Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Upping the stakes: Royal Ascot offers record $7.5M prize money

March 20, 2013 -- Updated 1602 GMT (0002 HKT)
Pomp, pageantry and prize money: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrive at Royal Ascot.
Pomp, pageantry and prize money: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrive at Royal Ascot.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Britain's Royal Ascot increases prize money to record $7.5 million
  • Prestigious English track attracts royalty and celebrity guests
  • But despite prestige, Ascot still lags behind world in prize money
  • World's richest racing event, Dubai World Cup, offers $27 million

Winning Post is CNN's monthly horse racing show. Click here for program times and latest features.

(CNN) -- Britain's prestigious Royal Ascot has increased its prize money to a record $7.5 million, in an effort to attract the top race horses from around the world.

The country's premier five-day racing festival -- home to Queen Elizabeth's namesake race, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes -- has boosted its prize money by a whopping $756,750 on last year.

The world-renowned meeting, which attracts a "who's who" list of royal and celebrity guests, will now also honor Prince William with a race named after him.

6 star luxury for Qatar race horses
Life as an expat jockey in Doha
Swiss town with need for speed

But despite the prestige associated with Ascot, its prize money still lags behind the rest of the world.

Read: Ascot vs L'Arc -- the glitz and glamor of France's great race

The richest horse racing event on the planet, the Dubai World Cup, kicks off later this month with a total prize pool of $27 million, for nine group races.

Similarly, the U.S. Breeders' Cup races offer combined prize money of $25 million, while France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe has a purse of $12.6 million.

"We have seen some remarkable racing at Ascot in recent years and whilst the importance of winning at Royal Ascot both in terms of prestige and in value to the bloodstock industry can't be denied, increasing prize money is equally crucial to attracting the best horses to run in a highly competitive market," Ascot chief executive Charles Barnett said.

"It is very important to us to have a significant minimum amount on offer, and we have set that at £60,000 ($90,700)."

Read: Qatar's six-star hotel ... for horses

It may not offer the same cash as other international competitions, but Royal Ascot last year attracted the top four rated race horses in the world -- Frankel, Cirrus Des Aigles, Black Caviar and Excelebration.

Retired British champion Frankel, who won 14 races on the trot, chose Royal Ascot's Champion Stakes to make his final appearance, drawing a sellout crowd of 32,000.

Australian super mare Black Caviar, who remains unbeaten in a remarkable 23 consecutive races, made her Ascot debut with a nailbiting win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Man + horse + skis = ??
Transforming the desert into a racetrack

That flagship race remains capped at $756,750 -- compared to $10 million for Dubai's premier World Cup race -- but prize purses for the St James's Palace stakes and Coronation Stakes will rise from $378,000 to $530,000 each. The total prize money on offer at Ascot throughout 2013 is now just over $20 million.

Read: The mating game -- Will Frankel and Black Caviar breed?

This year Queen Elizabeth's grandson William, who is expecting his first child with wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will have extra reason to celebrate after the Windsor Forest Stakes was renamed the Duke of Cambridge Stakes in his honor.

Pomp and pageantry define the historic track, with the royal family arriving each June in a lavish horse-drawn carriage.

So highly regarded is tradition and decorum at Ascot, that last year organizers even had dress code administrators on hand to assess the thousands of people who descend on the Berkshire venue -- with a strict list of dos and don'ts issued to prevent standards slipping.

The Royal Enclosure, where Her Majesty watches all five days of the meeting, is where the most stringent regulations are enforced -- including a ban on the widely popular fascinator headpieces.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1035 GMT (1835 HKT)
Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is perhaps best known for helping to resurrect Prince William's relationship with Kate Middleton.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Meydan Entrance
The $10 million Dubai World Cup takes place at the Meydan Racecourse, which is a suitable setting for the world's richest horse racing day.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
He's created some of the world's biggest shows, so it's only fitting Andrew Lloyd Webber will be in the limelight on Dubai's big-money day.
March 26, 2014 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
The world's richest horse race is the highlight of Dubai's social calendar, attracting 60,000 fans from around the globe.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
Former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody has gone from riding winners to traveling the world in his second career as a photographer.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
Wonder horse Frankel has retired but his $200,000 offspring are already been tipped as future racing stars -- to the delight of his jockey.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
Michael Owen arrives at Ascot 2012
How do you replace the adrenaline rush of scoring one of the greatest goals in World Cup history when your football career ends?
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
A Scottish artist has captured the pomp and pageantry of Royal Ascot in a collage that represents "what I love about being British."
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1618 GMT (0018 HKT)
CNN's Francesca Cumani meets Faleh Bogunaim -- a Qatari rider who is making a name for himself.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
CNN's Francesca Cumani explores how Qatar's royal family has impacted the global horse racing scene.
February 13, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
It's been a long time coming. A very long time. But S'manga Khumalo is proving that black jockeys can hold the whip hand in South Africa.
February 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
It needed permission from the British monarch and may anger traditionalists, but one of racing's most regal occasions has crossed the rubicon.
ADVERTISEMENT