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One Royal Meeting – One Jockey - One horse targeting his fourth consecutive Gold Cup and his fifth consecutive Royal Ascot gold medal.

June 4, 2021


The precise origin of the Royal Meeting is unclear - it was an event that evolved, but the first four- day meeting took place in 1768. Arguably, the meeting as we know it today started to take shape with the introduction of the Gold Cup in 1807.

Gold Cup Day is the third day of Royal Ascot and is the racecourse's oldest surviving race where the winning owners receive a gold trophy, which becomes their property.

Trophies retained by the winning owner are only awarded for ten races at the Royal Meeting - the others being the Queen's Vase, inaugurated in 1838 to commemorate Queen Victoria's accession, the Royal Hunt Cup (1843) and the remaining Group 1 races.

It was at around the time of the first running of the Gold Cup (1807) that the roots of today's traditional Royal Enclosure dress code emerged. Beau Brummell, a close friend of the Prince Regent, decreed that men of elegance should wear waisted black coats and white cravats with pantaloons. Over the years, this has evolved into the wearing of morning suits and equally formal clothes for ladies, who must wear hats.

The Car Parks at Ascot almost certainly play more part in the event than at any other venue – they are far from merely functional with lavish picnics, including butlers, candelabra, and silver service not uncommon, especially in Number One and Two Car Parks. In 2006, a Country Life survey found that Royal Ascot is the South of England's most popular picnic spot and the most popular sporting occasion at which to picnic in the country.

Ascot's much-loved tradition of singing around the bandstand began in the 1970s under the stewardship of Lady Beaumont, wife of the then Clerk of the Course, Captain Sir Nicholas Beaumont. The unmissable sing song of British favourites and flag waving after racing was an immediate success with thousands of racegoers staying on and is now listed as part of the day's formal proceedings in the racecard.

Throughout considerable changes over the years, the Royal Meeting has maintained its position as a much-loved event at the heart of the national sporting and social calendar. Ascot's traditions remain as strong, strictly observed, and loved now as they ever were, whilst the racing goes from strength to strength to attract a rich international audience both on and off course.

This year, Royal Ascot will form part of second phase of the Government's events research programme (Covid-19) with the total maximum capacity of 12,000 racegoers each day. Combined with exceptional commitment from a volume of international broadcasters, the Royal Meeting remains one of the world's most prestigious horseracing events.



Last month, 50-year-old jockey Frankie Dettori rode his 20 th British Classic winner in the 1,000 Guineas and in traditional style, then celebrated as if it were his first! The Italian jockey has ridden more than 250 Group One winners over three decades, and the desire for more victories remains as strong as ever.

The effervescent jockey is determined to match the legendary Lester Piggott in the saddle and has no intention of retiring for many years, as his recent quip implies: "Come on the oldies!"

Frankie arrived in the UK aged 14, unable to speak a word of English and somehow managed to arrive safely in Newmarket, to become an apprentice with trainer Luca Cumani.

His success in the saddle, combined with his USP flying dismount, catapulted Frankie into celebrity status. The Italian jockey was a former captain on the popular BBC quiz show, A Question of Sport, participated on the British reality show, Celebrity Big Brother, presented Top of the Pops and made numerous appearances on entertainment programmes. This combined with luxurious partnerships, ambassadorial roles and affiliations, reinforced Lester Piggott's comment that "Frankie is simply the best."

His most celebrated achievement was riding all seven winners on British Champions' Day at Ascot in 1996. Fast forward to 2020, Frankie aged 49 was crowned leading jockey at Royal Ascot champion for the seventh time. Look ahead to June 15 th for the opening day of the Royal Meeting with daily crowds limited to 12,000 daily - be assured Frankie will be one of the leading showmen.


Come Thursday, 17 th June British racing anticipates a new legend in the form of classy chestnut Stradivarius.

The seven-year-old racehorse is set to run in the 2021 Ascot Gold Cup and is looking to champion the Irish thoroughbred, Yeats, to win the feature race four times in succession and land eight Group One races.

Trainer, John Gosden, gently introduced young Stradivarius to the world of horseracing in 2016 as a two-year-old and steered him to land his first Group One victory the following season - winning the Queen's Vase (G2) at Royal Ascot and the Qatar Goodwood Cup (G1), as well as finishing a close third in the St Leger.

As a four and five-year-old, Stradivarius won four Cups - Yorkshire, Ascot, Goodwood and the Lonsdale Cups – securing an annual £1 million bonus for winning the unique combination.

Other accolades and titles have followed, and in 2020 with jockey Frankie Dettori on board, Stradivarius won his third Royal Ascot Gold Cup by a mind-bogglingly 10 lengths and later in the season, he won his record fourth Goodwood Cup.

The Royal win was a dramatic day all in all with the heavy rain, not in Stradivarius's favour, and then the hot favourite getting all ‘coltish' before the off. Trainer, John Gosden blamed his aftershave - but scent or no scent, the win was very much the highlight of the 2020 Flat season and showcased the immense talent of Frankie Dettori.

Will Stradivarius win his fourth Gold Cup, only time will tell….


Hannah Walker / hannah@hbamedia.tv / 00 44 7971 598 287