Ascot Racecourse has announced plans to allow racing fans to enjoy a vibrant, celebratory event from home. Royal Ascot 2020 (16 – 20 June) will take place behind closed doors for the first time in its 250 year history. Racing fans can watch the enhanced 36-race programme on ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing whilst immersing themselves in the spirit of the occasion with live coverage, exciting competitions and themed challenges to bring the Royal Meeting to life at home.
A live schedule of coverage and entertainment will follow that of any other year, commencing when the gates would open and continuing with singing around the Bandstand after the last race. A range of activities will supplement the televised racing, such as a celebrity chef recipe competition, jockey workouts, and sing-along celebrations. Some scheduled activities can now be viewed on a dedicated Royal Ascot At Home activity hub, whilst others will remain secret to surprise audiences during the week itself.
Many activities include a fundraising element to support Ascot’s #StyledWithThanks campaign in aid of those affected by COVID-19. Ascot has donated £100,000 to kickstart the campaign, and all money raised throughout the week will be donated to The National Emergencies Trust Relief Fund, NHS Charities Together, The Care Workers Charity, and the Berkshire Community Foundation.
Ascot fans can download and print their own bunting to set the scene at home and create flags to wave, whilst activity packs for children include design-your-own jockey silks, racing scenes to colour in, word searches, and tips for making a hat at home. These activities complement Ascot’s large-scale at-home fashion challenge #StyledWithThanks to encourage people to dress up for the occasion, share a photo and donate to the fundraising page. A brand-new virtual Royal Ascot flower wall filter and dedicated Royal Ascot At Home GIFs are available to use on Instagram to make outfit photos as realistic as possible.
Royal Ascot At Home Afternoon Tea packages are available to purchase online and offer indulgent treats sourced from award-winning British artisan producers, with £5 from each sale being added to the fundraising efforts. Those preferring to make their own can download shopping lists and step-by-step recipes to recreate afternoon tea classics such as victoria sponges and buttermilk scones. A new online wine shop, the Ascot Wine Club, has launched in partnership with Hallgarten & Novum Wines and Moët & Chandon, with 10% of all wine sales donated to the charity fund.
Racing enthusiasts can also test their knowledge by taking part in a Royal Ascot quiz and various competitions, with prizes including Porsche driving experiences at Silverstone, a helicopter ride, and Royal Ascot 2021 tickets and packages. Fans can also nominate friends and family to receive a phone call from a racing legend or personality during the week, including Frankie Dettori, Ed Chamberlain and Holly Doyle, to bring a taste of Ascot directly to those who may be isolating alone or wold benefit from a friendly call from a familiar racing face.
Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Ascot Racecourse commented, “We’re excited to launch ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ for 2020. During these unprecedented times when we aren’t able to welcome our usual 300,000 guests to the Royal Meeting, we want as many people as possible to enjoy the magic of the Royal Meeting from home. It will be a unique experience, like no other, for us all.
“We hope everyone will embrace the many wonderful activities and interactive challenges we have lined up on the Ascot website, in the lead up to and during the event, as well as tuning into all live racing action on television.
“With what has been happening in recent months, we wanted fundraising and frontline support to be at the heart of ‘Royal Ascot At Home’. Alongside the fantastic racing and entertainment in store, we’re also encouraging people to dress up at home and celebrate with us while raising money for our chosen charities and saying thank you to the NHS and frontline workers who are playing such an important role. Our #StyledWithThanks campaign has already launched and we have had a fantastic response.”