Ascot Racecourse History | Royal Ascot Betting

Ascot Racecourse is the home of the Royal Ascot race meeting as well as several other prestigious national hunt and flat racing meetings every year. The racecourse has the honour of hosting nine of the 31 prestigious Group 1 flat races run in England each year, with six of these races taking place during the course of the Royal Ascot meeting.

Ascot Racecourse history is inseparable from the history of the Royal Ascot meeting, as the land for the course was bought in 1711 with the express purpose of hosting the horse racing events that would eventually evolve into England’s most prestigious flat racing meeting.

The land on which Ascot Racecourse is located is only six miles away from Windsor Castle, and the ‘Bagshot Sands’ geological formation on which it was laid proved to be a uniquely unsuitable site for a racetrack. The sandy soil discouraged grass growth and as a consequence large quantities of manure had to be continuously spread across the turf to encourage growth of even the hardiest grasses.

The first stand at Ascot Racecourse was erected in 1794 and had a capacity of 1650, remaining in use until 1838. The next major event in Ascot Racecourse history was the Act of Enclosure of 1813, passed in parliament to assure the future of the racecourse and its races by acknowledging the Royal ownership of the venue whilst protecting the right of the English public to continue holding horse races at the venue.

In 1913 Parliament once again became involved in the fate of Ascot when they established a permanent administrative body for the course with the creation of the Ascot Authority Act. Previously the running of the racecourse had been the responsibility of the Master of the Royal Buckhounds.

In 1939 a meeting other than the Royal Ascot was held at the track for the first time in Ascot Racecourse history. A number of other meetings were penned into the Royal Ascot calendar leading to an immediate increase in popularity of the venue which only gained momentum as improved transport infrastructure allowed racing fans to travel to Berkshire from around the country.

In September 2004 Ascot Racecourse was closed for a massive redevelopment project that saw the original facilities replaced by a £185 million grandstand facilities boasting an impressive modern design and upgraded hospitality facilities. The racecourse was reopened by the Queen in 2006, marking the transition of the historic racecourse into the high-tech racing era.