The pinnacles of sport and fashion collide once again at Royal Ascot, the world’s most famous flat race meeting, with extensive coverage for the last time on BBC Television.
A national institution and one of the centrepieces of the British social calendar, Ascot’s flagship event is more than just a race meeting for the thousands that gather at the famous racecourse each year.
Its unique blend of tradition, pageantry, fashion and style make it one of the most eagerly anticipated occasions of the summer, and BBC TV has coverage 24 of the 30 races live on BBC One or BBC Two, with the remaining races behind the Red Button.
High quality and exciting races are always guaranteed at the Royal Meeting, with £4.5 million in prize money on offer and a total of eighteen Group races over the five days.
Each day follows the same format with The Royal Procession making its way from the Golden Gates, along the racecourse and into the Parade Ring from 2pm each afternoon, featuring four horse-drawn carriages bringing Her Majesty The Queen and her party to the course.
This year’s Royal Meeting has extra significance following the recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations across the country.
Once the pagentry is completed, the focus turns to the racing, with The Queen expected to be in attendance to watch her horse Carlton House run in Wednesday’s big race, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Carlton House was third in last year’s Epsom Derby and fourth in the Irish Derby, before winning on his seasonal return at Sandown.
All the attention on the opening day of the meeting will be on the unbeaten Frankel, who is expected to go off as one of the hottest Ascot favourites in living memory at 1-4.
The world’s top-rated racehorse tops the field at the meeting’s very first race, the Queen Anne Stakes, and the four-year-old colt, ridden by Tom Queally and trained by Sir Henry Cecil, is looking for an impressive 11th-straight win.
Undefeated Australian mare Black Caviar, ranked second behind Frankel, is set to make her UK debut by running in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.
You will be able to follow all the stories from this year’s Royal Ascot with the BBC’s extensive coverage as it brings viewers all 30 races for the third year running across all its platforms.
Coverage will begin each weekday at 1.45pm on BBC One, switching to BBC Two at 3.20pm, and Saturday’s coverage begins at 2.20pm on BBC One.
Following each day’s terrestrial coverage viewers can catch the remaining races of the day live on BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website.
Clare Balding presents the BBC’s coverage of the five-day horse racing extravaganza, and she will be joined throughout the week by former five-time British champion jockey Willie Carson.
Additional expert analysis and comment comes Mick Fitzgerald and Ian Bartlett.
Roving reporter Rishi Persad will be out and about in the crowds and interviewing some of the key names from within the parade ring, and John Parrott will be on hand in the betting ring with all the hints and tips.
Race commentary comes from Jim McGrath.
Royal Ascot is a unique sporting event where looking good is just as important as picking the winner, with many attending simply to see and be seen.
The BBC’s coverage will as usual attempt to capture a sample of it for viewers in-between each of the races, with Suzi Perry being joined by a host of experts to assess each day’s fashions.
The BBC Sport website will have live video coverage for UK users of all the races shown on BBC Television as well as previews, reports and features from the meeting.
All of the BBC’s TV coverage will be available in high-definition on BBC One HD and BBC HD.
BBC Radio 5 Live will also have extensive coverage from Ascot, with 5 Live’s racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght covering all five days and will provide all the latest news and interviews throughout the week.
There will be live commentary on the key races each day from John Hunt broadcast with Richard Bacon’s afternoon shows.
This year’s Royal Ascot will be the last to be screened live on BBC TV after Channel 4 won the rights to screen all the marquee events on the racing calendar, including the Grand National and the Epsom Derby, from 2013.
Tuesday 19th June – Day 1
The opening day of what is sure to be a spectacular Royal Meeting gets off to a flying start, with coverage of five races split across BBC One and BBC Two.
They include three Group 1 races, which are the Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes.
As the first day of Royal Ascot, the fashion stakes are high but the atmosphere is relaxed which allows racegoers the chance to enjoy a glass of Champagne between races or explore the racecourse at their leisure.Race Card: 14:30 – Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) 15:05 – King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) 15:45 – St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) 16:25 – Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 17:00 – Ascot Stakes (Handicap) 17:35 – Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) LIVE – 1.45pm-3.20pm – BBC One | 3.20pm-5.15pm – BBC Two 5.15pm-6pm – BBC Red Button .
Wednesday 20th June – Day 2
Day two of the sporting and social showpiece from the famous Ascot racecourse.
The Queen and other members of the royal family are in attendance, with a special atmosphere guaranteed in the diamond jubilee year.
The highlight on the track is the mile-and-a-quarter Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
Contested by the best horses aged four years and over, it was won in 2011 by superstar jockey Frankie Dettori on Rewilding.Race Card: 14:30 – Jersey Stakes (Group 3) 15:05 – Windsor Forest Stakes (Group 2) 15:45 – 150th Anniversary of Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1) 16:25 – Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) 17:00 – Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) 17:35 – Sandringham Handicap (Listed Race) LIVE – 1.45pm-3.20pm – BBC One | 3.20pm-5.15pm – BBC Two 5.15pm-6pm – BBC Red Button .
Thursday 21st June – Day 3
Day three of Royal Ascot is Ladies’ Day, the biggest day of the world-famous Royal Meeting.
High-stakes style is the order of the day, and big hitters from the international fashion industry are out in force, bringing glitz and glamour to one of the biggest fixtures in the social calendar.
On the track the week’s racing highlight is run – the Ascot Gold Cup, where last year’s winner Fame and Glory will bid for a repeat win.Race Card: 14:30 – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 15:05 – Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) 15:45 – Gold Cup (Group 1) 16:25 – Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 17:00 – Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3) 17:35 – King George V Stakes (Handicap) LIVE – 1.45pm-3.20pm – BBC One | 3.20pm-5.15pm – BBC Two 5.15pm-6pm – BBC Red Button .
Friday 22nd June – Day 4
The feature race on Friday is the Coronation Stakes, which traditionally brings together the leading three-year-old fillies in Europe.
Contested over a mile, the contest was won in authoritative fashion in 2011 by France’s Immortal Verse.
Also on the card is the King Edward VII Stakes, colloquially called the ‘Ascot Derby,’ as its conditions mirror those of the Epsom Classic.Race Card: 14:30 – Albany Stakes (Group 3) 15:05 – King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 15:45 – Coronation Stakes (Group 1) 16:25 – Wolferton Handicap (Listed Race) 17:00 – Queen’s Vase (Group 3) 17:35 – Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap) LIVE – 1.45pm-3.20pm – BBC One | 3.20pm-5.15pm – BBC Two 5.15pm-6pm – BBC Red Button .
Saturday 23rd June – Day 5
The final day of the Royal Meeting always provides a thrilling climax and features one of the world’s most important and international races – the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
The race has been renamed as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2012 to mark The Queen’s important 60-year milestone.
Black Caviar, ranked second globally to Frankel, is set to run in the race and will undoubtedly be the star of the show, racing for the first time in her career outside her home country where she is unbeaten with a record 21 consecutive wins.
BBC One has live coverage of the first four races, including the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 3.45pm.Race Card: 14:30 – Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) 15:05 – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) 15:45 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) 16:25 – Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 17:00 – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) 17:35 – Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race) – LIVE – 2.20pm-4.45pm – BBC One | 4.45pm-6pm – BBC Red Button . All of the BBC’s live TV coverage from Ascot will be streamed via the BBC Sport website. Live coverage of every race from Royal Ascot is also available to watch via At The Races. . –