Royal Ascot to be held behind closed doors

Video: AscotRacecourse (YouTube)

Royal Ascot in UK has unveiled plans for an innovative ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ program as the famous racing meeting takes place behind closed doors for the first time in its history this week. The race will run from June 16 until June 20.

Coliseum Summit EUROPE will be held at Ascot Racecourse in UK on September 2-3, 2020. Miles Evans and Liz Pattinson of Ascot Racecourse, UK, will be the Speakers at the Coliseum Summit.

While the racecourse may be closed to spectators due to United Kingdom’s continuing lockdown rules, organizers have developed a series of features designed to engage audiences at home from the start of the 36-race event starting on June 16.

Racing fans will be able to follow a live schedule of coverage and entertainment including the opening of the gates each morning and singing around the Bandstand after the last race.

Royal Ascot RacecourseImage: Royal Ascot Racecourse

They can also download images of the course’s famous Union Jack bunting as well as download a Royal Ascot flower wall filter and dedicated Royal Ascot At Home GIFs to use on Instagram. A series of quizzes and competitions offer the opportunity to win prizes, including a Porsche driving experience at Silverstone.

Celebrated chefs Raymond Blanc, Ollie Dabbous, Brett Graham, Skye Gyngell, Eric Lanlard, Simon Rogan and James Tanner will cater to foodies ahead of their return to the racecourse in 2021. The racecourse will for the first time share its secret recipes, to enable enthusiasts at home to create their own VIP tea.

Some scheduled activities can now be viewed on a dedicated ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ activity hub on the event’s website, while others will be unveiled over the course of the week, with all money raised donated to charities.

Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Ascot Racecourse, said, “We’re excited to launch ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ for 2020. During these unprecedented times when we aren’t able to welcome our usual 300,000 guests to the Royal Meeting, we want as many people as possible to enjoy the magic of the Royal Meeting from home. It will be a unique experience, like no other, for us all.”

“We hope everyone will embrace the many wonderful activities and interactive challenges we have lined up on the Ascot website, in the lead up to and during the event, as well as tuning into all the live racing action on television,” Juliet added.

Meanwhile, Ascot is to become the first racecourse in the UK to publish live weather data via an innovative new app developed by Cambridgeshire-based technology company, TurfTrax.

Information including rainfall, wind speed and direction, soil moisture, and daily evapotranspiration (moisture loss) will be available to view in real-time alongside GoingStick readings, going maps, rails positions and irrigation in the build-up to and during Royal Ascot.

Chris Stickels, clerk of the course at Ascot, said: “With racing taking place behind closed doors there will be fewer people this year with access to the track and, therefore, the distribution of up to the minute information takes on even greater significance.”

No spectators

The event is a strict ‘No, No’ for spectators. It is strictly a closed door event taking into cognisance the grave COVID-19 situation. This means there will be no Royal procession, no morning suits or millinery and, for the first time in her 68-year reign, no Her Majesty The Queen.

Approximately, 300,000 guests attend Royal Ascot each year. But in a huge blow to the local hospitality industry due to the deadly respiratory disease, the event will take place sans fans.

Race timings

All races will be aired live on Sky Sports Racing with race two onwards (race three onwards on Saturday) will be beamed on ITV. Racing will begin at 1.15pm Tuesday to Friday and 12.40pm on Saturday, with the final race at 4.40pm.

Prize money

Prize money has been cut by half, from a record £7.3 million last summer to £3.68 million this year. Prior to the coronavirus upheaval, there had been talks of a £1m prize for the winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Purse strings have been tightened since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bumper program

Royal Ascot may not boast a humongous crowd this year but a bumper program is in place.

This year’s Royal Ascot will feature 36 races over five days, seven on the first four days and then eight on the final day. In this unprecedented year, an extra six races have been added in total.

In one of several alterations, the Buckingham Palace Handicap, which was lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, will open the meeting. The Silver Royal Hunt Cup (1m) and the Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f) are included for those who miss the cut for the main events.

Among the changes to the regular program are the movement of the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes to the final day, to maximize the time between them and the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas races at Newmarket.

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