Royal Ascot: discover the world's most prestigious horse racing event by numbers
As Royal Ascot begins for another year, we chart the figures behind The Queen's favourite equestrian event
The countdown to Royal Ascot, one of the most exciting summer events within the British sporting and social calendar is officially on as the Ascot Racecourse gets ready to open its gates for five days of world-class racing, pageantry, high fashion and fine dining from Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 June. Having long been a favourite with equestrian fan The Queen, the preparation and intricate details it takes to make the event such a spectacle, has long been in the works ahead of this month – from the cutting of the grass to a regulation four inches, to the three miles of bunting it takes to decorate the grounds. Join us as we explore Royal Ascot by numbers.
Around 300,000 guests are expected to attend the Royal Meeting this year over the course of the five-day spectacle with 70,000 racegoers attending Thursday's Gold Cup Day – popularly known as Ladies' Day. Approximately 400 helicopters and 1,000 limousines will be on hand to transport VIP guests to and from the event. An average of 60,000 racegoers each day will be greeted by the racecourse's 163 full-time personnel and 6,500 temporary staff. The event is set to be broadcast in 200 countries around the globe with an astonishing reach of 650 million households, featuring 19 Group races, including eight Group Ones, with the total prize money across the five days in excess of a staggering £7.3m.
Fine dining has always been an integral element of the Royal Ascot experience, with a total of 330 chefs covering 12 restaurants, 17 private dining facilities and more than 200 private boxes. This year, 35,000 VIP guests will enjoy lunch service in a Private Box during the event, catered to by world-renowned chefs including the likes of Raymond Blanc OBE, Phil Howard, Simon Rogan, Adam Handling and James Tanner – who boast five Michelin stars between them. During the event 5,000kg of salmon, 5,000 Angus steaks and 2,400kg of beef sirloin, 7,000 rumps of English lamb, 3,500 fresh lobsters and 8,000 Cornish crabs will be devoured by guests, followed by 240,000 hand-crafted quintessential afternoon tea cakes, 120,000 buttermilk scones and 60,000 finger sandwiches.
Historically, the racecourse was established at the request of Queen Anne back in 1711, with Royal Ascot first thought to have taken place in 1768. Today, it is arguably the world's most famous race meeting and has been attended by British Monarchs ever since it was established. At 2pm each day, the Royal Procession in which The Queen, along with the rest of the Royal family and guests, parade the Straight Mile into the Parade Ring led by four Windsor greys – a traditional spectacle now synonymous with the event. Increasingly in recent years, the Royal Meeting attracts some of the best horses from around the globe, with some deriving from as far as the USA and Australia set to be in the line-up across the 30 races.