Royal Ascot 2021 Guide - What Is Royal Ascot? - Key dates, trainers & riders to follow
With all five days of Royal Ascot set to air next week on NBC from Tuesday, June 15 to Saturday, June 19, Pickswise answers all the big questions heading into Britain’s biggest Flat horse racing meeting of the year.
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Why is Royal Ascot so important?
Royal Ascot is the unrivaled premier horse racing festival of the British summer, taking place in the middle of June and featuring five fantastic days of top-class racing, with eight Group 1s (the highest standard of race on the Flat) and 11 more races at Group 2 and Group 3 level.
It is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, boasting £6 million in prize-money and as a result, attracting the biggest and best racehorses, trainers, and riders from around the world, including some of America’s finest prospects. A lot of the best trainers plan their horses’ seasons around Royal Ascot, with American trainer Wesley Ward among those.
Before racing commences, the start of each day of the festival begins with the royal procession where the Queen and members of the royal family arrive at the course while the British national anthem plays. It is currently unknown whether the Queen will be attending this year.
The inaugural Ascot Gold Cup took place in 1807 and that launched the start of the Royal Ascot of today, featuring top-class races such as the St James’s Palace Stakes, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Coronation Stakes, and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
When does Royal Ascot start and how can I watch it?
Royal Ascot runs from Tuesday, June 15 until Saturday, June 19.
The first horse race on the Tuesday is the Queen Anne Stakes, which begins at 9.30am ET, while the last race of that day is the Copper Horse Stakes which takes place at 1.10pm ET. Racing takes place between 9.30am ET and 1.10pm ET on every day of the festival, each featuring a magnificent seven races.
That means there are a total of 35 races for you to feast on during the week.
Horse racing fans and bettors can enjoy Royal Ascot live on NBC every day of the festival.
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Which trainers and riders will be competing at Royal Ascot?
The best horses, trainers, and riders that Flat racing has to offer will be present at Ascot for the spectacular week.
That includes Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has dominated Flat racing in Britain and Ireland over the last decade and is sure to bring over a powerful string of horses.
Leading British trainers John and Thady Gosden, William Haggas, Charlie Appleby, Mark Johnston, Andrew Balding, and Sir Michael Stoute – the most successful trainer in the history of Royal Ascot – are just some of the names set to feature heavily.
Frankie Dettori, now 50, is the most successful active rider at Royal Ascot and was the leading rider at last year’s meeting with seven wins to take him to a career total of 73.
Also riding at Royal Ascot will be Ryan Moore, William Buick, and champion rider Oisin Murphy, as well as American star John Velasquez, who will be riding for Wesley Ward (pictured below).
Be sure to check out our insider look at Wesley Ward, including comments from the trainer on two of his leading contenders for Royal Ascot!
Royal Ascot picks and predictions
All throughout Royal Ascot, Pickswise will be delivering you free picks and predictions for every single horse race of the festival, including the opening Queen Anne Stakes, the marathon Ascot Gold Cup, and the Saturday showpiece Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
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