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Royal Ascot 2009

The pounding of hooves, the scent of Pimm's, the tickle of a fascinator: Royal Ascot 2009 is almost upon us.

Royal Ascot 2009 takes place between Tuesday June 16 and Saturday June 20 2009 at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire.

It's the country's most famous flat racing meeting and a unique summer event in the British social calendar.

This quintessentially English event dates back nearly 300 years, combining the finest international thoroughbred horse racing and high fashion.

Attendance at  Royal Ascot in 2008 was 287,876 with a record-breaking Saturday crowd of 70,675.

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive at Ascot, said: “2008 was an excellent year for Ascot, especially the obvious popularity of the Saturday of Royal Ascot and the Shergar Cup. This illustrates how appealing racing continues to be on days when families and newcomers can get to the races..."

This year there is £4 million in prize money on offer in races such as the Queen Anne Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Gold Cup and Golden Jubilee Stakes.

And millions of pounds will change hands in bets put on throughout the five day event.

Tickets range in price from £16 to £85 per person, depending on the enclosure and day. The most expensive tickets are reserved for Royal Enclosure entrance. Guests here must be nominated and adhere to the strict dress code.

Unadorned heads, spaghetti straps, bare midriffs and mismatched suits are all frowned upon and will see the perpetrator removed and relieved of their Royal Enclosure badge.

For the second year running, scouts will be searching for the Face of Ascot to help promote next year's Royal Ascot. The model competition will take place in the Grandstand and Silver Ring areas on Tuesday June 16 and Wednesday June 17.

The BBC will be providing comprehensive coverage of Royal Ascot 2009 on television, radio and online.

If you're taking the family to Royal Ascot, combine it with a Legoland Windsor short break for a real treat.

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