Ascot Course Guide

Read Timeform's guide to the track at Ascot, which includes the straight course which plays host to the opening Queen Anne Stakes and the undulating round course, home to the Gold Cup.

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Ascot Course Guide

The Ascot round course is a right-handed, triangular circuit of fourteen furlongs, with a run-in of 2½ furlongs. There is a straight mile course, over which the Royal Hunt Cup is run, and the Old mile course which joins the round course in Swinley Bottom.

Fundamentally, the characteristics of Ascot remain unchanged by the redevelopment undertaken in 2005, though the straight mile course was moved back forty-two metres, slightly altering the position of the winning post. In addition, the racing surface on both the straight and round course was relaid, and the road crossings were removed.

All races shorter than a mile are normally decided on the straight course. From the mile-and-half starting gate the round course runs downhill to the bend in Swinley Bottom, where it is level, then rises steadily to the turn into the straight, from where it is uphill until less than a furlong from the winning post, the last hundred yards being more or less level.

The straight mile is slightly downhill from the start and then rises to the five-furlong gate, after which there is a slight fall before the junction with the round course. Despite the downhill run into Swinley Bottom and relatively short run-in from the final turn, the Ascot course is galloping in character.

Since the redevelopment, the turn into the straight has become more sweeping and those ridden prominently can be difficult to peg back. Nowadays, the ground in the straight drains quicker than the rest of the course, meaning going descriptions can vary.

Description and map: Timeform