In the UK, Royal Ascot is seen as the racing event of the summer and in 2022 it is shaping up to be an especially big one with the racing event also leading The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
Its also a special occasion this year as 2022 marks the first year since 2019 where racing has been able to take place in front of capacity crowds in a post Covid era. Over 44,000 are set to attend each day of the 5 day festival with even her majesty expected to make an appearance at the track.
The Queen has had runners at Ascot for many years and even won the feature race, The Ascot Gold Cup in 2013 with a her horse, Estimate.
A Royal Ascot Schedule
Much like the big race days down under like the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate Royal Ascot is steeped in tradition and one of the oldest is the procession of the carriages that transports the Royal family to the course at the start of each of the five days.
With crowds back in their masses race goers are keen to see and experience the old traditions like the arrival of the Royals but also the innovative fashions of the field as well as a bit of celebrity spotting as thousands head to the Ascot Racecourse.
When it comes to the racing action fans will get the chance to witness 35 races across the 5 days with the Ascot Gold Cup headline festivities in the heart of Ladies Day on the 16th June.
Racing connections will be hoping to get a cut of some of the £8.65m ($18m AUD) in prize money from the week. Despite seeing the racing industry hit hard by Covid the prize money value has increased significantly in the past two years moving up from £7.33m in 2019.
Then we have the stars of the show themselves, the horses. Horses travel from all over the globe to tackle the Ascot Racecourse with 9 different countries nominating runners to compete in 8 Group One contests across the scheude.
Traveling from abroad we have our home grown Nature Strip and Home Affairs who sit as two of the highest ranked sprinters in the world. From the US there is also Golden Pal who rates as a top chance in taking home some of the huge prize money available.
Of the home crop there is also a level of excitement about William Haggis-trained Baaeed who begins the week as an odds-on favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes on day one of proceedings.
Royal Ascot Race Days and Key Races
With so many days of racing at one track we take a look at the key race each day and who is the one to watch out for.
Tuesday 14th June -
The Tuesday at Ascot is headlined by the King’s Stand Stakes which can be dated back as far as 1860 when it was first run. The race is the third to jump on Tuesday and is seen as the feature race of the day.
14:30 - Queen Anne Stakes
15:05 - Coventry Stakes
15:40 - King's Stand Stakes - £350,000
16:20 - St James's Palace Stakes
17:00 - Ascot Stakes
17:35 - Wolferton Stakes
18:10 - Copper Horse Stakes
The King’s Stand Stakes is one of the most interesting races on the card as it originally began life as a two mile race called the Royal Stand Plate before in 1860 the track was too wet to race on. Not to be out done by the weather the race was moved to the only raceable part of the track which was 5 furlongs (1,006m) and it was rebranded the Queen’s Stand Plate.
Given the race bore the name of the Queen (Victoria) it was designated the most important sprint race on the card. It was renamed again in 1901 to the King’s Stand Stakes after the passing of Queen Victoria and the accession of King Edward VII.
Roll forward to today the race is a hotly contested one with Aussie punters keeping an eye on Nature Strip for Chris Waller. Nature Strip has the chance to be the first Australian Champion at Royal Ascot since Black Caviar.
The Everest winner is also looking for confirmation that he is the worlds best and will line up in barrier 10 on Tuesday with the likes of American horse Golden Pal for company. Nature Strip has firmed into favourtism for the Group 1 showcase and trainer Waller will be hoping its the first of two wins across the week.
Golden Pal could be the one to watch in this one with the stable out to prove a point.
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Wednesday at Royal Ascot is all about the Prince of Wales Stakes, a Group One contest over the distance of 2,004m. The race is for four year olds and up and was won in 2021 by Love under the ride of jockey Ryan Moore.
14:30 - Queen Mary Stakes
15:05 - Queen's Vase
15:40 - Prince Of Wales's Stakes - £700,000
16:20 - Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
17:00 - Royal Hunt Cup
17:35 - Windsor Castle Stakes
18:10 - Kensington Palace Stakes
The Prince of Wales Stakes is one of the richest races of the week and has it’s origins dating back to 1862 around which time the Melbourne Cup was also run for the first time.
It is seen as one of the most prestigious races of the week and there is much hype about Godolphin trained Adayar who is under the conditioning of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Charlie Appleby.
Adayar had a minor injury setback when returning from the paddock in May and is expected to line up as a short priced favourite in the Group One Prince of Wales Stakes. He ran a creditable fourth in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe last time out and this son of Frankel is tipped to return with a boom.
Another potential runner to watch and one that will peak interest with Australian racing fans is two time Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Addeybb who could be rolled out by trainer William Haggis. Addeybb is a tried and test runner on courses all over the world and with distance to suit Haggis could look to hand a final run to the gelding.
Thursday 16th June 2022
The showpiece of Thursday if not the week for most is the Ascot Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a real test for stayers as entrants are required to cover 4,014m (2m, 3f) of the Ascot track to win. It is considered not only Ascot’s but the UK’s most prestigious staying race.
14:30 - Norfolk Stakes
15:05 - King George V Stakes
15:40 - Ribblesdale Stakes
16:20 - Gold Cup - £375,000
17:00 - Britannia Stakes
17:35 - Hampton Court Stakes
18:10 - Buckingham Palace Stakes
The Ascot Gold Cup like many races during Royal Ascot has a long history with it’s origins dating back as far as 1807 when the first edition of the race was won by Master Jackey who was awarded 100 guineas in prize money.
It has attracted global interest for centuries with the first foreign interest registered by Nicholas I of Russia who traveled to watch the race in 1844.
The Gold Cup is the first leg of the Stayers Triple Crown in the UK with the Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup completing the trio. We don’t have to travel to far back in time for the last time the Triple Crown was won however with Stradivarius completing the treble in 2019. There was talk about Stradivarius traveling to Flemington to contest the Melbourne Cup but the trip never materialised.
Stradivarius returns for another crack at the Gold Cup having won recently at York to go a perfect 6 wins from 6 starts at the track. It was expected the great stayer would head to retirement last year however connections have decided to continue racing him and it could be one last chance to see this great equine athlete in action when attempting to win a fourth Gold Cup.
Friday 17th June 2022
Much like the penultimate day of the Spring Racing Carnival when we see punters folk to Flemington in there masses to witness the VRC Oaks, the penultimate day Ascot doesn’t slow down with racing fans heading back to the track for a fourth day an the Group 1 Coronation Stakes headlining the day.
14:30 - Albany Stakes
15:05 - Commonwealth Cup
15:40 - Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes
16:20 - Coronation Stakes - £426,000
17:00 - Sandringham Stakes
17:35 - King Edward VII Stakes
18:10 - Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes
The Coronation Stakes were established in 1840 to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Victoria who have been sworn in as the new British Monarch two years earlier.
Elevated to Group One status in 1988, The Coronation Stakes is seen as the premier race for three year old fillies on the week and has always been held over a distance of 1,603m. Most that come to contest the race have previously run the 1,000 Guineas, the french variant, the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches or the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Looking to buck the trend on that route however is Inspiral for trainers John and Thady Gosden who is a sixth generation filly by the great distance runner Frankel.
Unbeaten in four starts Inspiral has pieced together an impressive win record when rising from maiden grade to Group One winner last time out. She has won her four starts by a combined 14 lengths margin so far.
Could be the bet of the week and definitely going to be a huge watch on the second to last day of racing.
Saturday 18th June 2022
The final day of Royal Ascot and likely to be the most interesting for the Aussies as it should include two if not three of the Australian Contingent who have traveled to the Northern Hemisphere to compete in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes over 1207m.
14:30 - Chesham Stakes
15:05 - Jersey Stakes
15:40 - Hardwicke Stakes
16:20 - Platinum Jubilee Stakes - £700,000
17:00 - Wokingham Stakes
17:35 - Golden Gates Stakes
18:10 - Queen Alexandra Stakes
When it was first run in 1868 the Platinum Jubilee Stakes were called the All Aged Stakes. After a few name changes along the way the race was renamed to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 and renamed the Golden Jubilee Stakes. Most recently we’ve celebrated the Diamond and now the Platinum Jubilee Stakes as it will be run in June.
We already know that Sam Freedman trained Blue Diamond Stakes winner Artorious is down to run in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes and it is likely he will be joined by Chris Waller trained Newmarket Handicap winner Home Affairs.
Home Affairs seems the most likely to line up against Artorious whereas his stablemate Nature Strip is lined up in both the Platinum Jubilee and the King Stand Stakes. Nature Strip is confirmed as a starter for The Kings Stand Stakes however it could be an option to back him up if he runs well and returns in order for the Platinum Jubilee Handicap.