Royal Ascot organisers reveal revamped schedule of 36 races over five days to be held behind closed doors subject to government approval
- Racing In Britain set to return on June 1 amid government plan to exit lockdown
- Royal Ascot will remain a five-day meeting and take place behind closed doors
- The meeting is set for June 16 to June 20, subject to government approval
- There will be seven races on the first four days, with eight on the final day
Royal Ascot will have six additional races added to its originally scheduled programme as it plans to stage a bumper 2020 meeting in an unprecedented year.
The extra races to maximise running opportunities include ‘Silver’ versions of both Wokingham Stakes and Royal Hunt Cup. They are keystone handicaps which traditionally attract over 25 starters, although runner limits have yet to be finalised with the BHA.
There will be seven races for the first four days with a blockbusting eight-race card on the Saturday.
Royal Ascot set to start on June 16 and five-day meeting will take place behind closed doors
The Buckingham Palace Handicap, lost from the fixture in 2015, will be the opening race at the meeting on Tuesday 16 June.
The Queen has also given her permission for the names of three one-off handicaps.
They are the mile and three-quarter Copper Horse Handicap named after a stature of King George III on horseback in Windsor Great Park, the 10-furlong Golden Gates Handicap which marks the ceremonial entrance point for the Royal Procession at the end of the straight mile and the five-furlong Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap named after the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
The Queen will not be able to make her traditional appearance this year due to coronavirus
Britain’s most popular race meeting usually attracts around 300,000 visitors over five days
Ascot spokesman Nick Smith said: ‘We are of course taking nothing for granted in terms of government’s final approval to permit behind closed doors sporting events from June 1 but we hope these extra opportunities will be welcomed by horsemen, broadcasters and the public at home.’
As expected there is a reshuffling of the race order. The St James’s Palace Stakes, traditionally run in the opening day, and Coronation Stakes, usually part of Friday’s programme, revert to the Saturday to maximise the time between them and the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6 and 7.
Four of the six two-year-old races will be staged on Friday and Saturday while King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes become key trials for the Derby and Oaks (both scheduled for July 4).
Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)
Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group One, 4yo+)
Ribblesdale Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo fillies)
King Edward VII Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo colts & geldings)
King’s Stand Stakes (5f, Group One, 3yo+)
Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group Two, 4yo+ fillies and mares)
Ascot Stakes Handicap (2 1/2m, 4yo+)
Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Hampton Court Stakes (10f, Group Three, 3yo)
King George V Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo)
Prince of Wales’s Stakes (10f, Group One, 4yo+)
Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)
Copper Horse Handicap (1 3/4m, 4yo+)
Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo)
Wolferton Stakes (10f, Listed, 4yo+)
Jersey Stakes (7f, Group Three, 3yo)
Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo)
Gold Cup (2 1/2m, Group One, 4yo+)
Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts & geldings)
Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies)
Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)
Albany Stakes (6f, Group Three, 2yo fillies)
Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo)
Hardwicke Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 4yo+)
Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group One, 3yo colts & fillies)
Queen’s Vase (1 3/4m, Group Two, 3yo)
Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo+)
Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo fillies)
Coronation Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo fillies)
Coventry Stakes (6f, Group Two, 2yo)
St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo colts)
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group One, 4yo+)
Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Alexandra Stakes (2 3/4m, Conditions, 4yo+)
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