Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Large Numbercloths to be used at Royal Ascot 2010

As part of the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing for Change initiative, large numbercloths were trialled at Ascot Racecourse for the first time on 28th April 2010. The trial was such a success that Ascot will be adopting the new format numbercloth at Royal Ascot 2010.
The images at the top of this page show a comparison between the standard numbercloth (top picture) and the new style large type version (bottom picture).

Friday, 21 May 2010

The Official Ascot Racecourse Timeline 1711 - 2010

Summer 1711 It was Queen Anne who first saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot, which in those days was called East Cote. Whilst out riding she came upon an area of open heath, not far from Windsor Castle, that looked an ideal place for “horses to gallop at full stretch.”
June 1711 Charles, Duke of Somerset instructed Sir William Wyndham, Master of the
Royal Buckhounds to have the open heath cleared of scrub and gorse in preparation for a race meeting.
11 August 1711 The first race meeting ever held at Ascot took place. Her Majesty’s Plate ,worth 100 guineas and open to any horse, mare or gelding over the age of six, was the inaugural event. Each horse was required to carry a weight of 12st and seven runners took part.
17 September 1711 the success of Her Majesty’s Plate in August meant the second meeting followed soon after in September.
31 July 1727 John Cheny published a prototype form book, which evolved into the Racing Calendar recording the conditions of each race and the prize.
1744 The Yeoman Prickers were formed. Employed by the Master of the Buckhounds, their distinctive livery of forest green coats with gold facings are worn today by the Ascot Greencoats, who attend Royal Ascot each year.
1752 The popularity of attending the racing at Ascot was becoming apparent in social circles, prompting the Duke of Bedford to write that when arriving in London ‘I could find no soul to dine or sup with.’
1762 The first use of racing colours was introduced, although it wasn’t mandatory for another two decades.
1773 James Weatherby, Keeper of the Match Book (the book of records for match races)was authorised by the Jockey Club to publish a racing calendar. James Weatherby began a family firm, still in existence today. Weatherbys are the secretariat of horse racing in Britain.
June 1791 – The Oatlands Stakes was run at Ascot – an important landmark race as it was the first handicap race, where the weights of the runners were adjusted according to their form to give them equal chances.
1793 The first permanent building was erected by George Slingsby, a Windsor builder. It held 1,650 people and was used until 1838.
1807 The inaugural running of the Gold Cup for three year olds and upwards. It insignificant that the first Gold Cup was won by a three-year-old, this was an event designed to attract horses bred to compete much younger than had been the case the previous century.
1813 Parliament passed an Act of Enclosure. This Act ensured that Ascot Heath, although the property of the Crown, would be kept and used as a racecourse for the public in the future.
Racing at Ascot was now secure. The Master of the Buckhounds continued to manage thoraces and the racecourse – just as it was more than 100 years before.
1820 George III died and the Prince Regent ascended the throne as George VI. He immediately ordered alterations to be made to the Royal Stand by John Nash. Nash’s alterations did not satisfy the King and so, in 1822, Nash designed a brand new Royal Stand, erected in just five weeks.
1825 King George VI’s greatest legacy to Royal Ascot was the Royal Procession. The King leading four other coaches with members of the Royal party drove up the Straight Mile in front of the crowds. A diarist of the day commented; ‘the whole thing looked very splendid.’
1837 Turf on the track was relaid by the Clerk of the Course, William Hibburd, to improve the ground. Rails and posts are constructed along the track.
1838 Queen Victoria pays her first visit to Ascot as sovereign. To mark her first visit, the Queen inaugurated a new race over one and a half miles, known today as the Queen’s Vase.
1838 Horses were numbered in the racecard.
July 1838 A decision was made to construct a new stand between the betting stand and the Royal Stand. The new stand took 10 months to build and was warmly welcomed when it opened on 20 May 1839.
1839 The first public Grandstand was erected next to the Royal Stand. The lower half of the stand could hold about 3,000 people and contained a betting hall.
1839 For the first time at Ascot, the judge hoisted the number of the winner onto a large blackboard, thus putting an end to the disputes as to which horse had won.
1845 The Royal Enclosure was born when King George IV commissioned a two-storey stand to be built with a surrounding lawn. Access was by invitation of the King where he entertained his friends in style.
1856 The railway was brought to Ascot with the opening of the Staines to Wokingham line.
1861 (approx) Racing in the mid-nineteenth century was becoming more professional with Ascot appointing its first official Clerk of the Scales, James Manning (whose family stayed in the post until 1970, latterly working for the Jockey Club).
1861 Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died and Queen Victoria did not return to Ascot again.
1862 A new race at the meeting was named after Prince Albert: the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
1863 Prince Albert, eldest son and second child of Victoria and Albert, known as Bertie, attended his first Ascot meeting aged 21 and continued to lend his support to the Royal Meeting with enthusiasm. He restored the Royal Procession and revived the custom of inviting to take overseas visitors to Ascot.
1873 Ascot witnessed the first victory for the riding phenomenon: Fred Archer. Over 14 years, he rode 80 winners at the racecourse.
1896 The Grandstand had a clock tower erected.
1901 Racing at Ascot takes place in sombre mood to mark the death of Queen Victoria.
Prince Albert ascends the throne as King Edward VII.
1901 The role of Master of the Buckhounds was disbanded and a new role created, that of the King’s representative. The first man to undertake this role was Viscount Churchill.
1901 All three stands in the Royal Enclosure were demolished under the instruction of King
Edward VII and two new stands were built between September 1901 and May 1902. The total cost was £28,350.
1902 A third stand was built at a cost of £27,636. This stand included lifts, the first to be installed on a British racecourse. In order to have the work completed by May 1902, some 500 men were employed on the task, working day and night shifts.
1908 The ‘Five Shilling Stand’ was built – later known as the Silver Ring Stand at a cost of £30,000.
1912 Racegoers began to arrive by car and for the first time, motor cars were allowed to park on the Heath.
1913 The Ascot Authority was established by an Act of Parliament. His Majesty’s Representative became Chairman of the Authority with the Clerk of the Course acting as Secretary.
1926 The Royal Enclosure buildings were extended and a new Iron Stand was erected. Ascot begins to install a new watering system, with the facility to dispense around two million gallons of water onto the turf.
1929 The Tote building was constructed (still standing today, beside the Pre-Parade Ring). The designs had been agreed by the Racecourse Betting Control Board (RBCB), the authority overseeing wagering at this time.
1936 George V dies and is succeeded by his eldest son, who became Edward VIII. The new King was a keen follower of horseracing but he never attended the Royal Meeting as reigning monarch. By the end of the year Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson.
1937 George VI & Queen Elizabeth attend their first Ascot race meeting.
1940 Racing at Ascot cancelled. The racecourse was commandeered by the army, the Grandstand providing accommodation for gunners of the Royal Artillery.
15 May 1943 Racing at Ascot resumed, with an eight race card.
21 May 1945 Ascot staged its first post war fixture and the 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth attended for the first time.
1946 Major Crocker Bulteel was appointed as the Clerk of the Course, regarded as ‘the outstanding racing administrator of his day.’ The Duke of Norfolk was appointed as the King’s representative, it was his ambition to ‘make Ascot second to none among European racecourses.’
1946 The Ascot fixture list extended to include racing in July, September and October.
1953 Queen Elizabeth II crowned on 2nd June (ascended the throne on 6th February 1952).
1955 The rules of divorce were relaxed and divorcees were able to enter the Royal Enclosure. However, a redevelopment of the Enclosure shortly before this had added the new Queen’s Lawn. Entrance was by invitation only and the Court rules governing divorce still applied.
13 June 1961 The Grandstand was demolished and the Queen Elizabeth II Stand was built. It took eleven months to build, with 550 workers at a cost of £1million. The stand represented a state-of-the-art facility at the time, accommodated 13,000 people and had 280 private boxes.
1975 The BBC outside-broadcast staff picketed and there was no television coverage at Royal Ascot.
April 1998 Lord Hartington, Her Majesty’s Representative, revealed that changes to the racecourse were being contemplated.
2001 In order to facilitate the redevelopment, Ascot incorporated as Ascot Authority (Holdings) Limited, the most significant milestone in its structure since the 1913 Act of Parliament.
2002 Plans were announced to redevelop Ascot Racecourse. The existing Queen Elizabeth II stand was to be replaced and the course realigned.
September 2004 Ascot holds its last meeting with the old facilities. Demolition of the stand begins and the redevelopment programme commences.
June 2005 Royal Ascot is staged at York Racecourse.
June 2006 The new Ascot stand is opened on time and on budget.
June 2007 Ascot celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Gold Cup.
June 2009 Yeats wins his fourth Gold Cup, beating Sagaro’s record, set in the 1970s.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

An Introduction to the Global Sprint Challenge

The Global Sprint Challenge is a series of eight races across Australia (2), Japan (2), Hong Kong (1) and the UK (3), with the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot legs two and three and the Darley July Cup at Newmarket leg four.

The opening race of the series in Australia, the Coolmore Lightning Stakes, was won by Nicconi, who today bids to follow in the footsteps of Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast, who have been successful for Australia at Royal Ascot in recent years.

When the Global Sprint Challenge was launched in 2005, the King’s Stand Stakes was worth £140,000 and the Golden Jubilee Stakes, £250,000. Both have increased in value to reflect their growing international significance and in 2010, the Golden Jubilee Stakes is run for £450,000 and the King’s Stand Stakes for £300,000.

The US$1,000,000 Global Sprint Challenge bonus pool can be won by landing any three Group One Challenge legs in any three countries. The series moves to Japan after the July Cup, then back to Australia before culminating in Hong Kong in December.

Considered the standard-bearer for international racing within Europe, Ascot actively seeks to strengthen its programme through the participation of horses from all around the world.

The racecourse has welcomed runners from Australia, New Zealand, America, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and all over Europe this decade.

Ascot is today pleased to welcome representatives of its challenge partners at home, Newmarket, and abroad; Racing Victoria, the Victoria Racing Club, the Japan Racing Association and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Royal Ascot Race Histories and Conditions

The Queen Anne Stakes (Group One)
Founded in 1840, the Queen Anne Stakes commemorates the monarch who established racing at Ascot in 1711. Run as the Trial Stakes until 1929, the Queen Anne Stakes was first awarded Group Three status in 1971, becoming Group Two in 1984. The race, attracting Europe’s top older milers, achieved the highest three-year average rating of any Group Two race in Britain from 1999 to 2002 according to the then International Classifications (now World Rankings) and was elevated to Group One status accordingly in 2003. At that time, it moved from the traditional opening race on the card to the fourth race. However, in 2008 it reverted to its traditional slot, opening the meeting.

The King’s Stand Stakes (Group One)
A Stand Plate was first run on the round course in 1837, becoming the Royal Stand Plate in 1858. The race was re-named the Queen’s Stand Plate in 1860 for two-year olds, over the sprint distance of four furlongs, finally becoming the King’s Stand Plate in 1901. Today the race remains a sprint, although now run over the minimum trip of five furlongs for three-yearolds and upwards. In 2005, it became the first British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge and in 2008 it was promoted to Group One.

The St James’s Palace Stakes (Group One)
Named after the Tudor royal residence, the inaugural running of the St James’s Palace Stakes in 1834 was a walkover for the Derby winner Plenipotentiary. This race features the best milers from the Classic generation, often attracting horses that have run in the English, French and Irish 2,000 Guineas.

The Coventry Stakes (Group Two)
First run in 1890, the opening race was named after the ninth Earl of Coventry, Master of the Buckhounds, between 1886 and 1892. This is the first Group contest of the year for juveniles. Many top class horses win this race before going on to achieve greatness and, in 2004, the race was promoted to Group Two status.

The Ascot Stakes (Handicap)
First run in 1839, the Ascot Stakes is run over two and a half miles. Like the Gold Cup and Queen Alexandra Stakes, this race provides a thorough test of stamina. It is one of just three races at the Royal Meeting in which the field passes the winning post twice. The race attracts horses that have run in the early season staying handicaps, most notably the Chester Cup.

The Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
First run in 1839 over the straight mile course, this race was originally designed to attract three-year-old colts and fillies that had competed in the early season Classics. It is now run over the minimum distance of five furlongs and restricted to two-year-olds.

The Jersey Stakes (Group Three)

The Jersey Stakes replaced the second leg of the Triennial Stakes in 1919. Named after the fourth Earl of Jersey, who was the Master of the Buckhounds between 1782 and 1783, this specialist seven-furlong contest is framed for three-year-olds who have yet to win a Group One or Group Two race, but have often competed at that level, including in the Guineas.

The Windsor Forest Stakes (Group Two)
The Windsor Forest Stakes was a new addition to the Royal Meeting in 2004 and part of an industry wide initiative to encourage connections of the leading classic generation fillies from the previous year to keep their stars in training. Run over the straight mile course, it is open only to fillies and mares aged four or over. As a Group Two race, Group One winners carry a penalty, so the option of the Group One Queen Anne Stakes, where no penalties are carried, is still very much open to the very best fillies.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group One)
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes was first run at Royal Ascot in 1862, named after the son of Queen Victoria (later to become King Edward VII). Originally staged over a mile and five furlongs, the race often attracted horses that had participated in the Classics. There was no Prince of Wales’s Stakes from 1946 until 1968, a year before the current Prince of Wales’s investiture in 1969, when the distance changed to one mile and two furlongs. In 2000, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes was upgraded to Group One status for the first time and restricted to four-year-olds and upwards.

The Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap)
The Royal Hunt Cup always provides one of the greatest spectacles of the Royal Meeting as a maximum field thunders up Ascot’s straight mile course for one of the biggest betting races of the season. First run in 1843, it was originally staged over seven furlongs and 155 yards. The current distance of a mile was established in 1955 when the straight course was realigned as part of the previous redevelopment.

The Queen Mary Stakes (Group Two)
Named after the Consort of King George V, this race was first run in 1921. The first major race of the season exclusively for two-year-old fillies, the Queen Mary Stakes is run over the minimum distance of five furlongs and provides a useful opportunity to assess their ability and potential to perform at Group One level. It was promoted to Group Two status in 2004.

The Sandringham Stakes (Listed Handicap)
Originally registered as the Fern Hill Stakes, this race was part of the traditional Heath Day card on the Saturday after Royal Ascot. It was re-named the Sandringham Stakes, after the royal residence, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. This is a competitive Listed handicap over a mile, limited to three-year-old fillies only.

The Norfolk Stakes (Group Two)

First run in 1843, this race was formerly known as the New Stakes and staged over a distance of just under four furlongs. It was renamed after the Duke of Norfolk, Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot between 1945 and 1972, in 1973. It was promoted to Group Two status in 2006.

The Ribblesdale Stakes (Group Two)
Named after the fourth Baron Ribblesdale, Master of the Buckhounds between 1892 and 1895. First run in 1919, this race was originally staged over a mile for three and four-year olds. It is now restricted to Classic generation fillies and run over the extended distance of a mile and a half.

The Gold Cup (Group One)
Founded in 1807, the Gold Cup (which, contrary to popular opinion is not called the “Ascot Gold Cup”) is the oldest and one of the most prestigious races at Royal Ascot. Staged over the marathon trip of two and a half miles, the race is a stiff test of stamina and attracts the very best staying horses. Many horses have distinguished themselves with dual Gold Cup wins, enhancing the race’s reputation as a specialists’ event. Only two horses have won three times, however: Sagaro in the 1970’s and Yeats, who went on to win a fourth time in 2009.

The Britannia Stakes (Handicap)
First run in 1928 over the straight mile of the Royal Hunt Cup course and run under similar conditions today. Open to three-year-old colts and geldings only, the Britannia is almost as popular these days as the Royal Hunt Cup.

The Hampton Court Stakes (Listed)
Originally part of the Saturday Heath Day card, under the title of the New Stakes, the Hampton Court Stakes, renamed after the former royal residence, joined Royal Ascot as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, when the meeting was first extended to five days. This Listed 10-furlong event is restricted to three-year-olds.

The King George V Stakes (Handicap)
Like the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, this is a handicap for middle distance performers, staged over one and a half miles. The inaugural running was in July 1946 as part of the first fixture staged at the racecourse outside of the Royal Meeting, before the race was transferred to Royal Ascot in 1948.

The Albany Stakes (Group Three)

This race was first run in 2002 as the Henry Carnarvon Stakes, honouring The Queen’s late racing manager, and has proved so successful that it was promoted to Group Three status in 2005. Restricted to two-year-old fillies, it provides one of the first opportunities of the season for promising types to prove their ability and go on to harbour Guineas aspirations.

The King Edward VII Stakes (Group Two)
Formerly known, and still colloquially referred to as the Ascot Derby, this race was inaugurated in 1834 and regularly featured horses of both sexes that had competed in the middle-distance Classics. First run as the King Edward VII Stakes in 1926 and now restricted to three-year-old colts and geldings only, it has attracted horses that have competed in the Derby.

The Coronation Stakes (Group One)
First run in 1840, the Coronation Stakes was founded to commemorate the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1838. This mile event is the fillies’ equivalent of the St James’s Palace Stakes and attracts horses that have run in the English, Irish and French 1,000 Guineas.

The Wolferton Rated Stakes (Listed)
First run in this form in 2002 as part of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. This is a Listed handicap over 10 furlongs for four year-olds and upwards.

The Queen’s Vase (Group Three)
Named to honour Queen Victoria and first run in 1838, this race became the King’s Vase in 1903 and reverted to its original name of the Queen’s Vase on the succession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Run over two miles, this Group Three contest provides a thorough test of stamina for three-year-olds and winners of this race often go on to compete in the Gold Cup in future years.

The Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap)
A new race introduced as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. Staged over seven furlongs, it is a tricky and competitive handicap for three-year-olds and upward, with aspirations to compete at Listed level.

The Chesham Stakes (Listed)

Named after the third Baron Chesham, who was the last Master of the Buckhounds from 1900 to 1901. First run in 1919, the Chesham Stakes replaced the first leg of the Triennial Stakes, which had been run over five furlongs for two-year-olds. Now a Listed contest, the race takes place over the longer distance of seven furlongs.

The Hardwicke Stakes (Group Two)
Named after the fifth Earl of Hardwicke, Master of the Buckhounds between 1874 and 1879, the race was first run in 1879. The Group Two contest continues to attract the best older middle distance horses today, and is often an informative guide to the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in July.

The Golden Jubilee Stakes (Group One)
Formerly known as the Cork and Orrery Stakes, Royal Ascot’s most prestigious sprint was given a new name and elevated to Group One status to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. First run in 1868, this six-furlong contest was originally named after Lord Cork, another Master of the Buckhounds. In 2005, the Golden Jubilee Stakes became the second British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.

The Wokingham Stakes (Handicap)
The inaugural running of the Wokingham Stakes took place in 1813, making this race the oldest handicap at Royal Ascot. This famous sprint is named after the market town, seven miles from Ascot Racecourse, and the first dual winner of the race was appropriately also named Wokingham (1881 and 1882). Over the years the race has developed a reputation as a fiercely competitive handicap and one of the major betting heats of the season.

The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)
Originally the Bessborough Stakes, named after the fifth Earl of Bessborough, who was Master of the Buckhounds between 1848 and 1866, the race was renamed The Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes in 1999. First run in 1914 as a five furlong event for two year-olds, it has now evolved into a middle distance handicap for three-year-olds and upward.

The Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions)
Run over the marathon trip of two-and-three-quarter miles, the Queen Alexandra Stakes is not only the longest race of the meeting, but also the longest contest run under Jockey Club flat racing rules. Named after the Consort of King Edward VII, the race was first run in 1864 as the Alexandra Plate over three miles. It will always be associated with Brown Jack, arguably Royal Ascot’s greatest equine legend, who won this race on six consecutive occasions between 1929 and 1934. The Queen Alexandra Stakes always closes the meeting and although, or perhaps because of its extreme distance in a time when so much emphasis is on speed, it has become a national institution and is affectionately supported by regulars.

An ‘A to Z’ of Do’s and Don’ts in the Royal Ascot Fashion Stakes

Ascot As usual, Ascot will act not just as the backdrop to the world’s finest race meeting, but also to the colour and variety of contemporary and traditional fashions.

Beauty A fresh faced female (and male!) will be picked out from the crowds at Royal Ascot by Europe’s leading model agency, Models 1, to become ‘The Face of Ascot 2011’.

Cravats Just not quite the done thing these days. It’s ties with Morning Dress unless you’re at a wedding!

Dress Code The wearing of morning dress and formal wear has developed over time and the dress code for the Royal Enclosure is at the heart of Royal Ascot.

Eccentricity So there’s a dress code… but that doesn’t stop Ascot being the perfect place to show off your own style and express your individual personality (within reason!)

Feet! No pain, no gain! High heels look fabulous but don’t neglect your feet girls! The site is a quarter of a mile long so lady visitors may wish to consider their footwear carefully…or just wear the heels, everyone knows they look great!

Glamorous Perceptions of glamour change but the core principle remains the same - being glamorous is about creating an illusion that you lead an enviable life.

Happiness No outfit would be complete without a beaming bright smile – remember to wear yours and take advantage of your most attractive (and free) feature!

…And Hats Simply the Ascot accessory! Wear hats straight on the head or tilted mysteriously over one eye. How a hat looks from the neck up is most important.

Inspiration Be inspired by the latest catwalk trends, the season’s colours and contemporary looks. Show off your own style and become the trendsetter not a follower!

Jewellery Remember to keep it simple, over accessorising can easily draw the eye away from a classic outfit.

Katrantzou One of London’s emerging talents and showcasing her range in the Bessborough on Gold Cup Day this year.

Ladies’ Day There is no difference whatsoever between any of the five days of Royal Ascot – no Ladies’ Day is promoted – all five days are ladies’ days! Ascot is about hats and ladies dressed beautifully all week.

Morning Dress Morning dress (black or grey) is compulsory in the Royal Enclosure, but is also a familiar sight in other areas of the racecourse.

Now …is the time to start planning your perfect outfit. Don’t delay as leaving it to the last minute could cost you in the style stakes!

Orange Every girl’s worst nightmare is streaky tan lines – a total fashion faux pas and there’s no excuse!

Paparazzi Royal Ascot is one of the “must attend” events for photographers from all over the world. Literally hundreds of snappers representing the papers and glossies descend on Ascot every June, and some even photograph the horses!

Her Majesty The Queen Betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat on Gold Cup Day is available from any bookmaker worth his salt. Just be wary of believing all the post arrival hype about leaks from the Palace and betting coups being landed by insiders. It’s a novelty market and they never take more than pennies and the “we were hit for thousands!” story is becoming a Royal Ascot tradition in itself!

Rainy Days Don’t get caught out in the unpredictable summer showers – a trusty umbrella can also double up as the ultimate fashion accessory to complement your outfit.

Summer Sun Sun protection cream is a must – nobody can make sunburn look good!

Toppers Black or grey are equally acceptable but if you’re not going the silk route, grey is much safer.

Urban Myths For the very last time! Rod Stewart was NOT ejected from the Royal Enclosure. He was looking for his hospitality area and a very kind, if admittedly slightly frightening Royal Enclosure steward, was snapped pointing him in the direction of his suite. A free gift for the paparazzi? Yes.

Vehicular Egress! Ladies, the easiest way to exit a vehicle is to take a firm hold on the back hem of the skirt, twist your body with your legs together until your legs are toward the exiting door of the vehicle, and then stand.

What Not To Wear Everyone has experienced their own personal fashion disaster at some time in their life. The ultimate ladies’ nightmare is surely getting home from a day at the races to find you’ve been singled out by the BBC Fashion Team, who take absolutely no prisoners!

The X Factor … if you’re truly carried away with your partner’s immaculate appearance, the pink benches at Ascot are there for proposals!

Yeats ...the most stunning visitor to Royal Ascot for the last four years and the winner of all four Gold Cups since the redevelopment. Whatever you wore, however much you spent, this supreme athlete has stolen the show on the ultimate catwalk since 2006 and he wore the same outfit every time!

Zips Gentlemen ensure these are always done up. A simple schoolboy error can spoil even the most distinguished of outfits!

Royal Ascot Morning Dress Etiquette

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” - Mark Twain

Traditional morning dress is obligatory for gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure but it is increasingly popular in the public enclosures too. A black morning suit is generally considered de rigueur at Royal Ascot, although a grey morning suit is perfectly acceptable.

The top hat’s place in society fashion was assured when Prince Albert started wearing one in 1850. The first top hats were made with felt, most commonly being beaver fur pelt. Later, they would be made of silk. The structure underneath the felt or silk was made of a material called goss. The nineteenth century is sometimes known as the Century of the Top Hat. In the latter half of the 19th century, the top hat gradually fell out of fashion, with the middle classes adopting bowler hats and soft felt hats such as fedoras, which were more convenient for city life, as well as being suitable for mass production. In comparison, a top hat needed to be handmade by a skilled hatter, with few young people willing to take up what was obviously a dying trade.

By the end of World War I it had become a rarity in everyday life. It continued to be used for formal wear, with a morning suit in the daytime and with evening clothes (tuxedo or tailcoat) until the late 1930s. In the present day, the top hat is only worn with a morning suit for such occasions as Derby Day, Royal Ascot and weddings. You would no more expect to see a polar bear in the Royal Enclosure than a male patron without morning dress but that doesn’t mean that their attire is stale or stuffy or prevents an expression of their personality. There are all sorts of acceptable ways to personalise Royal Enclosure attire, starting with the tie.

The tie as we know it today has been around since the 1920s and, rather than keeping the neck warm, this style of neck wear was simply a fashion statement and an opportunity to display individuality.

Ties are a must for Royal Ascot, as opposed to cravats which, along with bow ties, were worn with morning dress up to about the 1920’s but are now for weddings. A tie of any colour is acceptable and this is an opportunity for the male racegoer to display his individuality and express his character. Tie pins are optional.

Once a virtually mandatory piece of men’s clothing, the waistcoat has become uncommon in contemporary dress with the exception of its partnership with the morning suit. The waistcoat is one of the few pieces of clothing whose origin historians can date precisely. King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland introduced the waistcoat as a part of correct dress during the Restoration of the British monarchy in the 1600s.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, men often wore incredibly elaborate and brightly-coloured, even garish, waistcoats, until fashion in the nineteenth century restricted them in formal wear. The development of the suit dictated that informal waistcoats become the same colour as the rest of a man’s outfit.

Popular opinion once claimed that a man could be identified as a “real gentleman” if he left the lowest button on his waistcoat unbuttoned. This anecdotally originated from the habits of King Edward VII whilst still Prince of Wales when his ballooning waistline caused him to leave the bottom button of his waistcoat undone. The story goes that his subjects took this as a style-indicator and started doing it themselves. Others consider the practice to derive from the habit of undoing the lower button to stop the waistcoat riding up when on horseback – possibly a more likely, if a little less interesting explanation! Again, the colour options open to the male racegoer are wide and varied. A waistcoat in silk, satin or a lightweight wool is acceptable and it is quite common for the man to echo the colours that his female partner has chosen so that as a couple, their appearance complements each other.

Cufflinks, whether they’re cuff buttons, flats, chain links, snappers, kum-aparts or one-piece links, are elegant accessories that lend a sparkle to formal wear. It is not certain when the cufflink arrived. Its first mention in writing was in 1788, but for sometime before that, buttons had ceased to be decorative and cuff-fastening slits were being cut into clothing. The ribbons or tape ties of the past were replaced with luxurious items, often made with gold or silver and set with gemstones. These were an extravagance reserved for the wealthy classes and were all hand-made.

It wasn't until the mid 18th century and the invention of the steam-driven stamping machine, electro-metallurgy and the Tour a' Guilloche machine, which could mass-produce enamel cufflinks, that men’s jewellery really took off amongst a wider audience.

By the 1840s the double-cuff shirt became popular - and unlike most fashions it has remained so since. The middle classes adopted cufflinks, but unable to afford the silver or enamel versions they used replicas such as fake diamonds and gold-coloured alloys with foil backing.

Like cuff links, the handkerchief is optional with morning dress. Amazingly, perhaps, the handkerchief is only about 400 years old. Its origin is in Italy, where a Venetian lady invented it from pure flax, decorated with lace. Only a silk handkerchief is up to the mark in the Royal Enclosure, a cotton one simply won’t do. The handkerchief provides another smattering of colour in the male racegoers attire as a triangular shape, neatly folded and pressed.

Lace up shoes are the only suitable style with a morning suit. Slip on shoes are not really the done thing in the Royal Enclosure.

Moss Bros are the official supplier of morning dress to Royal Ascot and provide a stylish Royal Ascot Collection morning suit available for hire.

The Brits are Coming to the Royal Ascot Catwalk

The ultimate showcase for the hottest couture from the world’s catwalks, the Royal Ascot Fashion Show, returns to the Bessborough Restaurant for the five days of Royal Ascot. The catwalk front-liners for this year are the Grand Dame of British fashion and three times

British Designer of the Year, Vivienne Westwood; maestro of milliners, Stephen Jones; fashion’s finest Amanda Wakeley, who recently received an OBE for her services to the fashion industry; entourage to the stars - Matthew Williamson; and the holder of three Royal Warrants, Gieves & Hawkes. On Thursday 17th June only, Ascot is delighted to feature Mary Katrantzou, one of Britain’s newest up and coming designers and winner of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN award. This exclusive fashion show gives guests a unique insight into the world of fashion where these top British designers will showcase a variety of their collection usually only seen on the international catwalks.

Vivienne Westwood shows off a more edgy look with signature pieces from her Spring/Summer Gold Label 2010 and archive collection. Stephen Jones entertains racegoers to a fresh approach with hats from his ABC Spring/Summer 2010 ready to wear and bespoke range: A is for Art, the art of Japan. B is for Beauty, the beauty of France. C is for Commerce, the commerce of America. Amanda Wakeley showcases outfits from her Spring/Summer 2010 range. Designing the range herself since claiming back her business last year, racegoers will be treated to Grecian draped gowns and togas in egg yolk yellow, grey and peach, unstructured draped blazers, voluminous harem trousers, barely-there swimsuits twisting and turning around the body in raspberry and burnt umber, tulip-shaped skirts and gold sequin mini dresses.

Matthew Williamson uses the Fashion Show catwalk to showcase his Spring/Summer 2010 collection of shift dresses in fine metallic tweeds encrusted with geometric jewels, the exaggerated shoulders adding to the fierce Williamson attitude. A child of the Eighties, the designer has a way of taking some of that decade’s most garish elements and whipping them into a thoroughly modern, super cool new look. Form fitting trousers feature side seams of snakeskin paired with peep toe stiletto boots and cropped biker jackets, while a flash of neon yellow appears in a cowel necked chiffon top tucked into a blue leather pencil skirt.

Gieves and Hawkes will parade their own traditional Morning and Dinner Suits. Recently worn by Dermot O’Leary when hosting the National Television Awards, the slim-fit black dinner suit was finished with hand-sewn piped satin lapels complemented perfectly by a made to measure crisp white shirt, black silk tie and hand-made patent dress shoes. Further styles will be seen on the catwalk of their Morning and Dinner Suit range. Katrantzou’s inspiration is derived from Art and Design. Every season an object or craft inspires a thematic collection and is in turn, translated into Print. First it was oversized jewellery, then it was perfume bottles and then blown glass. Her most recent collection was inspired by 18th century society paintings. The label is defined by its philosophy of subverting wearable art. The daily fashion show, in association with Longines, Snow Queen, Piper Heidsick and Toni & Guy, is one of the highlights of the Royal Meeting where guests can enjoy a show of five sets put on between courses of luncheon and will finish in time for the arrival of the Royal Procession. Gary England, Director of Ascot Hospitality, comments “We are delighted to be supporting British fashion especially at a time when British fashion designers are returning to the UK to showcase their collections. For many of the collections it’s the first time that some of them have been seen on UK soil so guests of the Bessborough restaurant are in for a real treat".

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood is both iconoclast and a global icon having electrified the world for the last 30 years. She is one of the most inventive and influential designers of our time. Best known for her fearless nonconformity, she also has a profound respect for the past and looks to it for inspiration and however outrageous or provocative the result, her approach has always been practical – this is what makes Vivienne one of fashion’s most respected figures.

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones is considered one of the world’s most radical and important milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and is also one of the most prolific, having created hats for the catwalk shows of many leading couturiers and fashion designers. Jones has always made millinery seem modern and compelling. In materials that were often radical, and in designs that ranged from refined to whimsical, his exquisitely crafted, quixotic hats have always encapsulated the fashion mood of the moment.

Amanda Wakeley
In the 2010 New Year Honours List Her Majesty The Queen appointed Amanda Wakeley an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The award, for services to the British Fashion Industry, also recognises the considerable contribution that Amanda makes as founding co-chair of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC). Amanda Wakeley launched her signature label in 1990 and over the last two decades has developed an international reputation for designing stylish, supremely luxurious, womenswear and accessories. She is the winner of several awards including three British Fashion Awards for Glamour. In April 2009, Amanda completed the buy-back of her business, saving over 50 jobs across the United Kingdom. Since then she has relaunched her brand, opened a new flagship store and achieved critical acclaim when she returned to London Fashion Week in September 2009.

Matthew Williamson
The year 2007 marked a 10 year anniversary for Matthew Williamson - he launched in 1997 with his debut Electric Angels show. To celebrate, he curated an exhibition about his work at the Design Museum, London. Matthew Williamson won Red Carpet Designer of the Year at the 2008 British Fashion Awards, previously having been awarded Elle Designer of the Year in 2004 and the 2005 Moet and Chandon Fashion Tribute Award. He has also been nominated 3 times for Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. His entourage have always been a key part of his popularity - whether it was Kate Moss in the early days or latterly Sienna Miller and stylist Bay Garnett, who also worked for him.

Gieves & Hawkes
All over the world, Savile Row stands for the very best in men’s tailoring and so it is fitting that Gieves & Hawkes should be “No 1 Savile Row.” The Company has held three Royal Warrants since 1809, an unbroken record of service to successive Monarchs and members of their families.

Mary Katrantzou
One of London’s key emerging talents this season is Mary Katrantzou who has received catwalk sponsorship for the last three seasons as part of NEWGEN from the British Fashion Coucil. NEWGEN is internationally recognised as the leading designer talent identification and support scheme and has become a key draw for the international fashion media and buyers attending London Fashion Week. Katrantzou is fast becoming one of Britain’s top emerging designers following in the footsteps of the late Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald and Erdem.

Further Information
For high resolution images and further information please contact Sarah-Jane Muirie @ Johnno Spence Consulting on 020 7385 8819 or

American Speedster Kinsale King Headlines Royal Ascot International Entries

Kinsale King (Carl O’Callaghan) is set to follow up his victory for the USA in the Dubai Golden Shaheen with an ambitious raid on Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee Stakes, where he could meet representatives of no fewer than nine nations.

“The Golden Jubilee is one of the most prestigious races in the world,” O’Callaghan said. “The places a trainer dreams about winning at are Dubai, Royal Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup. I’ve got one of the three. Hopefully, I can get them all. “Kinsale King couldn’t be doing any better. He is back on the track and we’ll leave for Maryland on 17th May where we will be staying at Michael Dickinson’s Tapeta Farm so we can train up a straight. I have already arranged for our rider, Garrett Gomez, to come down and get a feel for what we need to do changing leads on a straight. We’ll spend a few weeks here and ship to Newmarket on 2nd June.” Kinsale King could be joined by compatriot and recent impressive Keeneland winner, West Ocean (also entered in the King’s Stand Stakes), who would be a first runner in the UK for multiple Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer, Todd Pletcher.

A further fascinating possible runner for the USA in both sprints or the St James’s Palace Stakes comes in the shape of Radiohead, successful in the Norfolk Stakes last year when trained by Brian Meehan and now in the care of Richard Dutrow Jnr.

Hong Kong looks set to be doubly represented in the Golden Jubilee Stakes with Joy And Fun (Derek Cruz), winner of the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, and Happy Zero (John Moore), winner of the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at home in March and second to Good Ba Ba in the Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile in December. Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: “I welcome the enterprise and initiative of the connections of both horses. I think it is fair to say that, by embarking on this mission, they are making yet another statement of the fact that Hong Kong racing has truly come of age as a major force on the international stage. “I am confident that they have the ability to record another win at the Royal Meeting for Hong Kong following the victory of Cape of Good Hope in 2005.”

Also entered in the Golden Jubilee Stakes for Asia is Rocket Man (Patrick Shaw), second to Kinsale King in the Golden Shaheen for Singapore. He will next run in the KrisFlyer Sprint in his homeland where he is set to meet both Happy Zero and one of three Golden Jubilee Stakes entries for Australia, Gold Trail (Gary Portelli).

Gold Trail made a highly satisfactory return in the Group One Galaxy Handicap, when a close sixth under top-weight, and won the Group One Railway Stakes at Ellerslie in January.

Alverta (Paul Messara) is very much on course for the Golden Jubilee Stakes following victory in the Group One Coolmore Classic in March, whilst the third Australian entry, Nicconi (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January, has the King’s Stand Stakes as his primary target. “Nicconi has the right form line following the other Aussie horses to have completed the Lightning / King’s Stand double (Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast), said Hayes. “He is undefeated at five furlongs and he runs well fresh. The plan is to run him first up in the King’s Stand. If he travels well, I expect him to be very competitive. “I obviously have a very international focus having trained in Hong Kong. Bringing international horses, owners and trainers together through the Global Sprint Challenge is an outstanding initiative for the promotion and benefit of our industry and its participants - it has certainly put Aussie sprinters on the map,” Hayes added. The highest profile name amongst the potential European defence in both Ascot legs of the Global Sprint Challenge is Overdose (Jozef Roszival), Hungary’s “Budapest Bullet,” whilst Aidan O’Brien spearheads a very strong Irish challenge with Alfred Nobel and the fascinating Australian import, Starspangledbanner, fourth to Nicconi in the Lightning and a subsequent winner of the Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. He also has the Queen Anne Stakes as an option at Royal Ascot.

A total of six French-trained horses have been entered across the two sprints, including 2008 Darley July Cup winner, Marchand D’Or (Mikel Delzangles), whilst Sweden could be represented by Alcohuaz (Lennart Reuterskiold), a winner of a Listed race in Germany in October.

Fleeting Spirit (Jeremy Noseda), entered in both races, found only Scenic Blast too good in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes before going on to win the July Cup. She looks the strongest of the British contingent at this stage although Newmarket second, Main Aim (Sir Michael Stoute), could be being primed to have another crack at her in the Golden Jubilee Stakes as he is not entered in the Queen Anne Stakes at this stage.

Dual Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes winner, Borderlescott (Robin Bastiman), is another high profile local name to note in the King’s Stand Stakes whilst Equiano (Barry Hills), winner of that race in 2008, is in both sprints following a successful reappearance in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

Away from legs two and three of the Global Sprint Challenge at Royal Ascot, other entries in the Group One races from outside Europe are made up of the South African-trained Mourilyan (Herman Brown) in the Gold Cup and three American-trained possibles in the St James’s Palace Stakes.Radiohead is entered in the mile contest in addition to being considered for the sprints, and could be joined by Noble’s Promise, for Kenny McPeek, who sent over Hard Buck from America to finish second in the 2004 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Noble’s Promise was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and the St James’s Palace Stakes is one option for him in the UK along with the Investec Derby.

Making up the triumvirate is Leaving New York, accompanying Kinsale King for trainer Carl O’Callaghan. His possible Royal Ascot targets are the St James’s Palace Stakes, Jersey Stakes or the Britannia Handicap.

In addition to the above, Wesley Ward, responsible for two two-year-old winners at last year’s Royal Meeting and Cannonball, who was second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, is planning another visit this year with, amongst several possibilities, Final Mesa, a recent maiden winner at Keeneland, who is being aimed at the Queen Mary Stakes. “To have representation from pretty much all around the world in the initial entries for the King’s Stand and Golden Jubilee is very pleasing,” said Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing at Ascot.

“The Aussies have a powerful hand as is becoming customary, and will be looking for a fifth Royal Ascot winner, but to have strong Asian and American interest is particularly good news, especially with two horses in Joy And Fun and Kinsale King, who have proven international pedigree having won on their visits to Dubai in March. “If one of the Americans were to run in the St James’s Palace Stakes that would add to what is often a strong international flavour on our opening day, whilst no one will be sending off Wesley’s two-year-olds at huge prices again this year. “Many of the sprinters coming to Royal Ascot have already been provisionally entered for the last of three Global Sprint Challenge races in the UK, the Darley July Cup, and it is probably only a matter of time before one of the visitors completes the Royal Ascot / Newmarket double”.

The Global Sprint Challenge and Ascot on the International Stage

Ascot is home to Europe’s premier race meeting, Royal Ascot, Europe’s mid-summer middle distance championship, the £1 million King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair, July) and Europe’s mile championship, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by Sony, September).

Ascot also stages the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, in August.

Considered the standard-bearer for international racing within Europe, Ascot actively seeks to strengthen its programme through the participation of horses from all around the world. The racecourse has welcomed runners from Australia, New Zealand, America, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and all over Europe this decade, none higher profile and ground-breaking than Choisir, who landed the King’s Stand Stakes / Golden Jubilee Stakes double for Australia in 2003, paving the way for wins for compatriots Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and, last year, Scenic Blast, who defeated subsequent July Cup winner Fleeting Spirit in the King’s Stand Stakes.

The Royal Meeting was more cosmopolitan and international than ever before in 2009 as, in addition to Scenic Blast’s King’s Stand Stakes victory for Australia, the United States were responsible for two winners in the two-year-old races and a second for Cannonball in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

That latter race also attracted the champion sprinters from South Africa in J J The Jet Plane and from Hong Kong in Sacred Kingdom, who both ran with great credit in fourth and fifth behind the home-trained Art Connoisseur.

In 2005, Ascot set up a sprinting series, the Global Sprint Challenge, with partners Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) in Australia and the Japan Racing Association (JRA). The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Newmarket Racecourses have subsequently joined and now the series numbers eight races spread from January to December.

When the Global Sprint Challenge was launched in 2005, the King’s Stand Stakes was worth £140,000 and the Golden Jubilee Stakes, £250,000. Both have increased significantly in value to reflect their growing international significance and the Golden Jubilee Stakes now has prize money of £450,000 with the King’s Stand Stakes valued at £300,000.

With the £400,000 on offer for the Darley July Cup, the third European leg of the Challenge, there is well over £1 million on offer across the UK’s legs for the world’s top sprinters.
The most valuable races at Royal Ascot are the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes, both worth £450,000, and over £4 million in prize money is available over the week. The US$1,000,000 Global Sprint Challenge bonus pool can be won by landing any three Group One Challenge legs in any three countries (bonus split 75% owner, 25% trainer).The 2010 series began with the Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January, Australia’s premier weight for age sprint and the springboard to the international campaigns of Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast in their Royal Ascot winning years.

This year’s Lightning Stakes winner, Nicconi, is on track to run at Royal Ascot. After the UK legs, the series moves to Japan, back to Australia and on to the annual culmination of the programme, the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint.

Ascot has additional tie ups in place with the VRC, the JRA and the organisers of the Breeders’ Cup in the USA.

The VRC, as well as hosting both Australian legs of the Global Sprint Challenge at Flemington, offers an Aus$500,000 incentive bonus for the winner of their Australian Cup in March, should that horse go on to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Additionally, the “Choisir Trophy” is held at either Ascot or Flemington to mark the latest triumph by an Australian or European sprinter in any sprint race at either track in which both Australia and Europe are represented.

The JRA offers the winner and runner-up in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July automatic places in their premier international invitational race, the Japan Cup in November. Usually, a selection panel meets much later than July to decide on invitations but the King George has been chosen as one of a select group of major races around the world for special treatment in this respect. The JRA also offer bonuses for the winners of the St James’s Palace Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and September’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes should they be successful in their major international races.

Ascot is involved in the Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” initiative, which sees the winners of three Ascot races at the September meeting qualify for the US Championships that November and receive incentive bonuses.

Through many years of partnerships and relationship forming with owners, trainers, media and racing administrations around the world, Ascot is at the forefront of the global racing village.

Coolmore Lightning Stakes (Group One) 30th January Flemington, Australia
King’s Stand Stakes (Group One) 15th June Royal Ascot, UK
Golden Jubilee Stakes (Group One) 19th June Royal Ascot, UK
Darley July Cup (Group One) 9th July Newmarket, UK
Centaur Stakes (Group Two) 12th Sept Hanshin, Japan
Sprinters Stakes (Group One) 3rd October Nakayama, Japan
Patinack Farm Classic (Group One) 6th Nov Flemington, Australia
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (Group One) 12th Dec Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Boy, oh Boy! The 2010 Shergar Cup at Ascot

As the world’s finest jockeys converge on Ascot, and a string of ‘80s acts perform after racing, we look back at last year’s racing action and this year’s concert.

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup attracts the cream of world riding talent to Ascot, as well as a string of pop legends from the 1980s. The competition on the track comprises of four teams; Great Britain, Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World. Each team has three jockeys with points awarded on a 15-10-7-5-3 basis for the first five home. Rivalry is fierce, not only are the jockeys riding for the team award, the coveted Shergar Cup, but also the Silver Saddle presented to the best individual rider of the day. In 2009, it was all about one man; Richard Hughes. Richard enjoyed an outstanding afternoon's work as a 377-1 treble sealed the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for himself and his Irish teammates.

It didn’t quite compare with his hat-trick on the first day of Royal Ascot aboard Paco Boy, Canford Cliffs and Judgethemoment, but it was enough to claim the Silver Saddle - a prize he first took back in 2002.While Indian rider Malesh Narredu and the Japanese Hiroyuki Uchida had never even seen the Berkshire course, Hughes knows virtually every blade of grass and waltzed to victory thanks to Polly's Mark, We'll Come and Press The Button. 'I'm very proud - in 2008 we were terrible!' said Hughes. 'I was lucky to have some good rides - if you're not in the hustle you won't win anything’.

Hughes shone particularly brightly on the giant We'll Come, poking up the far rail to bolt four and a half lengths clear in the Les Ambassadeurs Club Shergar Cup Mile Handicap. Hughes wrapped up the competition on Push The Button in the Michael Page International Shergar Cup Challenge before Callan added another Irish success as he delivered Aaim to Prosper late in the Sodexo Prestige Shergar Cup Stayers to pick off the 7-2 favourite Yes Mr President inside the final 100 yards.

Ireland ended the day with an incredible 101 points from the overall placings from Hughes, Seamie Heffernan and Neil Callan, while Hayley Turner's Great Britain team were runners-up on 56 points. Individually, Turner and the Swede Fredrik Johansson tied for second place on 30 points each; 19 behind Hughes.

Johansson teamed up with Nick Littmoden's chestnut Group Therapy in the opening Barclays Shergar Cup Dash, while the final word went to Turner, who had been stuck in traffic and had to sprint through the Parade Ring barefoot to make her first ride. She closed the meeting by scoring on Tom Dascombe's Noverre To Go in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint, in which Uchida was hit with a nine-day ban for excessive use of the whip on third-placed Able Master. 'It took me about three hours to get here, and I missed all the introductions, but it's such a good day and everyone always has a wonderful time,' said Turner before bopping away to the likes of Rick Astley, Curiosity Killed The Cat and Bucks Fizz in the Old Paddock.

As long as Hayley Turner stays injury-free, you may just see her don her leggings and mullet wig boogying down to this year’s line up of Boy George, The Christians, Belinda Carlisle, Johnny Hates Jazz, Midge Ure, China Crisis and Captain Sensible.

Back in 1983, I remember my excitement when I bought the original Now That’s What I Call Music LP. How I wish I’d kept it as the original version fetches a few quid on ebay these days. Wedged between Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Men Without Hats’ Safety Dance on the track list was UK number 1 Karma Chameleon by Culture Club fronted by the inimitable Boy George. Culture Club also had hits with Do You Really Want To Hurt Me - also a chart topper - and I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.

Another classic track from the era was Harvest For The World by The Christians, which reached number 8 in the UK in 1988 - a travesty it did not go higher. The band was one of a number of soul-influenced groups in the 1980s that had strong links to UK punk rock, New Wave music and post-punk. The band's frontman and lead singer Garry Christian became the group’s unique selling point with his distinctive look and velvet-smooth soulful tones. In Rock: The Rough Guide, music critic Charles Bottomley, described the band as ‘The Temptations in ripped jeans, producing gritty-centered songs in a sugary vocal shell’.

Belinda Carlisle makes a welcome return to the ‘80s Day line up having wowed the crowd in 2008. Once of the Go-Gos, Belinda Carlise launched her solo career in 1996. She didn’t have to wait long for a number one, when the next year Heaven Is A Place On Earth reached number 1 in the UK and seven other countries, including the US. Belinda went on a have a further five top ten hits, including Leave A Light On in 1989 and (We Want) The Same Thing one year later.
In April 1987, Johnny Hates Jazz vaulted to international success following the release of their first hit single
Shattered Dreams. The group consists of singer-songwriter Clark Datchler, Calvin Hayes and Mike Nocito. Here’s a fact for you should the conversation dry up on the journey home - the band’s tongue-in-cheek name referenced Nocito’s brother-in-law Johnny, who really did hate jazz!

James ‘Midge’ Ure, OBE is a guitarist, singer, keyboard player and songwriter from north of the border. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage, and most notably as frontman of Ultravox. Midge co-wrote and produced the charity single Do They Know It's Christmas? and co-organised Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. He twice received an Ivor Novello Award with Geldof for co-writing Do They Know It's Christmas? Ure acts as trustee for the charity, and serves as ambassador for Save The Children. His stage name, Midge, is a phonetic reversal of Jim, the diminutive form of his real name. Ascot is indeed honored to have a such a legend performing on the hallowed Old Paddock turf belting out his 1980 track Vienna (famously beaten to the top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty hit Shaddap You Face - less said about that the better).

Vocalist Nick Van Eede founded Cutting Crew along with Canadian guitarist Kevin Scott MacMichael in 1985. The band shot t number one in the US, Canada and Norway with their debut single ‘(I just) Died in Your Arms.’ The band received a prestigious Grammy nomination as Best New Artist of 1987.

Completing our line-up of stars form the ‘80s is Captain Sensible; co-founder of
punk rock band The Damned who decided to go it alone in 1982. I remember being blown away as an impressionable teenager by Captain Sensible’s performance of Glad It’s All Over on Top of the Pops, with his distinctive red beret and wooden parrot - I didn’t then, and still don’t now, understand the significance of the latter. Never far from controversy, in September 2006 he formed a new British political party known as the Blah! Party. ‘Politics is dead’, he said in a statement at the time. ‘The British public aren't voting because the parties are totally ignoring their opinions. At the moment, the only real method of mass protest against this is by not voting’.

After the racing, take a trip down memory lane and relive the days of big hair, ‘Relax’ t-shirts and jackets with rolled up sleeves because the 1980s are back.

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, including the Here and Now concert start from £25. To book, or for further information, call 0870 727 1234 or visit

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