Tuesday 18th June to Saturday 22nd June, 2013
Royal Ascot is one of the most famous race meetings in the world and takes place over five days in June every year. The meeting was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 and is attended by members of the Royal Family to this day. Queen Elizabeth II is a big supporter of the Festival and attends all five days of racing every single year.
The Festival is noted for its tradition and enforces a very strict dress code especially in the Royal Enclosure. The event has become as much about the social aspect as it has about the horses and it is one of the premier events on the United Kingdom social calendar. Royal Ascot plays host to seven Group 1 races (at least one on every day) and draws horses from all around the world to compete. The prizemoney on offer at Royal Ascot has improved significantly in recent years and in 2013 there will be £5,000,000 on offer. Over the five days of racing over 300,000 people from all over the world are in attendance.
The first day of Royal Ascot is the most action packed of the entire Festival with three different Group 1 Races. The Queen Anne Stakes is always the first race of the day and draws the best milers from all over Europe. The King's Stand Stakes only recently regained its Group 1 status but is now a part of the Global Sprint Challenge. The St. James's Palace Stakes is the feature race for three-year-old colts and generally features horses that take part in the 2000 Guineas. .
The highlight of the second day of Royal Ascot is the Prince of Wales' Stakes. This year will be the 150th running of the race that was won established way back in 1862. The race is now run over the distance of one and two furlongs and in recent years has become one of the most popular races during the Festival.
Day three at Royal Ascot is unofficially considered Ladies' Day and is highlighted by the running of the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is Britain's leading race for stayers and is generally considered the feature event of the entire Royal Ascot Festival.
Day Four of Royal Ascot is generally considered the quietest day of the meeting but still features the Group 1 Coronation Stakes. The Coronation Stakes is contested by the leading three-year-old fillies and generally includes a number a mixture of the 1000 Guineas and the French Poule d'Essai des Pouliches field.
The final day of the Royal Ascot meeting is headlined by what is now known as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The race is the featuring sprinting event of the meeting and often features horses backing up from the King's Stand Stakes. In 2012 the Diamond Jubilee Stakes was won by Australian Champion Black Caviar.
The Ascot Gold Cup is the principal race of the five days that constitute the Royal Ascot Festival. It runs over a distance of two miles and four furlongs, and is open to thoroughbred horses aged four and above. Its distance classifies it as a so-called 'stayers' event, meaning that it puts the horses' stamina to the test. Amongst its kind it is the most prestigious and valuable of races.
The Gold Cup is also the first race of the British Stayers' Triple Crown, which is later in the season completed by the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup. The trophy for the Gold Cup is traditionally presented by her Majesty the Queen, as well as the trophies for the Royal Hunt Cup and the Queen's Vase, which also feature during the Royal Ascot Festival.