This year’s Royal Ascot meeting, set to take place behind closed doors between June 16-20, will host six additional contests, taking the number of races from 30 to 36.
Seven races will be staged on the first four days while the final day of racing will consist of eight races. The meeting will open with the Buckingham Palace Handicap, which was lost when the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015.
Three of the additional six races will be staged for 2020 only – they are the 1m6f Copper Horse Handicap for four-year-olds and up, the 1m2f Golden Gates Handicap for three-year-olds and the 5f Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap, also for three-year-olds.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Ascot racecourse revealed that the Queen has consented to the temporary names. The statement said: “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 entry 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.”
A Silver Royal Hunt Cup, to be run over a mile, and a 6f Silver Wokingham Handicap have been included for horses that miss the cut in the main events. The St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes have been moved to the final day of racing to maximise the time between them and the Guineas.
Both the King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, now key Derby and Oaks trials, will be held on the opening day to increase the time between their staging and the Classics at Epsom on July 4-5.
Ascot is also catering for two-year-olds by moving the juvenile programme at the meeting, with four of the six two-year-old contests to be staged on the Friday and Saturday.
Prize-money for all races will be confirmed in due course.
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse, said: “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.
“We hope that 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 June 3, alongside an enhanced two-year-old programme.
“We are of course taking nothing for granted in terms of government’s final approach to permit behind closed doors sporting events from June 1. 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.”
Royal Ascot Order of Running:
Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)
Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group 1, 4yo+)
Ribblesdale Stakes (1 1/2m, Group 2, 3yo fillies)
King Edward VII Stakes (1 1/2m, Group 2, 3yo colts & geldings)
King’s Stand Stakes (5f, Group 1, 3yo+)
Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group 2, 4yo+ fillies and mares)
Ascot Stakes Handicap (2 1/2m, 4yo+)
Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Hampton Court Stakes (10f, Group 3, 3yo)
King George V Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo)
Prince of Wales’s Stakes (10f, Group 1, 4yo+)
Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)
Copper Horse Handicap (1 3/4m, 4yo+)
Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo)
Wolferton Stakes (10f, Listed, 4yo+)
Jersey Stakes (7f, Group Three, 3yo)
Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo)
Gold Cup (2 1/2m, Group 1, 4yo+)
Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts & geldings)
Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies)
Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)
Albany Stakes (6f, Group 3, 2yo fillies)
Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group 2, 2yo)
Hardwicke Stakes (1 1/2m, Group 2, 4yo+)
Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group 1, 3yo colts & fillies)
Queen’s Vase (1 3/4m, Group 2, 3yo)
Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo+)
Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group 2, 2yo fillies)
Coronation Stakes (1m, Group 1, 3yo fillies)
Coventry Stakes (6f, Group 2, 2yo)
St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, Group 1, 3yo colts)
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group 1, 4yo+)
Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Alexandra Stakes (2 3/4m, Conditions, 4yo+)