Royal Ascot 2019
ascot racecourse

Monday 10th June 2019

Royal Ascot: a guide to the opening day

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday 18th June and anticipation will be high, with plenty of excitement expected on the opening day. Of course, the pinnacle of the Royal Ascot calendar is the Gold Cup on day three (or ladies’ day as it’s sometimes known) – but for the purist, the opening day is unmissable and boasts three Group 1 races. Don’t know what to expect from the opening day of Royal Ascot horse racing? Never fear, our guide to the races and race times will tell you all you need to know.

2:30pm: The Queen Anne Stakes

Originally the Trial Stakes, the event was established in 1840, but has undergone a number of changes over the years. In 1930, it was named in honour of Queen Anne, the founder of Ascot Racecourse; while in 2003, it was given Group 1 status. The race is open to horses of four years or older and is run over one mile. It is now the opening race of the Royal Ascot meeting and last year’s winner Accidental Agent caused an upset when he ran to victory, half a length ahead of Lord Glitters. The favourite this year is Mustashry.

3:05pm: The Coventry Stakes

The Coventry Stakes is a flat race run over six furlongs and is open to two-year-old horses. The race was established in 1890 and was named after the 9th Earl of Coventry. Since 2004, the Coventry Stakes has been a Group 2 race and last year’s winner was Calyx, ridden by Frankie Dettori. Monarch of Egypt is the favourite this year, having already won at Naas this season.

3:40pm: The King’s Stand Stakes

This event was established in 1860, as a result of bad weather – heavy rain made it impossible to run the Royal Stand Plate, so the race was shortened to five furlongs on the only raceable part of the track and thus the Queen’s Stand Plate was inaugurated. It was renamed the King’s Stand Stakes in 1901, after King Edward VII. The race is open to horses aged three years and older, and has been a Group 1 race since 2008. Last year’s winner Blue Point ran out as third-favourite beating the previous year’s winner, Lady Aurelia – and is the second-favourite this year, behind Battaash.  

4:20pm: The St James’ Palace Stakes

The St James’ Palace Stakes is another Grade 1 race and is open to three-year-old colts. Traditionally, those that race in it have previously raced in the 2000 Guineas and Irish 2000 Guineas. The race is run over seven furlongs and 213 yards. Last year’s winner was Without Parole, whose sire is the legendary Frankel; while this year Phoenix of Spain is the favourite, having won at Curragh last month.

5:00pm: The Ascot Stakes

The Ascot Stakes is the penultimate race on day one and is a flat handicap race, open to horses aged four years or older. It is run over a distance of two miles, three furlongs and 210 yards. Last year’s winner was Lagostovegas and Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer in recent years, with three wins in the last four races.

5:35pm: The Wolferton Stakes

The Wolferton Stakes was only inaugurated in 2002, when Royal Ascot was extended to five days and only last year was it moved to the opening day, concluding Tuesday’s race programme. The Wolferton Stakes no longer carry a handicap, but it is a conventional listed race, which prohibits Group 1 and 2 winners from entering. The race is run over one mile, one furlong and 212 yards. Last year’s winner was Monarchs Glen, ridden by Dettori.