Queen consents to extending racing programme at this year's Royal Ascot

Ascot Racecourse last week announced that the Queen had consented to extending the number of daily races at this year’s Royal meeting to seven.

Last year the Copper Horse Stakes, The Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes and the Golden Gates Stakes were added to the programme and the Buckingham Palace Stakes were reinstated. All have been retained for this summer’s meeting which runs from June 15 to 19.

Her Majesty also approved the naming of the Kensington Palace Stakes, a new handicap to be run over the Old Mile for four-year-olds and upwards fillies and mares. The Silver Versions of the Royal Hunt Cup and Wokingham Stakes have not been retained for this year’s meeting and there will not be eight races on the Saturday as there were last year.

Sir Francis Brooke Bt., Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot, said: “A positive that we drew from Royal Ascot 2020 was that the additional races presented more opportunities to participate and that this had been widely welcomed by owners, trainers, breeders and jockeys. We are delighted to be able to make this change permanent.”

Prize money will be confirmed in advance of the early closing races in April.

Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot, added:“The concept of extended cards last year was well received, and we are very pleased to be able to offer additional opportunities to the horsemen community, the public, broadcasters and media going forward.

“At this time, more than ever, the increased opportunity to win prize money and to generate more levy and domestic and overseas betting income is crucial.

“Following consultation with the BHA, we decided to remove the two reserve races and bring in another high-quality handicap, as we are actually reducing the number of races run by one from last year, where eight races were staged on the Saturday. It occurred to us that the Old (round) Mile course is only used twice during Royal Ascot and another race on this track would add to the variety on offer.

“Last year’s extended cards were only possible by reducing some field sizes slightly, and because no overnight stabling was allowed under Covid-19 protocols.

“In order that field sizes can go up to their maximums again and with overnight stabling extremely important, we have commissioned extra temporary stabling to be built to the required high BHA standards.

“Royal Ascot is constantly evolving and has benefitted from many recent race additions and promotions and we are excited that the week will now be bigger and better for everyone.”

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