racecourses: