Bishop & Sewell

In case you weren’t aware this is currently Royal Ascot week, 18 – 22 June, it being annually held on the third week of the month. One of Britain’s most well-known racecourses, Ascot holds a special week of races in June each year called Royal Ascot, attended by The King and Queen, who have had an interest in horses since childhood, writes David Little, a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department who increasingly handles Sports Law cases, too.

There are few events in the social calendar quite as revered as Royal Ascot. After all (snob alert), “It’s reserved for the best; the best in racing, the best in hospitality – and, of course, the best in style,” as Royal Ascot itself claims, here.

While Tuesday is often considered the best day of flat racing, there ‘s also Ladies’ Day on Thursday; Wednesday for the big bets and the closing days for an electric atmosphere off-track.

In the line-up of formality, the Royal Enclosure takes the crown for prestige, while the Queen Anne Enclosure follows suit with its own touch of sophistication. If you’re after a more relaxed vibe, the Village and Windsor Enclosures offer a laid-back atmosphere to soak in the festivities. His Majesty’s website has more royal detail here, if you’re hooked.

So what’s all the fuss? Sadly, though the sun may be shining today, all is not well with the sport of kings, as I recently flagged here.

Declining attendance at racecourses has also hit the coffers. The number going to the races in the first half of 2022 was down by 9% from the same period of 2019; many things, from cost-of-living pressures to animal-welfare concerns, are cited as causes. Harness that to the changes in betting levies and gambling controls that the Conservative government have recently introduced and the sport is on its knees, financially.

The Economist looked in detail at this equine decline in an excellent feature here.

Betting, or at least placing bets on when the date of an election might be, is currently very topical. By contrast, horseracing and royalty have an association that goes back hundreds of years. The beginning of the modern era of racing is generally considered to have been the inauguration of the English classic races: the St. Leger in 1776, the Oaks in 1779, and the Derby in 1780, according to Britannica.

Back to the present. On Saturday, Royal Ascot reaches its climax with three Group races, including the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes worth £1 million. Run over six furlongs, The Platinum Jubilee Stakes attracts some of the world’s finest sprinters to the Berkshire course. Ascot legend Lester Piggott is the leading jockey in The Platinum Jubilee Stakes – previously called The Diamond Jubilee Stakes, with ten winners, including Right Boy.

I might have a flutter this year. Hoof Hearted looks a good each way bet.

Contact our Sports Law and Corporate and Commercial expert

David Little is a Partner at Bishop & Sewell in our expert Corporate & Commercial team. If you would like to contact him, please quote Ref CB479 on either 07968 027343 or, 020 7631 4141 or email:

The above is accurate as at 20 June 2024. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 20th Jun 2024

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