Monday, June 18, 2007

Racings Royal Week

If you like pomp and circumstance, romance and royalty or indeed racing of the highest quality then your sights should be firmly fixed on Royal Ascot this week.
The Royal Meeting at Ascot is one of racings greatest traditions. Inaugurated in 1711 it is a race meeting hosted by the British Royal family. Prior to the first race each day the Royals in attendance are paraded up the straight in a horse drawn carriage before making their way to their seats. The Royal Enclosure, which is the equivalent of the clubhouse, maintains a strict dress code. Men must be in morning dress with top hats, ladies must be elegantly attired and need to have hats of their own.
There is no question however that the greatest happenings of the week come on the race course. 5 days of racing and 6 races per day. 30 races in all and every one of them is a stakes race, 16 of them are Graded Stakes and there are 6 Grade Ones or rather Group Ones as they're called in Europe.
As you can see from the image above Ascot is a very grand looking race track. It just underwent a multi million dollar upgrading and is one of the most modern tracks and opulent tracks in the world.
It's an oddly shaped course with plenty of undulations. The turns are right handed but they are able to run even mile races over the Royal Hunt Cup course which is a straight mile. Most races over 7f though are contested around a turn. The Royal Hunt Cup itself, which will be run on Wednesday is usually a cavalry charge of nearly 40 horses so running it over a straight course is more a matter of safety than anything.

I'd encourage everyone to follow along with the Royal Ascot meet. Because of the time difference the first race is run at about 9:30 am EST and the last at approximately 12:30. You can follow along at Sporting Life which should live audio commentary and At The Races which has replays and excellent previews.

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