Ten reasons why you can’t miss Royal Ascot this year!
5 Jun 2012
Royal Ascot 2012 is going to be sensational, with Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the participation of the world's two best horses from opposite sides of the globe adding a unique extra dimension to the world's greatest race meeting.
The Queen will soon be getting ready for her favourite five days of the year. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com
1. Royal Ascot is The Queen’s favourite five days of the year, so there could be no better time than the Diamond Jubilee year to join her at the most spectacular annual sporting and social event in the British calendar.
2. The QIPCO British Champions Series comprises the 35 best races in the British Flat racing calendar and no less than seven of them are run during the five days of the Royal Meeting, giving the strongest possible indication of the supreme quality of the racing.
3. The two best racehorses in the world will start and finish this year’s Royal Meeting with a bang in the opening and closing QIPCO British Champions Series races:
• Both are unbeaten having won no less than 31 races between them
• They come from opposite sides of the globe, but for a few brief weeks in June and July they will be stabled less than a mile apart in the horseracing capital of the world, Newmarket.
• One is probably the best miler of all time and the other one of the greatest sprinters of all time.
• The miler is the peerless FRANKEL, regarded by many as the greatest horse of the modern era. He is trained by Sir Henry Cecil in Newmarket and has won his ten races to date by an average winning distance of 5 lengths. He is top of the World Thoroughbred Rankings with a rating of 138.
• The sprinter is BLACK CAVIAR, who recently broke the all-time international record for the number of consecutive victories at the highest level of racing – the old record was 19 races set by the USA-trained mare, Zenyatta, and Black Caviar has now won 21, all in her native Australia. She is trained near Melbourne by Peter Moody and Royal Ascot will be her first overseas venture as she looks to prove herself against the best in Europe. She has won her 21 races by an average winning distance of 3½ lengths and is second in the World Thoroughbred Rankings with a rating of 132.
• Frankel is set to contest the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile, the first race on Day One of Royal Ascot, Tuesday 19 June, while Black Caviar is on course for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs (three-quarters of a mile) on the final day, Saturday 23 June.
4. If Frankel and Black Caviar make a strong case for coming on Tuesday and Saturday, The Queen herself provides a big reason to come on Wednesday 20 June as she will be hoping to have her 21st Royal Ascot winner and her first since 2008 to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. Carlton House, who finished third in last year’s Investec Derby at Epsom, is on course for the afternoon’s big QIPCO British Champions Series race, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. One of the Royal colt’s likely opponents will be the joint-third highest rated horse in the world, the French-trained Cirrus des Aigles.
5. It is Gold Cup Day on 21 June, known colloquially as Ladies’ Day, when the breathtaking Ascot fashions which light up every day of Royal Ascot will be at their most dazzling. The most famous long distance Flat race in the world, run over a mammoth two and half miles, always enthrals the huge crowd. Yeats won the Gold Cup a record five times for Ireland’s champion trainer, Aidan O’Brien, and this year he will saddle Fame And Glory who is out to follow in his illustrious former stablemate’s shoes by winning his second Gold Cup, another key QIPCO British Champions Series race.
6. Friday’s card on 22 June features three very aptly-named races for the Diamond Jubilee – the Coronation Stakes, the afternoon’s QIPCO British Champions Series race which attracts Europe’s best fillies over a distance of a mile, the Queen’s Vase and the Buckingham Palace Stakes.
7. To attract the world’s best horses throughout the five days of racing action, Ascot has raised the prize money for the Royal Meeting to £4.5m, up by almost 20% on last year. As well as nearly every single top European horse, the meeting is set to attract some of the best from the USA, Hong Kong and, of course, Australia.
8. There is a new dress code at the Royal Meeting this year and as a result the dress standards in the Royal Enclosure and Grandstand will be at their highest in recent memory, adding to the remarkable spectacle.
9. Ascot is staging a very special exhibition entitled “60 years of Royal Ascot during the Reign of Her Majesty The Queen”, a stunning photographic commemoration of the Royal Family at Ascot over the last 60 years.
10. Ascot will be a bigger sea of colour than ever before in the Diamond Jubilee year, with four kilometres of bunting bedecking the Royal Racecourse and 80,000 Union Jack flags being handed out to racegoers over the course of the week to celebrate the Queen’s arrival each day in the Royal Procession.