From the 18th century into the 21st, guests have been drawn to Ascot Racecourse for the glamour and the thrill of the races. A place of sporting legend, champions have been created here as hooves and hearts pound on the track and in the stands. And the atmosphere is still palpable.
The grand 179-acre racecourse inspires a sense greatness in all who visit, from racegoers to those hosting or events in these majestic spaces. So, this month we’re taking a look at Ascot’s sporting history to explore what makes this racecourse a winning venue.
A regal racetrack
The racecourse was established in 1711 when Queen Anne rode out from Windsor Castle and declared the area an “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”. In fact, the land on which Ascot Racecourse sits is still leased from the Crown Estate.
Today, as an owner and breeder of racehorses, The Queen takes a keen interest in the races, and has had great success with her own horses over the years. The jockeys riding Her Majesty's horses can be identified by The Queen's racing colours: purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves, and black velvet cap with gold fringe - the same as those of King Edward VII and George IV, who were also fans of the races!
Ascot is famed for being a tough course, especially over fences, with a 73-foot climb from the lowest point, Swinley Bottom, to the highest, The Winning Post.
The staff at Ascot seem to be sporty too; cutting the just under 724,387sqm of grass to a regulation 4 inches for Flat racing and 5 inches for Jumps racing for each and every meeting. It takes 12 full time grounds staff to maintain the track, lawns and grounds year-round and three more maintain the plants, shrubs, hedges and trees.
In 2012 the world’s four top horses on official rankings ran at Ascot, something no other venue can claim. One of these four was the much celebrated Frankel. A British thoroughbred racehorse, he was unbeaten in his 14-race career and was at one point, in 2011, the highest-rated racehorse in the world. Frankel ran at Ascot a mighty five times, coming first each time.
Another equine winner, Estimate, won the Queen’s Vase in 2012 at Royal Ascot and went on to provoke scenes of ‘unbridled’ joy from the crowd when winning the following year’s Gold Cup too. The horse’s jockey in 2012, Ryan Moore, also continued his success at Royal Ascot in 2017 with six wins in five days.
Ascot Racecourse brings over 300 years of sporting excellence to events, conferencing and meetings with Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events – partnering to form the catering brand ‘1711’. As one of the largest and most prestigious racecourses in the world, the venue’s outstanding facilities (the venue delivers quality food, drink and service for over 600,000 visitors every year!) are matched only by the inspirational and exhilarating setting for your events.