The 300-year story of racing at Ascot began in 1711, when Queen Anne put the idea into motion to pursue her love of horse racing. With her Platinum Jubilee taking place this year, we all hope HM the Queen will be able to attend and that this will be a Royal Ascot to remember. Horses have played a huge part in the Queen’s life for the past nine decades. The 96-year-old monarch now holds the accolade of being one of the most successful owners and breeders of all time with over 530 wins.
To some, Royal Ascot may be just one of the highlights of the British social calendar but let’s not forget this is really about racing (it hosts seven of the UK’s 32 annual Group 1 races) and is considered by those in the know to offer the chance to witness some of the best horse racing in the world. It is also a meeting of royals, celebrities and industry tycoons. The feature race of the week is the Ascot Gold Cup, a two-and-a-half-mile Group 1 contest is run on Thursday and is considered the best staying race of the year. This is the event where the big bets will be staked. Frankie Dettori will ride Stradivarius, trained by John & Tandy Gosling. Spanish Mission trained by Clare Balding’s brother Andrew and Hollie Doyle ridding Trueshan shall make it a thrilling race. Hollie is, of course, our top female jockey, who last September became the first woman to be placed in the prize money in a British Classic.
Let’s not forget the two-legged fillies. Thursday is also “Ladies Day” and almost anything goes, from the stylish to the outrageous, the stakes are just as high around the paddock as they are in. Will platinum be the colour du jour this year? The Queen always opts for bright colours so she can stand out and been seen by her adoring subjects. We get a first look at her Majesty during the elegant procession of open-top carriages as they travel along the racecourse from Windsor Castle. The crowds at the Royal Enclosure vie for pole positions waiting for the Royal Family and their guests to alight from their carriages.
Foodies this year are in luck. Food at the Royal Enclosure will be prepared by Ollie Dabbous’s team at the Michelin-starred Hide London in the form of both a buffet and à la carte menu showcasing the best of British seasonal produce, elevated to the finest of cuisine in dishes such as Chilled pea & marigold soup, Cornish monkfish & mussels with Jersey Royals and Clotted cream panna cotta with strawberries.
The official coffee will be served by Lavazza, from the private boxes to their bars all around the Ascot racecourse, including two new ones that will be available exclusively for the event, in the Royal Enclosure and the Queen Anne enclosure. This is where you will also be able to enjoy some of their signature Coffeetails, such as the Lavazza Espresso Martini.