The five days of Royal Ascot are all equally thrilling, so if you’re trying to pick just one to attend, it can be tricky to figure out which one is best for you.
Fear not – this day-by-day guide describes the different types of races and the characteristics of the five days. With this information you’ll have no problem choosing which day to go – your only dilemma will be what to wear.
The highlight of Tuesday is the Queen Anne Stakes. Named after the founder of Ascot Racecourse, this Group One thoroughbreds’ race was established in 1840 and is traditionally the show opener. The other two Group One races of Day One are the King’s Stand Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes. The Group Two race is the Coventry Stakes.
The media sensation that is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes has the biggest prize fund and the best horses: it’s a Group One race for thoroughbreds.
Wednesday’s other notable races include the Queen Mary Stakes (Group Two), seen as a good chance for a long shot with the winner hard to call, and the Sandringham Stakes (Handicap), one of the week’s most exciting races because of its many runners and short distance.
Also known widely as ‘Gold Cup Day’, the highlight of the day is the Gold Cup, a Group One race requiring real stamina. At 2 miles, 4 furlongs, it’s Britain’s longest Group One race and is the most prestigious long-distance event. The Gold Cup was famously won by the Queen’s horse Estimate in 2013.
The Queen’s Vase, a Listed race for three-year-olds, is a good chance to spot future stars as it’s often considered a springboard for future Gold Cup successes.
One of the week’s most popular betting races is on Thursday – The Britannia Stakes, a handicap race that attracts many runners.
Friday and Saturday
Less busy than the first three days, the Friday and Saturday are nevertheless synonymous with partying. They’re dominated by a younger crowd, ready to let their hair down at the end of the week.
The most popular races of these two days are the Commonwealth Cup (Friday), new in 2015 and the only Group One sprint for three-year-olds that includes geldings, and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Saturday), with one of the most valuable prizes of the week.
Other races of note are the King Edward VII Stakes (Friday), with one of the biggest prizes outside of Group One, the Coronation Stakes (Friday), a popular betting race with lots of high-quality competitors, and the Queen Alexandra Stakes (Saturday) – the last race of the week and Britain’s longest flat race.