Ascot Racecourse today unveiled the order of running for the behind closed doors 2020 Royal Meeting (16th to 20th June). In this unprecedented year, there are several alterations to the programme, including six extra races being added to the fixture.
There will be seven races staged on the first f0ur days, with eight on the final card. The Buckingham Palace Handicap, lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, will open the meeting.
A Silver Royal Hunt Cup (1m) and a Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f) are included for those who miss the cut for the main events.
Also staged this year only will be the Copper Horse Handicap (14f, 4yo+), the Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo) and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo).
Her Majesty The Queen has graciously consented to these temporary new names. The Copper Horse is a statue of King George III mounted on horseback marking the end of the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, adjacent to the racecourse; The Golden Gates are the ceremonial entrance point for the Royal Procession at the end of the straight mile; The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Monarchy in Scotland.
Amongst the changes to the regular programme are the movement of the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes to the final day, to maximise the time between them and the Guineas at Newmarket (6th and 7th June).
In order to provide two-year-olds with as much time as possible before the key races at Royal Ascot, the two year old programme has been moved back with four of the six races to be staged on Friday and Saturday.
The King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, now key Derby and Oaks Trials, will be on the opening day in order to maximise the gap to Derby and Oaks Day (4th July). The Hampton Court, also an eligible Epsom trial this year, will be run on day two.
Prize money will be confirmed in due course.
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“We are most grateful to the BHA’s race planning team for their assistance in framing the additional races for this exceptional renewal of Royal Ascot,” said Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse.
“We hope these extra opportunities will be welcomed by horsemen, broadcasters and the public at home.
“Under Ruth Quinn, a lot of work has gone into scheduling an appropriate Pattern trials programme, beginning on 3rd June, alongside an enhanced two-year-old programme.
“We are of course taking nothing for granted in terms of government’s final approval to permit behind closed doors sporting events from 1st June. We are announcing the programme today, with the dates of the Royal Meeting already public as part of the wider schedule for resumption, so that Horsemen can begin their detailed planning.”