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It's a sure bet on the turf at Royal Ascot

Grassclippings - Ascot Race CourseIt's the start of Royal Ascot today in the Royal County of Berkshire

Britain’s most popular race meeting, welcoming approximately 300,000 visitors across the five days and the most valuable race meeting in Britain, with £4.5 million in prize money.  It's the start of the 'summer season' on turf.

Royal Ascot week features seven Group 1 races and eighteen Group races in total and is viewed in over 200 countries with approximately 400 helicopters and 1,000 limos descend on Royal Ascot every year.


There are 2,400 cleaners working on a 24-hour cycle during the week and there are 300 mobile toilet facilities installed temporarily for the week.  16,700 items of temporary furniture are hired in for the Royal Meeting.

It was Queen Anne who first saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot whilst out riding in 1711.  The first ever race meeting took place that year, with the first four-day meeting in 1768.  On each of the five days of Royal Ascot, Her Majesty The Queen and her guests arrive at Royal Ascot by horse-drawn landaus, travelling down the straight mile before circling the iconic Parade Ring. Continuing a tradition started by King George IV in 1825, the landaus passes guests within every enclosure.

According to the official Ascot Racecourse web site, during the five days in 2012, racegoers consumed:

  • 51,549 bottles of champagne

  • 44,524 glasses of Pimm’s

  • 173,776 draught pints of beer

  • 1000kg of Cornish clotted cream

  • 2,050kg of fresh lobster

  • 35,000 spears of English asparagus

  • 25,000 raspberry macaroons

  • 30,000 chocolate choux éclairs

If like us, you show an interest in the turf, the official 'Going' is the description of ground conditions experienced by a horse on the racecourse. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has defined seven descriptions for these conditions:

  • Heavy
  • Soft
  • Good to Soft
  • Good
  • Good to Firm
  • Firm
  • Hard

These terms can be combined to give a more accurate description of the Going, for example: Good, Good to Soft in places, and so on.

The Going Report is usually available seven days prior to each race meeting and is updated regularly. A 'Going Map' is also produced, indicating any variance in Going conditions around the racecourse.

Other information may also be given alongside the Official Going, such as 'watering', which is when the Clerk of the Course deems it necessary to water the course if the weather has been particularly dry.

Read more: The Ascot Racecourse

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