From the Royal Box to the Stables - Take an exclusive look behind the scenes at Royal Ascot

Tap to watch an exclusive tour of Royal Ascot behind the scenes with ITV Meridian’s Joe Coshan

176 territories and 6 continents - Royal Ascot will be broadcast in every corner of the world.

Ahead of what’s considered the biggest horse racing event in Europe, we’re going to give you an exclusive look behind the scenes. Here’s ten locations on the racecourse that you may not get to see up close on screen.

1. Jockey Room

The best riders to ever grace the sport have sat in this locker room - equipped with showers, a steam room and saddle brackets. It's empty right now, but from Tuesday it'll be adorned with a multitude of coloured silks representing owners from around the world.

The jockeys’ facilities at Ascot include a medical treatment room, rest rooms and a dedicated room for physiotherapy. There are six doctors on site specifically to deal with any jockey injuries.

We’re told there’s a bit of a hierarchy, with some jockeys having set places they like to sit. William Buick sits close to the door, while Frankie Dettori will sit in his favoured spot for the final time at Royal Ascot as he plans to retire after the Breeders Cup in November.

Female jockeys have their own changing rooms. They’re much smaller, as there are more male jockeys, but they are due a major upgrade later this year with a surge in riders taking up the sport.

2. Weighing Room

The Jockeys’ weighing room is one of the racecourse’s most important areas. This room is where the jockeys verify they are carrying, including their saddle, the correct weight, before racing in front of a “Clerk of the Scales” and a “Judge”.

If a jockey is lighter than the weight the horse has to carry, the difference will be made up by thin lead weights in a special saddle cloth. After the race the jockey must weigh in with all his kit, to confirm that the horse carried the right weight.

Trainers prefer jockeys to be as close to the allocated weight as possible, as it is harder for the horse to carry this than a human can move with it.

3. Stables

Approximately 500 horses from the likes of Hong Kong, Norway, Australia, America, Ireland and across the UK will pitch up in the stables next week.

For the first time, every horse racing at Royal Ascot will get an enhanced health screening before they head to the track. In previous years only runners in Group 1 races would have welfare checks. This year horses will be checked for:

After successful trials at Newbury and Goodwood in May, the process involves:

  • A cardiac assessment using a stethoscope

  • A trot up over a distance of approximately 25 metres, with the horse asked to trot up and back in a straight line on a firm surface

  • An examination of the musculoskeletal system

After the vets are satisfied, the horses make a short walk up the hill and cross a busy road, which is closed to traffic, while they make their way to the temporary stables and parade ring on the racecourse.

James Given, Director of Equine Regulation, Safety and Welfare at the BHA, said: “British racing is rightly proud of the standards of care that racehorses experience and this enhanced process is another example of the whole industry, including horsemen, racecourses and regulator, all working together as we constantly strive for further improvements to racehorse safety and welfare.”

4. Parade Ring

This is where you’ll get an idea of a horse’s temperament for the first time, when they’re paraded in front of spectators.

Horses enter the Parade Ring approximately 15 minutes before their race. Listen out for the bell, which signifies that all the jockeys have weighed out and are about to mount their horses and ride out to the track.

It also gives you a chance to take a closer look at the horses before you place your bet, where you’re looking out for a shiny dappled coat, a twinkle in the eye and a good muscle-toning over the horse’s back legs to indicate it’s in good health.

5. Track & Finishing Post

A team of 15 people work on getting the Royal Ascot track ready for race week.

It’s famed for being one of the toughest courses with a 73-foot climb from the lowest point, Swinley Bottom, to the highest point, the Winning Post.

Chris Stickles, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course, took some time out of busy preparations to tell ITV Meridian how they make sure the course is in glorious condition.

"We prepare all year round to keep it in perfect condition, and we're delighted with how its turned out - it's a lovely surface at the moment. The grounds team have worked really hard to produce it in this dense, thick grass that can withstand 100 odd runners a day over the five days.

"The weather's helped us out this year by being dry, we've had to water it a lot but we're really pleased with it.

"The going - the description of how fast or slow the surface will ride - is good-to-firm at the moment, which means its quite fast with enough give so the horse can stretch out and run to the best of its ability."

6. Winners Enclosure

Royal Ascot is Britain's most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world's finest racehorses to compete for more than £9.5million in prize money - with no race run for less than £100,000. This is where connections want to be with their runners and riders.

Look out for Frankie Dettori - It’s 34 years since an unknown 18-year-old Italian rode Rain Burst to finish fifth in the 1989 Coronation Stakes. 12,422 days later, on the Saturday of Royal Ascot 2023, we could see him perform his famous flying dismount for the final time.

“Walking into Royal Ascot now, it will be tough. It’s going to hit me the last day. My family is going to be there, and I will know it’s the end. For sure I will cry. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m not going to! I’ve loved every second of it. It’s not going to be easy; my heart doesn’t want to stop but my brain says it’s the right time,” says the man who has ridden more Royal Ascot winners than any current jockey.

A career spanning five decades, he has 77 Royal Ascot winners to date, including eight Gold Cups and all eight Group 1 races - a unique feat.

7. Trophy Presentation Podium

This is where we could see for the first time His Majesty King Charles take up the mantle from his late mother in presenting trophies at Royal Ascot.

In memory of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the feature Group One race on the final day of Royal Ascot, the Platinum Jubilee Stakes, has been renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. The six furlong race carries a top prize of £1,000,000.

Sir Francis Brooke Bt. His Majesty’s Representative at Ascot, said: “The Late Queen’s close association with Ascot Racecourse was well known throughout the world, but no race at the Royal Meeting previously carried the name of Queen Elizabeth II.

“His Majesty The King has approved the renaming of the Platinum Jubilee Stakes to The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. This will both honour Her Late Majesty in perpetuity and maintain the connection with the three Jubilees celebrated since the inception of the race as the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2002.”

8. Royal Box

No one can enter the Royal Box on Level Two - not even the racecourse team are allowed it. You can tell you’re outside by the distinctive handcrafted riding crop door handles. Only senior members of His Majesty’s party can go in.

From below it looks like the bridge of a cruise ship, offering panoramic views of the racecourse, where they have been able to watch 76 winners at Ascot, 24 of those at Royal Ascot. The last was Chalk Stream in the Lavazza Stakes in 2021.

9. Royal Enclosure

Overlooking the Royal Box is the best seat in the house for punters in the Royal Enclosure. You can hear the hoofs thundering as they sprint towards the finish line.

The origins of the Royal Enclosure can be traced back to 1807 when an area was reserved exclusively for family, guests and the Household of King George III to view the first running of the Gold Cup.

The Royal Enclosure has evolved and expanded over time but remains an invitation-only membership, as it was at its inception. Today this historic beating heart of Royal Ascot is a centrepiece of the British social season and a unique place to experience the magnificent atmosphere and sense of occasion.

Royal Enclosure Members can enjoy the beautiful green lawns and floral surrounds of the Royal Enclosure Gardens, the perfect spot for socialising with a glass of Champagne, fresh seafood or a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea.

10. Flower Wall

And of course look out for the colourful Royal Ascot flower wall near the Grandstand Lawn - you’ve made all of that effort to look your best, so don't forget to capture your day at the races by taking a photo.