Ladies Day at Royal Ascot

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What You Need to Know

  1. Ladies Day is traditionally held on the third day (the Thursday) of the world famous Royal Ascot festival of racing
  2. In 2017, Ladies Day will be held on Thursday 22nd June. As always, it will attract a huge crowd, with ordinary racing fans mixing with A-list celebrities and royalty
  3. The day is just as famous for its glamour as it is for its racing. The vast majority of attendees make a real effort and a strict, formal dress code is in place in most areas of Ascot, including the famous Royal Enclosure
  4. Alongside the fashion parade taking place in the enclosures, Ladies Day also features a full programme of world-class racing
  5. Without a doubt, the big highlight is the Ascot Gold Cup, a Group 1 flat race with a top prize of more than £225,000 up for grabs
  6. All of the race, but especially the Gold Cup, are popular with punters looking to make money on the action. Be sure you know what you're doing and remember to read the form guide before you put a wager down
  7. Tickets for Ladies Day can often be purchased right up to the start of Royal Ascot, especially for the Silver Ring. If you want to sit in the Grandstand or the Royal Enclosure, however, you should book well in advance to avoid disappointment 

What is Ladies' Day?

The third day of the world-famous Royal Ascot festival of racing is Ladies Day. This is the day when fashion and style is just as important as the world-class racing happening on the other side of the fences (if not more so), and it always attracts huge crowds and generates massive amounts of attention right around the world.

It's not just racing enthusiasts who flock to Ascot on Ladies Day. In recent years, the third day of the five-day meet has become famous for attracting some of the world's top designers, including the very best milliners, all keen to show off their latest creations. As you might expect, the day also attracts a huge crowd of A-list celebrities, with the great and the good mixing with royalty and enjoying a full day's racing programme.

But Ladies Day is not just about the fashion. The third day of the legendary festival is also famous for its racing, and above all for the Ascot Gold Cup, the big highlight of the day's action.

Ladies Day 2017

The 2017 Royal Ascot Ladies Day will be held on Thursday 22nd June. As always, the day is expected to draw a massive crowd, both of racing enthusiasts and socialites simply keen to enjoy one of the highlights of the year.

As with all the other days of the 2015 Royal Ascot meet, a range of tickets and hospitality packages are available for Ladies Day. As you might expect, the more you pay, the more exclusive the experience you will enjoy (and the better the view of the track and the finish line you will get). And, of course, the very best seats tend to sell out well in advance, so try and book your ticket as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Visit the official Royal Ascot 2017 website to find out more about the various tickets and hospitality packages on option and to book your big day out at the races!

The Day's Big Races - not in running order!

Alongside the fashion show taking place in the enclosures, Ladies Day also features a full day of racing, and includes some of the biggest races on the National Hunt calendar. Here's the full list of the races held on Ladies' Day:

  • 3.40 pm Ribblesdale Stakes: This is a relatively quick, low-key event to get the day started. It's a Group 2 race open to three-year-old fillies and is run over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs. A prize purse of around £160,000 on offer, and, as the opening race of the day, it always prompts a huge flurry of early bets.
  • 5.00pm Britannia Stakes: Dating back to the 1920s, this is a handicap race open to colts and geldings aged three years. The most notable thing about this race is that it's run over the same course and distance as the famous Royal Hunt Cup, plus it often features horses that are destined for great things.  
  • 4.20pm Ascot Gold Cup: This is the big one: A Group 1 race run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs, the Gold Cup is regarded as the most prestigious race for 'stayers', that is, horses specialising in long distances. The Gold Cup has a rich history dating back more than 200 years, and with a top prize of £215,000 on offer, it always features the very best horses, trainers and jockeys, plus the bookies always enjoy brisk business in the build-up to it.
  • 2.30pm Norfolk Stakes: After the glamour and excitement of the Gold Cup, the Norfolk Stakes is quite low-key. This is a Group 2 race run over a distance of precisely 5 furlongs and is open to novice horses aged two years and over. A prize purse of around £80,000 is up for grabs.
  • 5.35pm King George V Stakes: Quite a new race, and finishing this years Ladies Day this was first run in 1994. The race is a flat handicap race run over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs and is open to novices aged three-years-old and above. The top prize is just under £50,000.  
  • 3.05 pm The Hampton Court Stakes: this is a Group 3 flat race. Run over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs, it is open to horses aged three and above and often features famous jockeys.  

The Ladies' Day Dress Code

Royal Ascot is not only famous for its racing; it's also widely-regarded as one of the most stylish events on the Great British social calendar, with Ladies Day the big fashion highlight. In fact, what people are wearing often generates more excitement than what's happening on the turf, with pictures of well-dressed race-goers shared right around the world.

As you might expect, strict dress codes are in place, especially for guests watching the action from the best enclosures. In fact, even children are required to dress smartly on each day of the festival. So, here's what you need to know about the Ladies Day dress code for the different parts of Ascot:

  • Royal Enclosure: As you might expect, if you are lucky enough to get a ticket for the best enclosure, you are most definitely expected to look the part. For ladies, this means that dresses and skirts need to fall just above the knee or be longer than this, and all dresses and tops must have straps of once inch or more (so, no halter necks and certainly no spaghetti straps. Hats should also be worn, though large fascinators are acceptable alternatives. Gentlemen, meanwhile, must wear a black or grey morning suit, including top hat and plain, smart shoes.
  • Grandstand: In the Grandstand, the dress code is still in place, though it is slightly more relaxed. Female guests must dress formally and hats or headpieces need to be worn at all times. Gentlemen, however, are permitted to wear a simple suit, so long as it includes a tie.
  • The Silver Ring: Strictly speaking, there is no formal dress code for guests watching the action from the Silver Ring. That said, smart clothes are encouraged, and the vast majority of guests do make a real effort. Unsurprisingly, fancy dress, novelty clothing and replica sports shirts are all banned.

Alongside the above rules, Ascot also welcomes soldiers and other service personnel wearing their formal uniforms, while guests from overseas are also permitted to wear the formal national dress of their own home country.

If you have any doubts, consult the official Ascot website before you set off. After all, you don't want to be turned away from this famous race meet simply because you are not dressed correctly.

Getting to Ascot

If you’re planning on attending, the good news is that Ascot is fairly easy to get to from most parts of the country.

  • Direct trains run directly from London, Reading and Guildford, and the track is only a short walk away. Many operators also run dedicated coach services direct to the track from various locations around the country.
  • If you’re driving from the South or the East, get onto M3 junction 3 and onto the A332 to Bracknell and the follow the signs to Ascot. If you’re approaching form the West, use M4 junction 10 to get on the A329 to Bracknell and the look for the signs to Ascot.
  • Meanwhile, if you're travelling from the Midlands, use the M40 to get to junction 4 to get on the A404 and head towards the M4 toward London. At junction 6 join the A332 and follow the signs. Or, if you’re coming from the North, again use the M4 to junction 6 to get on to the A332. Once you get close to Ascot, you will be able to see plenty of signs pointing you in the direction of the famous racecourse.
  • Want to know more about this world-famous festival? Check out this comprehensive guide to Royal Ascot and learn how you can see the action for yourself!
  • Learn more about the biggest race of Ladies Day with this unbeatable guide to the Ascot Gold Cup. Knowing the history of this iconic event can help you pick a winner and maybe even win some big money!
  • Fancy a flutter on the Ladies Day action? Read up on how to pick a winner with this guide to betting on a horse, and then shop around a find a bookie offering the very best odds

Further Reading

  • Want to know more about this world-famous festival? Check out this comprehensive guide to Royal Ascot and learn how you can see the action for yourself!
  • Learn more about the biggest race of Ladies Day with this unbeatable guide to the Ascot Gold Cup. Knowing the history of this iconic event can help you pick a winner and maybe even win some big money!
  • Fancy a flutter on the Ladies Day action? Read up on how to pick a winner with this guide to betting on a horse, and then shop around a find a bookie offering the very best odds
 

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