THINK Flat racing and most think of Royal Ascot. The hats - running the gamut from stunning to misguided - the pageantry, the Queen in her carriage, the tops 'n' tails, the champagne on lush green lawns and, not forgetting, the incredible racing come together to form one of Britain's most iconic sporting events.
Over five days in mid-June the nation's great and good descend upon the royal racetrack for an occasion rich in every sense - in heritage, in sporting merit,and in the vast array of wealth represented by the crowds of dukes, earls and oligarchs strutting before the grandstand.
For mere mortals Royal Ascot is a chance to watch and wonder at the elaborate outfits donned at the Berkshire racecourse and watch in wonder as the cream of British and Irish Flat talent square off against each other and - increasingly - the steady stream of raiders from Australia, America and other corners of the globe.
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