There is no more famous race at the Royal Meeting than the Gold Cup, and it has a history to match its prestige.
The Gold Cup stands proudly as the showpiece event of Royal Ascot week and is the world’s premier race for horses that are specialists over long distances. Modern tradition has scheduled the race for the middle day of the meeting, when fashion and glamour that is so synonymous with the Royal meeting reaches its zenith.
First staged in 1807, the inaugural winner, Master Jackey, was a three-year-old and wouldn’t qualify to run in the race under its current rules, which stipulate that horses must be four or older to enter. The magnificent trophy awarded to the owner of the winning horse is one of only three at the Royal meeting that are able to be taken away and kept on a permanent basis, along with those of the Royal Hunt Cup and the Queen’s Vase.
On the track the race has provided some of the meeting’s greatest and most unforgettable moments. In 2013, the victory of Her Majesty The Queen’s filly Estimate in the race sparked an outpouring of public joy rarely seen at any sporting event around the world, while those present when the Irish superstar Yeats powered to his record fourth straight Gold Cup win in 2009 will never forget the reception he received. He is immortalised through a statue that stands majestically in the Parade Ring.
While the roll of honour acts as a who’s who of flat racing, the name arguably most synonymous with the race is that of the sport’s greatest flat jockey. Lester Piggott rode to victory eleven times in the Gold Cup – including six wins in an eight-year spell between 1975 and 1982 – and his feat is unlikely to ever be matched.
To read more, buy the full Royal Ascot magazine at Ascot Racecourse.
Tickets for this year's Royal Ascot are proving as popular as ever, with the Queen Anne Enclosure sold out on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th June. The Windsor Enclosure has sold out on both Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th June, with limited availability on Friday 17th June.
We still have availability on the opening two days of the Royal Meeting, while upgrades that include Queen Anne Enclosure admission are still available across all five days.
For all latest availability and to book pleaseclick here