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Royal Ascot: A Horse Racing Spectacle like no other

Quite simply, Royal Ascot is a unique event in the horse racing calendar. There is nothing else quite like the enthralling mixture of racing excellence and style that this annual gathering brings. From the glamour of Ladies Day to finding the most competitive odds in order to pick a winner, there is nothing to compare to Royal Ascot.

© Caroline Norris

Royal Ascot

If it’s history that you’re looking for, then this is the meeting for you. Dating all the way back to 1711, when Queen Anne purchased the track that is now the Ascot race course, there has always been a certain mystique to the occasion. The royal connection endures until today, with the carriage-drawn royal procession taking place each morning along the track to the grandstand. You are guaranteed that several members of the royal family, even Queen Elizabeth will be in attendance. And this year, the royal influence will be even stronger with the Windsor Forest Stakes having been re-named the Duke of Cambridge Stakes in honour of Prince William.

However, Royal Ascot is also about the racing itself and it will be more lucrative than ever this year, with total prize money reaching £5million. It is no surprise given the calibre of races taking place during the course of the week. There is at least one Group 1 event taking place on each of the five days of the meeting.

Taking pride of place is the Gold Cup, which will run on the third day of the event, otherwise known as Ladies Day. It is the race which made legendary jockey Lester Piggott a hero, notching up a record eleven wins. There are plenty of contenders for the crown this year, including those who have won the race before. Last year’s winner Colour Vision is fancied by many, while the 2010 winner, Rite of Passage is also among the favourites. Although Estimate and Saddlers Rock are also in with a good shout, if you are looking for a good bet on Royal Ascot, then check out William Hill where the odds on Rite of Passage are particularly impressive.

However, away from the feature races of the day, there are plenty of other exciting races to keep an eye on. The Royal Hunt Cup on day two of the meeting is considered to be a wide open field with an exciting handicap race in prospect. Meanwhile, the very last race of the meeting, the Queen Alexandra Stakes is also shaping up to be a race to remember. Keep a special eye out for Mad Moose in this one, who surprised everyone at Cheltenham. It is just one of many reasons to be excited about Royal Ascot.

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