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The Smart Way To Do Royal Ascot 2016

Wed 22 Jun 2016

Many of the world's finest thoroughbreds, top trainers and jockeys descended on Royal Ascot (Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th June) in a bid for glory at Britain's most prestigious and valuable race meeting. Royal Ascot is not only a national institution, but the centrepiece of the British social calendar. Fashion at Royal Ascot was once again high on the agenda, with extravagant millinery and stylish outfits out in force during the festival.

With a total of £5m in prize money, Royal Ascot is an event like no other. Whilst it is demonstrably a celebration of the finest horseracing, it is also synonymous with fashion, pomp and pageantry. On each of the five race days, Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived by Royal Procession led by four Windsor Greys along the famous straight mile, a tradition that dates back to 1825 in full view of the 80,000 spectators. Ascot Racecourse has experienced many a royal spectacle, this year being no exception, with an impressive show from the Royal family fresh from celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their Royal Ascot debut, and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry were all present during the festival.

Once again, Smart Group and its corporate hospitality division Smart Experiences managed The Royal Ascot Village and for the first time Villiers Club. The Royal Ascot Village’s enviable position is located directly opposite the main grandstand and offers unrivalled views of the racetrack, as well as unique access of the Royal procession from the private viewing area. One of the gems of The Royal Village is the famous Bowler Hat bar which swiftly became a central destination for guests to converge over a glass of chilled champagne or a beautifully crafted cocktail. The cocktails were prepared by professional mixologists, dressed in their trade mark Bowler hats.

Guests tucked into an exquisite four course lunch in The Royal Ascot Village, prepared by the award-winning caterers Smart Hospitality under the watchful eye of Group Executive Head Chef, David Ridgway. The lunch menu comprised of honey glazed salmon fillet, served with a salad of spelt young summer vegetables and a horseradish and chive crème fraiche as a starter. For main course, chargrilled corn breast of chicken, vine tomato mousseline, basil emulsion, roasted squash and kasha salad with crisp Kent ham, warm baked ricotta, toasted grains and summer greens was served. Guests also enjoyed a mouth-watering selection of tapas style desserts, such as salted caramel sundae, almond and lavender panna cotta and bowls of summer fruit with vodka syrup.

The appearance of Channel 4’s racing pundit Derek Thompson gave guests food for thought, as he regaled which runners and riders were most likely to win each of the day’s coveted races. Following lunch, guests made their way to the viewing area to enjoy the pomp and pageantry of the Royal procession.

Back by popular demand was The Mad Hatters afternoon tea, designed to excite, illuminate and dazzle people's senses. Following a day of high octane racing, guests of The Royal Ascot Village entered the world of Alice in Wonderland to devour an eclectic variety of edible treats, such as; candy floss trees, mountains of meringues and Queen of Hearts tarts.

New to Royal Ascot this year was Villiers Club, situated on the Heath side of the track, opposite the main grandstand and breathtakingly close to all the action. This brand new hospitality experience provided guests with informal dining, afternoon tea and vibrant live music throughout the day to ensure they had a day to remember.

Smart by Angela Hartnett once again designed bespoke menus for the Winning Post Gardens and the Silk Lawns venues. Exclusive to these areas, Angela Hartnett applied her Michelin-starred credentials to deliver delicious hampers and boards designed to complement the size and style of the lawns. Relaxed, stylish and full of the culinary character that people have grown to expect from the celebrated chef, the menus were created using locally sourced English dishes with a hat tip to the season and also to Italian culinary ideologies.

Royal Ascot by Numbers:

330 chefs worked across 12 restaurants and the 214 private boxes, providing 35,000 covers. Racegoers will have consumed 51,000 bottles of champagne; 160,000 glasses of Pimms; 131,000 pints of beer; 5,000 kilos of salmon; 7,000 crabs; 2,900 lobsters; 2,400 kilos of beef sirloin; 3,700 rumps of English lamb; 10,000 Angus steaks; 89,000 bottles of mineral water and 42,000 bottles of wine. 45,000 guests will have taken afternoon tea, eaten 1,000 kilos of clotted cream along with 50,000 macaroons, 30,000 chocolate éclairs and 7,000 punnets of berries.

For more information on Royal Ascot, visit the official website.

Royal Ascot in Pictures:

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