In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the suspension of horse racing in Great Britain between mid-March and early June, the Royal Ascot schedule was expanded to include seven races on each of the first four days and eight on the fifth. It was a wild time with sporting events being cancelled left, right and centre. Of course for gamblers, there was still the prospect of playing online casinos and the like such as joka room, but placing a wager of sport was all but impossible.
In 2021, the Queen gave permission for some, but not all, the schedule changes to be made permanent. Thus, four of the six races added, or reinstated, in 2020 – namely the Copper Horse Stakes, Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes, the Golden Gates Stakes and Buckingham Palace Stakes – will be retained in 2021.
The Silver Royal Hunt Cup and the Silver Wokingham Handicap, run as the opening races on day two and day five, respectively, in 2020 will not, but a new race, the Kensington Palace Stakes will be added to the schedule to make a full quota of seven races on each day. The Kensington Palace Stakes, whose name has been approved by the Queen, is a mile handicap restricted to fillies and mares aged four years and upwards. With the exception of the Golden Gates Stakes, which will be run as the penultimate race on day five – such that the Queen Alexandra Stakes retains its position as the final race of the Royal Meeting – each of the ‘new’ races, including the Buckingham Palace Stakes, will be run as the last race on each day.
It’s good to have these regal affairs back on the cards. A nice combination of real money slots and a day at the race is the ideal for many punters. It will be quite something, throughout this years racing calendar to actually be part of it, rather than having cancellations galore or not being able to attend.