In light of the COVID-19 lockdown and in-line with government advice, Royal Ascot 2020 (Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th June 2020) will take place behind closed doors for the first time in the event’s 250+ year history.
Racing fans can watch the enhanced 36-race programme of racing on ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing and immerse themselves in the spirit of the occasion with live coverage, exciting competitions and themed challenges bringing the Royal Meeting to life at home.
Throughout the week, activities will run the course of each day, to supplement the televised racing, ranging from celebrity chef recipes to jockey workouts and sing-along celebrations. Many activities will have a fundraising element in support of Ascot’s #StyledWithThanks fundraising campaign in aid of those affected by COVID-19 (www.ascot.co.uk/
styledwiththanks). Ascot has donated £100,000 to the fundraising page to kick-off the campaign.
Plans have been unveiled to ensure Royal Ascot will once again be a vibrant, celebratory event this summer. A live schedule of coverage and entertainment will follow that of any other year, commencing when the gates would open and continuing with singing around the Bandstand after the last race. Some scheduled activities can now be viewed on a dedicated ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ activity hub at www.ascot.co.uk/royal-ascot-
at-home, whilst others remain secret to surprise and delight audiences during the week itself. All money raised will be donated to The NationalEmergencies Trust Relief Fund, NHS Charities Together, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation.
Bunting and Activity Packs
Upon entering the racecourse 300,000 crowd members who typically visit Royal Ascot would ordinarily be greeted by 3 miles of Union Jack bunting. This year, sets will be made available to download and print so fans can set the scene at home hanging bunting and creating their own flags to wave.
Activity packs for children will include design-your-own jockey silks and racing scenes to colour in, word searches and tips on how to make a hat at home. Designed to bring the essence of the Royal Meeting to home, these activities complement Ascot’s large-scale at-home fashion challenge #StyledWithThanks that encourages people to dress up for the occasion, share a photo, donate to the fundraising page and tell their friends to take part too.
Teddy Bears and Afternoon Tea
Ascot will also be selling commemorative Ascot jockey teddy bears through the Ascot website with all profits from each bear sold being added to the total charity fund. 2020 Ascot Jockey Bears can be purchased here.
A ‘Royal Ascot At Home Afternoon Tea’ package, offering indulgent treats sourced from award-winning British artisan producers, is also available to purchase from £45 plus postage with £5 from each sale being added to the fundraising efforts. Royal Ascot At Home Afternoon Tea available to order here.
A brand-new virtual Royal Ascot flower wall filter and dedicated Royal Ascot At Home GIFs are available to use on Instagram, making your outfit photos as realistic as possible when joining in the fun at home.
Competitive enthusiasts can test their knowledge by taking part in a Royal Ascot quiz and various competitions and prizes will be up for grabs throughout the week including Porsche driving experiences at Silverstone, a helicopter ride and Royal Ascot 2021 tickets and packages.
Live social media coverage will begin with the historic Royal Ascot Greencoats opening the racecourse gates at 10.30am, as is custom, and a new digital racecard will be available each day to give racing fans all the details of the enhanced 36-race order of running for 2020. Tipsters will take to Ascot’s social media channels to share insights and advice for betters and live television coverage will be aired each day on ITV and Sky Sports Racing.
Fans will be able to nominate friends and family on the Ascot website to receive a phone call from a racing legend or personality at some point during the week, including Frankie Dettori, Ed Chamberlin and Hollie Doyle, bringing a taste of the Royal Meeting directly to those who may be isolating alone or would benefit from a friendly call from a familiar racing face.
Each day, jockey fitness sessions will be streamed before racing commences, run by the Injured Jockey Fund, to get the adrenalin pumping and provide an eye-opening insight into the sorts of fitness regimes professional jockeys maintain.
Archive footage will be released daily marking the moment when the Royal Procession commences and image galleries showcasing fashion and sport photography captured over previous years will be updated every day featuring work by some of Britain’s most famous sports and society photographers.
Food and Drink
With ten Michelin Stars collectively, Raymond Blanc OBE, Ollie Dabbous, Brett Graham, Skye Gyngell, Eric Lanlard, Simon Rogan and James Tanner will whet appetites ahead of their return to the racecourse in 2021. Some of the chefs will also share recipes and participate in the ‘Coronation Chicken Stakes’ competing against each other to see whose interpretation of the famous dish secures the winning number of votes from the public.
Synonymous with the event, no Royal Meeting week would be complete without afternoon tea. In 2019 240,000 hand-crafted afternoon tea cakes were served along with 220,000 finger sandwiches, 120,000 buttermilk scones, 80,000 cups of tea and 1,200kg of clotted cream. For Royal Ascot At Home the racecourse will for the first time share its secret recipes, to enable enthusiasts to create their own VIP tea. Executive Chef Gemma Amor and Head Chef Ben Dutson have prepared a downloadable shopping lists along with step-by-step recipes demonstrating how to recreate ‘quintessentially Royal Ascot’ treats, from classic cucumber sandwiches to victoria sponge and buttermilk scones. Enthusiasts can also find step-by-step guides for savoury favourites including confit of salmon with cucumber, cauliflower & horseradish sauce from legendary Royal Ascot ‘Chef In Residence’ Raymond Blanc OBE.
In celebration of Royal Ascot At Home, a new online wine shop, the Ascot Wine Club, in partnership with Official Wine Supplier, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, and Official Champagne, Moët & Chandon, has launched. Available to racegoers at home, there will be the option of three cases of wine, each named after former Gold Cup Champions – The Yeats Case, The Sagaro Case and The Fame and Glory Case – featuring wines from across Hallgarten Wines’ award-winning portfolio and Moët & Chandon’s flagship cuvées. Supporting the #StyledWithThanks campaign, 10% of all wine sales through the website will be donated to Ascot’s chosen charities.
Additionally, each day there will be different Ascot Signature Serve cocktail with recipes cards available to download in advance including the Royal Ascot Blush and Monkey Went To Ascot.
Finally, inspired by the singing around the Bandstand that has happened at the end of every day of Royal Ascot since the 1970s, there will be footage of previous year’s festivities with downloadable songbooks available on the Ascot website.
Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascot Racecourse, commented: “We’re excited to launch ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ for 2020. During these unprecedented times when we aren’t able to welcome our usual 300,000 guests to the Royal Meeting, we want as many people as possible to enjoy the magic of the Royal Meeting from home. It will be a unique experience, like no other, for us all.
“We hope everyone will embrace the many wonderful activities and interactive challenges we have lined up on the Ascot website, in the lead up to and during the event, as well as tuning into all the live racing action on television.
“With what has been happening in recent months, we wanted fundraising and frontline support to be at the heart of ‘Royal Ascot At Home’. Alongside the fantastic racing and entertainment in store, we’re also encouraging people to dress up at home and celebrate with us while raising money for our chosen charities and saying ‘thank you’ to the NHS and frontline workers who are playing such an important role. Our #StyledWithThanks campaign has already launched and we have had a fantastic response.”
Royal Ascot At Home will take place from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th June 2020.