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How to watch Royal Ascot

According to Stephen Pollard of the Spectator, the first step is to refuse to attend. This is a must if you prefer horses to fashonistas, as Stephen does. He prefers to watch Ascot on television, Channel 415, At The Races, to be precise. Presumably he pours himself something to drink, and if he is in his morning suit, it is not the one gentlemen are accustomed to wear in the Royal Enclosure.

It was different when Queen Anne hunted in Windsor Forest, and discovered for herself the open heathland so perfect for "horses to gallop at full stretch". In 1711 the first meet at Ascot competed for Her Majesty’s Plate (worth 100 guineas).The seven runners were English hunters which held up through three heats, each four miles long.

Three hundred years later the "finest racehorses on the planet" are at Ascot and on your TV, racing all week long. For those charmed by hats, Ascot 2007 has a good selection. The sunshine on the first day of the meet looked fine, too. The trainers were the men and women with hard, passionate faces.