Ascot

ascot

Ascot is a major British racecourse located in Ascot town, in the South Eastern county of Berkshire. It is owned by the Ascot Racecourse Ltd, but remains a public racecourse as passed by parliament in 1813. It has a royal element to it, based on its proximity to the Windsor Castle and also its history. These elements can be seen in much of the branding during races at the track.

History

The idea of the course was born in 1711, when Queen Anne was out riding. She noticed an open area, which brought to her the imagination of ‘horses galloping at full stretch.’ Eureka! Her Majesty’s Plate, the first ever race held at the track, took place in August of the same year, pitting competitors in three four-mile heats. The winnings were high even then; a purse of 100 guineas!

The course closed for around two years for a £185 million redevelopment in 2004, and was re-opened by Queen Elizabeth in 2006.

The venue

Ascot is mainly a flat racing course, but also has sections of ditches and fences where the National Hunt racing takes place. The costly redevelopments over the years have altered its appearances at every turn, mainly in the spectator sections.

After the 2004 renovation, complaints arose that restaurants and other hospitality facilities had received more attention than race viewing itself, prompting further alterations to improve viewing areas.

Notable races

In its characteristic royal self, Ascot’s main race is the Royal Ascot, which is held over three days every year. It is attended by the Queen and members of the Royal Family, and records around 3,000 visitors. This race has over time become more of a social event than a racing competition.

For actual racing, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run during the annual Gold Cup in July is the event.

Man O’ War, Arkle, and Red Rum are some of the most famous horses to have graced The Ascot.

Aintree

aintree racecourseAintree is regarded as one of the toughest courses to race in, where only top-deck horses and jockeys can survive, and even they have to be in their A-element. Located in the civil parish of Aintree in the North Western County of Merseyside, England, Aintree is the home of the Grand National Steeplechase. This race is world famous and sees horses cross oceans to take part.

It is owned by the Jockey Club Racecourses.

History

Aintree was initially a flat racing course, but was converted to a fences and ditches (steeplechase) course in 1839, when the first of sixteen fences were introduced.This made for quite the upgrade.

Major races

The Grand National descends on the Aintree every April, drawing competitors from all over the world. The races form a kind of tourism event, which causes a buzz around the entire village town.

From Golden Miller, L’ Escargot, Red Rum, Mon Mome and Esha Ness, the best horses in the trade have been to the Aintree.

The course

Fences and ditches mark most areas of the tracks in this steeplechase platform. The particular tricky setting of these barriers makes it unique and more demanding than most courses of its kind. The presence of spruce trees at all but one of its fences makes it even trickier, and different from any other course of the national hunt.

Other events

The ground has also been used for other events, including The Grand Prix motor racing, Michael Jackson’s 1988 Bad World Tour event and other music concerts. It also has a 9-hole golf course within its area.

Complaints

Due to the toughness of the Grand National, there have often been complaints regarding deaths and injuries at the Aintree, mainly from animal rights campaigners. Objectively viewed, however, The Aintree does not have any abnormal stats of these happenings, only they are more widely popularised.

Hey All!

Hi all. Welcome to horsesandcourses.net . Over the weeks and months we intend to offer a thorough and detailed look at every UK racecourse, from the main courses that all of us race fans have likely visited,  to the lesser lights of the UK racing scene. On top of that we will be putting some of the greatest race horses of all time, as well as those more recently displaying their worth, under the spotlight. Stay tuned!