Royal Ascot moving to Great Yarmouth
By Jane Seymour, Royal Correspondent
Royal Ascot is moving to Great Yarmouth racecourse to celebrate Norfolk’s growing association with the Royal Family, the Suffolk Gazette can reveal today.
Next week’s posh Ascot meeting will be the last to boast the ‘Royal’ tag, as Royal Great Yarmouth takes over the reins from 2017.
With Prince William and Kate now living in Amner Hall in Norfolk, as well as The Queen having a country residence nearby at Sandringham, royal courtiers felt the Royal Ascot meeting made little sense anymore.
They plucked up the courage to tell Her Majesty – and to their amazement she was extremely taken with the idea of a more “down to earth” town like Yarmouth getting the high-profile sporting and society event.
The news was to have been officially announced after next week’s Royal Ascot so it would not take away from the excitement of the meeting, or from the Queen’s 90th birthday events this weekend.
But a disappointed Ascot insider has leaked the plans to the Suffolk Gazette.
“This is dreadful. The meeting will go from posh to dross in no time at all,” he told us.
Locals we spoke to in Norfolk were, however, very excited and looking forward to asking Google what top hats and tails were. One man, Bubba Spuckler, 25, said: “I go racing with my sister and our five children, so this is good news. I don’t have a top hat thing, but I have a top smock that I shall wear with pride.”
The move to Great Yarmouth, which is more famous for its candyfloss and seaside attractions like Britannia Pier than it is for high society, will bring a tremendous financial boost to the poor town. Royal Great Yarmouth is expected to attract tens of thousands of well-heeled visitors to the resort as well as being broadcast to millions all over the world.
The last Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday with five races on the first day’s card, starting with the Queen Anne Stakes over one mile. The meet goes all the way through to next Saturday when the Diamond Jubilee Stakes will top the bill. The Gold Cup – Britain’s most prestigious event for stayers – is run on Thursday.
Bookies will be doing a brisk trade, with punters nationwide already studying horse racing betting odds at William Hill to try to pick a winner.
Royal Ascot is Britain’s richest race meeting, attracting the world’s best racehorses to compete for over £6.5 million in prize money. Many of the Ascot winners, such as Frankel, become household names.
The Queen loves the meeting, and enjoys the Royal Procession, when she rides down the track in her carriage to greet the crowds at the start of race day. A passionate horseracing enthusiast, she was delighted in 2013 when her own horse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup.
News of the race switch to Great Yarmouth is the second big Royal exclusive for the Suffolk Gazette, which recently revealed The Queen was getting Framlingham Castle as a 90th birthday present from the nation.
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