SIX extra races have been added to the programme for Royal Ascot, which will take place without racegoers from June 16th to 20th. There will be seven races staged on the first four days, with eight on the final card.
The Buckingham Palace Handicap, lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, will open the meeting.
A Silver Royal Hunt Cup (1m) and a Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f) are included for those who miss the cut for the main events.
Also staged this year only will be the Copper Horse Handicap (14f, 4yo+), the Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo) and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo).
The Copper Horse is a statue of King George III mounted on horseback marking the end of the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, adjacent to the racecourse; The Golden Gates are the ceremonial entrance point for the Royal Procession at the end of the straight mile; The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Monarchy in Scotland.
Among the changes to the regular programme are the movement of the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes to the final day, to maximise the time between them and the Guineas at Newmarket (June 6th and 7th).
In order to provide two-year-olds with as much time as possible before the key races at Royal Ascot, the two year old programme has been moved back with four of the six races to be staged on Friday and Saturday. In an interview with The Guardian, trainer Ger Lyons implored Royal Ascot to put the meeting back by at least a week, so that Irish trainers could have more time to qualify two-year-olds for the meeting. Racing in Ireland starts on June 8th, eight days before Ascot.
The King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, now key Derby and Oaks Trials, will be on the opening day in order to maximise the gap to Derby and Oaks Day (July 4th). The Hampton Court, also an eligible Epsom trial this year, will be run on day two. Prize money will be confirmed in due course.
“We hope these extra opportunities will be welcomed by horsemen, broadcasters and the public at home,” said Ascot’s Nick Smith. “A lot of work has gone into scheduling an appropriate pattern trials programme, beginning on June 3rd, alongside an enhanced two-year-old programme. We are of course taking nothing for granted in terms of government’s final approval to permit behind closed doors sporting events from June 1st. We are announcing the programme today, so that horsemen can begin their detailed planning
The BHA was due to publish more fixture list news last night.
Royal Ascot order of running
Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)
Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group 1, 4yo+)
Ribblesdale Stakes (1m 4f, Group 2, 3yo fillies)
King Edward VII Stakes (1m 4f, Group 2, 3yo colts & geldings)
King’s Stand Stakes (5f, Group 1, 3yo+)
Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group 2, 4yo+ fillies and mares)
Ascot Stakes Handicap (2m 4f, 4yo+)
Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Hampton Court Stakes (1m 2f, Group 3, 3yo)
King George V Handicap (1m 4f, 3yo)
Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m 2f, Group 1, 4yo+)
Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)
Copper Horse Handicap (1m 6f, 4yo+)
Golden Gates Handicap (1m 2f, 3yo)
Wolferton Stakes (1m 2f, Listed, 4yo+)
Jersey Stakes (7f, Group 3, 3yo)
Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo)
Gold Cup (2m 4f, Group 1, 4yo+)
Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts & geldings)
Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies)
Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)
Albany Stakes (6f, Group 3, 2yo fillies)
Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group 2, 2yo)
Hardwicke Stakes (1m 4f, Group 2, 4yo+)
Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group 1, 3yo colts & fillies)
Queen’s Vase (1m 6f, Group 2, 3yo)
Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1m 4f, 3yo+)
Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group 2, 2yo fillies)
Coronation Stakes (1m, Group 1, 3yo fillies)
Coventry Stakes (6f, Group 2, 2yo)
St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, Group 1, 3yo colts)
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group 1, 4yo+)
Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Alexandra Stakes (2m 6f, Conditions, 4yo+)
Race two onwards (race three onwards on Saturday) will be shown on ITV1 and all races will be shown on Sky Sports Racing. Racing will begin at 1.15pm Tuesday to Friday and 12.40pm on Saturday, with the final race at 4.40pm.