Ascot Racecourse Ready to Reopen After Redevelopment

Ascot, Britain's highest-profile racecourse, resumes racing on Saturday, May 27 after a bold £200-million pounds redevelopment which has involved building a massive new main grandstand and much more.

The new Ascot will be the finest racecourse in Europe and should vie for the title of the world's best when all the work is finished.

Entry on Saturday, May 27, is being restricted to 11,000 people and is ticket only with just parts of the new stand open, but the management is confident all of it will be in use for the five-day Royal Ascot meeting which starts on June 20.

This has been by far the largest redevelopment of any racecourse in Britain and involved the straight mile turf track being realigned 42 meters to the north to give more room for the new grandstand which is an awesome structure.

While the official capacity of 80,000 racegoers is same as the old Ascot, there will be much better facilities and improved circulation flows in and behind the stand which has a spectacular parasol roof and open atrium feel, with great views over the turf tracks.

There has been plenty of speculation about whether the work at Ascot would be completed on time -- given the tight schedule as demolition of the old stands only started in September, 2004.

But unlike construction at Britain's national stadium at Wembley, which has been repeatedly delayed, Ascot will stage its main event of the year, Royal Ascot, with a record 3,665,000 pounds in prize money, at the appointed time.

It appears that not all the building work will be finished by then but enough to utilzse the main facilities. Last year's Royal Ascot was held at York racecourse, 200 miles to the north.