Stradivarius, who landed the Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus last year for winning four long-distance races including the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, is a red-hot favourite to repeat his success in the Thursday feature. He has already won the Yorkshire Cup this season, so another victory in the Gold Cup would put him halfway towards a second million-pound bonus.
Classic winners clash in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday. The 2,000 Guineas hero Magna Grecia seeks revenge over Phoenix Of Spain, who beat him in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. That race also plays host to last year’s unbeaten champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot, who bids to get his season back on track after two defeats.
Star sprinter Battaash, who looked as good as ever when landing an impressive win in the Temple Stakes in May, will attempt to establish himself the best horse in the world over five furlongs in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday. However, he will have to turn the tables on Blue Point, who beat him in the Group 1 sprint last season.
Hermosa, who already has two Classics to her name having won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, is the big attraction in Friday’s Coronation Stakes. She had been set to have her next run in France but trainer Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore team had a change of heart and rerouted their star filly to Royal Ascot.
What are the biggest races at Royal Ascot?
There are eight Group one races at Royal Ascot and five of them form the feature race for each day of the meeting. Tuesday’s big race is the St James Palace Stakes, over a mile this race is for three-year-old colts which often features the winners of the 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas and French 2,000 Guineas, and was won by the mighty Frankel in 2011.
Wednesday’s feature race is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes for horses aged four and above and have run over a mile and a quarter. It is the most valuable race at Royal Ascot with £750,000 in prize-money on offer.
The highlight on Thursday is the Gold Cup, this is the oldest race at Royal Ascot having first run in 1807. Staged over 2 1/2 miles, it is the most prestigious race in Europe for long-distance horses. The most successful Gold Cup horse of all time was Yeats, who won it four times in a row between 2006 and 2009, while Estimate landed an historic victory for the Queen in 2013, the only win for a reigning monarch in the 212-year history of the race.
The one-mile Coronation Stakes, which features the best three-year-old fillies from around the world, takes centre stage on Friday and on Saturday the main event is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a six-furlong dash for the world’s leading sprinters.
In addition, Royal Ascot stages some of the most prestigious handicaps in Flat racing, with the Royal Hunt Cup for milers and the Wokingham over six furlongs among them.
How to get to Royal Ascot
- From London & the North M4 Junction 6 onto the A332 Windsor bypass and follow the signs to Ascot.
- From the West M4 Junction 10 to the A329(M) signed to Bracknell and follow the signs to Ascot.
- From the South & East M3 Junction 3 onto the A332 signed to Bracknell and follow the signs to Ascot
- From the Midlands M40 southbound, Junction 4. Take the A404 towards the M4 (Junction 8/9). On the M4 head towards Heathrow/London. Leave M4 at Junction 6 and follow the A332 Windsor bypass to Ascot
More than 8,000 car parking spaces are available and pre-booking is advised. Car Park 8 costs £40 per day
- South West Trains runs a service to Ascot from Reading, Guildford and London Waterloo. The average journey time is 27 minutes from Reading and 52 minutes from Waterloo. Ascot’s railway station is a seven-minute walk from the racecourse.