During the 17th and 18th century, thoroughbred horse racing was developed in England and was popular among aristocrats and English royalty, earning it the title ‘Sport of Kings’. Today, Her Majesty The Queen owns and breeds racehorses and takes a keen interest in the races.
During the 8th century BC, the Ancient Olympic Games were founded and held in Olympia, Greece, and continued to the 5th century AD. The modern Games as we know them today came about when Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC became the governing body of the Olympic Movement and still governs to date.
Countries from around the globe produce their elite athletes to compete in this prestigious event.
- Queen Anne spotted a suitable place for “horses to gallop at full stretch” whilst out riding near Windsor Castle in 1711
- This area was to become Ascot Racecourse, and ‘Her Majesty’s Plate’ was the first race that took place on the 11th August 1711
- Seven runners took part carrying a weight of 12st each, the winner collecting 100 guineas prize money
- The Parliament passed an act to ensure that the Ascot grounds would remain a public racecourse in 1813
- The ‘Ascot Authority’ was created in 1913 by Parliament to manage the racecourse, which it continues to do to this day
- Up until 1945, the Royal Meeting was the only event that took place at Ascot, lasting four days
- Over the years more fixtures were added and in 2011 there were 25 days of racing
- The main event of Ascot’s year is Royal Ascot in June and is arguably the world’s most famous horse race
- The Royal Family are present, as well as over 300,000 people during the five days, making it the highest attended horse race in Europe
- The Ascot Gold Cup race was introduced in 1807, and remains the feature race of Royal Ascot, taking place on the third day
- It is commonly referred to as “Ladies’ Day” and attracts the largest crowds. The sitting monarch presents the winner with the Gold Cup
- In 2004 the Ascot racecourse was closed for just under two years for a £200 million redevelopment. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth reopened the racecourse in June 2006