And they're off! Royal Ascot 2012 gets off to a flying start

We're in the midst of the five day event that marks the beginning of British Summer Time, Royal Ascot.

Over the past 300 years Royal Ascot has established itself as one of the highlights of the British social calendar and has attracted the highest calibre of racehorses in the world. It was actually Queen Anne who, whilst out riding in 1711, saw the potential for a racecourse on an area of open heath near Windsor Castle.

To this day it maintains strong royal links, with the Royal Procession marking the beginning of each day of racing. Six races take place daily with £4.5 million of prize money on offer. The quality of racing goes unrivalled elsewhere. 

Saturday marks the climactic end of this exciting event with the Golden Jubilee stakes being one of the most important flat races in the world. In honour of the Queen's milestone 60th year in reign it has been renamed the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. With four kilometres of bunting decking out the world-famous racetrack, this year's event has a thoroughly patriotic vibe; many racegoers have embraced the Jubilee theme, incorporating the iconic Union Jack into their outfits.  

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