Friday, 22nd May 2020
The Royal Ascot 2020 schedule published today increased Britain’s premier Flat horse racing festival to 36 events.
At this stage, the changes are just for this year and include consolation races for some of the Heritage Handicaps run at the prestigious meeting.
With field sizes restricted to 12 by the BHA for safety reasons, there are seven races on each of the first four days. The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot 2020 is an eight-race card, meanwhile.
Given how close the meeting is to the start of the truncated Flat season in the UK, the race order breaks from tradition.
The Royal Ascot 2020 schedule begins with the revived Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f) on Tuesday, 16 June. This race was discarded and replaced by the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds in 2015.
Day one of the meeting still has Group 1 action in the Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile and 5f King’s Stand Stakes sprint.
Epsom Derby and Oaks hopefuls can use the King Edward VII and Ribblesdale Stakes over 1m 4f as prep runs for the Classics. These events normally take place later on in the royal meeting and after the big two-day meeting at Epsom Downs.
Day two on the Royal Ascot 2020 schedule is mainly about handicaps. The Silver Royal Hunt Cup kicks the card off which ends with the new Copper Horse Handicap.
This 1m 6f test for older horses appears to be an early season trial for the Ebor at York. The Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 1m 2f headlines the Wednesday, with the first juvenile race of the meeting also included.
Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot has three handicaps and two Listed events included. Opening with the 1m 2f Golden Gates Handicap for three-year-olds, the Chesham Stakes for two-year-olds won by Pinatubo last year is run here.
A bumper Friday on the Royal Ascot 2020 schedule sees the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap commence the action. This is a sprint over the flying 5f for three-year-olds.
There are three Group 2 races around the feature 6f Commonwealth Cup – the 5f Norfolk Stakes for juveniles, 1m 4f Hardwicke Stakes for older horses and 1m 6f Queen’s Vase for three-year-olds.
The latter is a useful form guide to the St Leger at Doncaster. Another two-year-old race, the Group 3 Albany Stakes over 6f for fillies, takes place on the penultimate day.
There are three Group 1s on a massive eight-race card for the Saturday. While the Royal Ascot 2020 schedule finishes with the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the round mile events for three-year-olds are pushed back.
This is due to the proximity to the Guineas Festival at Newmarket this year (5-7 June). Milers can go from the 1000 and 2000 Guineas to the Coronation Stakes and St Jamaes’s Palace respectively if connections turn them out quickly.
The last two Group 2 juvenile races, the 6f Coventry Stakes and 5f Queen Mary for fillies, take place on 20 June.