Royal Ascot History
As one would expect the history of Royal Ascot began with the Monarchy way back in 1711 at a time when horse racing was becoming very fashionable with the rich. It was Queen Ann herself that purchased the land adjacent to Windsor Castle that has since become the home to the most racing festival in the world, She had it in her mind at the time that the land would prove very suitable for horse racing and training but even she could never have expected its huge success.
Before long race meetings were taking place, which became very popular with racehorse owners due to the social benefits that were on offer by Royalty at the time. It was not long before the Ascot meeting became the most important of its type with its popularity encouraging the first 4-day festival in 1768.
These days of course Royal Ascot has become the most prestigious horse racing meeting in the country with Royalty in attendance daily. The meeting hosts 9 of the 32 Group One races held in the UK each year, with the Blue Riband being the famous Ascot Gold Cup, raced on Ladies Day.
The racecourse closed in 2005, for major refurbishments to the Grandstand and for the first time the Royal meeting was moved to York, often described as the Ascot of the North. The meeting also extended in 2005 from 4 days to 5 days and now concludes on a Saturday.