Will Royal Ascot go Ahead in 2020?

With due respect to other summer racing festivals, such as the Moet & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket and the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Royal Ascot is the undisputed ‘jewel in the crown’ of the summer racing programme in Britain. Indeed, the Royal Meeting is renowned as one of the greatest sporting and social events anywhere in the world.

In 2020, Royal Ascot is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16 until Saturday, June 20 but, at the time of writing, Britain has been under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic for two weeks. Current speculation is that, if Britain mirrors China – which, in early April, reported no coronavirus deaths for the first time since January – the Government could be in a position to, at least, consider lifting restrictions by ‘early summer’. Of course, the ‘astronomical’ summer does not start until June 20 so, while the Ascot authority is considering ‘a range of options’ with regard to future race meetings, Royal Ascot 2020 is still in the balance.

“It may prove possible to run the Royal Ascot races behind closed doors, dependent on government and public health policy and the approval of the BHA [British Horseracing Authority] for us to re-start racing,” said Ascot Racecourse’s chief exec Guy Henderson.