The Royal Ascot, England’s most elite week of flat Thoroughbred racing, takes on an even more festive air this year, with the meet beginning just days after Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and more fans in attendance after a very reduced capacity in 2021 and empty grandstands in 2020.
What is the Royal Ascot?
The Royal Ascot is one of the most well-known horse racing meets in the world. It’s held at one of the top flat racecourses in the United Kingdom and hosts horses from across the globe in 35 races, including eight Group 1 races, over the span of five days.
Racing at Ascot began in 1711 when Queen Anne declared her love for horse racing. The first race was the Her Majesty’s Plate with a seven-horse field. Over a century later, King George IV held the first royal carriage procession on the track to signal the start of the event. The traditions of the royal family, high fashion and elite horse racing have continued ever since.
When and where is the 2022 Royal Ascot?
This year, the Royal Ascot will take place from Tuesday, June 14 to Saturday, June 18 at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England. It’s just minutes away from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s primary residence.
Unlike tracks in America, Ascot Racecourse is shaped like a rounded triangle with two straightaway spokes and includes uphill and downhill stretches.
Ascot is located in the British Summer Time Zone, which is five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the U.S.
How can I watch the 2022 Royal Ascot?
NBC is home to the 2022 Royal Ascot, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on Peacock before, during and after each race. The final day of the meet will also be available on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Stream the Royal Ascot here.
2022 Royal Ascot Broadcast Schedule (all times EST)
- Tuesday, June 14 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
- Wednesday, June 15 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
- Thursday, June 16 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
- Friday, June 17 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
- Saturday, June 18 — 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (NBC, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app)
Will the Queen be at Royal Ascot this year?
Traditionally, the Queen, a lifelong equestrian and racehorse owner herself, makes a daily entrance in a horse-drawn carriage as part of the royal procession. The Queen didn’t attend in 2020, but she made an appearance the following year. After her limited attendance at Platinum Jubilee, it wouldn’t be shocking for her to miss this year as well. Other members of the royal family are also avid racing fans and could attend as well.
Is Royal Ascot doing anything special for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?
This year, the previously named Diamond Jubilee Stakes becomes the Platinum Jubilee Stakes. It is set to run on the final day of the meet, Saturday, June 18 with an approximate post time of 11:20 a.m. ET. The six-furlong race boasts a £1 million purse and is for horses aged four and up.
It originated as the All-Ages Stakes in 1868 and became the Cork and Orrery Stakes in 1926. For the last two decades, the race has been named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, first as the Golden Jubilee starting in 2002, and then as the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
The Queen also had 70 oak trees, in honor of her 70 years in power, planted along the processional route the royal family traditionally takes from Windsor Castle to Ascot.
What are traditions at the Royal Ascot?
While there will still be plenty of fans in the stands at Royal Ascot this year, the meet will still have a reduced number of fans. Attendance in several enclosures (ticketed areas) will be capped, and a new area called the Royal Enclosure Gardens will allow racegoers to spread out even more.
Royal Ascot boasts its own spread of famous, traditional foods. In 2019, the last year the meet ran with a full grandstand of spectators, there were approximately 110,000 cups of tea served, 120,000 buttermilk scones eaten and nearly 350 chefs serving food. Luckily, such delicacies can be prepared at home in the kitchen, as many fans will watch the races from their living rooms.
The Royal Ascot’s longest-running race, The Gold Cup, takes place on Thursday of the week’s schedule (June 16, approx. 11:20 a.m. ET). It’s a marathon of a race at 2 miles and 4 furlongs, and the Queen typically presents the trophies to the winning jockey and owner.
What do you wear to Royal Ascot?
The Royal Ascot is as much a social event as it is a sporting event, so it’s no surprise that high fashion is one of its most defining features. There are two enclosures for spectators at Ascot, and all guests must adhere to that enclosure’s dress codes.
Men’s attire traditionally requires a top hat and a waistcoat with a tie (except for jockeys). Women should dress formally and must always wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator (except in the Royal Enclosure, which permits hats and headpieces with a solid four-inch base but does not allow fascinators). Strapless clothing and sheer fabrics are not allowed, and dresses have to be just above the knee or longer.
In 2020, top hats and coattails weren’t required as the track ran a barebones meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is the Royal Ascot part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series?
Four Royal Ascot races this year are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
On Tuesday, June 14, the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET offers a spot in the Mile. Later that day, the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) will give horses a chance at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 10:40 a.m. ET. June 15’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) breaks from the gate at around 10:40 a.m. ET and is a qualifier for the Turf. Finally, the Norfolk Stakes (G2) on Thursday, June 16 at 9:30 a.m. ET is in the Juvenile Turf Sprint division. See the full race schedule below.
Winners of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races will receive automatic entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race this November at Keeneland, and all entry fees will be paid for.
Full Royal Ascot race schedule:
Tuesday, June 14
- 9:30 a.m. ET — The Queen Anne Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Mile)
- 10:05 a.m. ET — The Coventry Stakes (G2)
- 10:40 a.m. ET — The King’s Stand Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Turf Sprint)
- 11:20 a.m. ET — The St James’s Palace Stakes (G1)
- 12:00 p.m. ET — The Ascot Stakes (Handicap)
- 12:35 p.m. ET — The Wolferton Stakes (Listed)
- 1:10 p.m. ET — The Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap)
Wednesday, June 15
- 9:30 a.m. ET — The Queen Mary Stakes (G2)
- 10:05 a.m. ET — The Queen’s Vase (G2)
- 10:40 a.m. ET — The Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Turf)
- 11:20 a.m. ET — The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2)
- 12:00 p.m. ET — The Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap)
- 12:35 p.m. ET — The Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
- 1:10 p.m. ET — The Kensington Palace Stakes (Handicap)
Thursday, June 16
- 9:30 a.m. ET — The Norfolk Stakes (G2) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Juvenile Turf Sprint)
- 10:05 a.m. ET — The King George V Stakes (Handicap)
- 10:40 a.m. ET — The Ribblesdale Stakes (G2)
- 11:20 a.m. ET — The Gold Cup (G1)
- 12:00 p.m. ET — The Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
- 12:35 p.m. ET — The Hampton Court Stakes (G3)
- 1:10 p.m. ET — The Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap)
Friday, June 17
- 9:30 a.m. ET — The Albany Stakes (G3)
- 10:05 a.m. ET — The Commonwealth Cup (G1)
- 10:40 a.m. ET — The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)
- 11:20 a.m. ET — The Coronation Stakes (G1)
- 12:00 p.m. ET — The Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)
- 12:35 p.m. ET — The King Edward VII Stakes (G2)
- 1:10 p.m. ET — The Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes (Handicap)
Saturday, June 18
- 9:30 a.m. ET — The Chesham Stakes (Listed)
- 10:05 a.m. ET — The Jersey Stakes (G3)
- 10:40 a.m. ET — The Hardwicke Stakes (G2)
- 11:20 a.m. ET — The Platinum Jubilee Stakes (G1)
- 12:00 p.m. ET — The Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
- 12:35 p.m. ET — The Golden Gates Stakes (Handicap)
- 1:10 p.m. ET — The Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions)