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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Figures suggest racing proved the big Ascot attraction over music

Ascot racegoers enjoy the Shergar Cup on Saturday
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Ascot has revealed figures from Saturday's Shergar Cup attendance suggesting a substantial majority of the crowd were present for the afternoon's racing, and not just the evening's entertainment.

The first of Saturday's six races was scheduled for 1.05pm, while the concert, comprising sets from All Saints, Craig David, Feeder and Scott Mills, did not begin until half an hour after the last race. Popular wisdom has it that many attend such days largely for the music, but Ascot's data appears to debunk that theory.

Nick Smith, director of racing and communications, said: "We knew well in advance the crowd would be only just short of the 32,000 capacity we set for the day, but what's interesting is that 84 per cent of them were on site by 1.15pm.

"From our point of view that's very gratifying, as it demonstrates people are coming for the whole day and puts to bed any myth about them coming just for the concert, although that might well be a very important part of their day.

"The vast majority are there in time for racing, and they're enjoying it as well. It might well have been the case in previous years too, but this is the first time we've measured it."

Another significant plus from the afternoon was the competition for both top team and leading rider went down to the wire.

Smith said: "We had full fields, which is hugely advantageous, and going into the last race three of the four teams were still in a position to win. I'm told that any of seven riders might still have done so too. It shows the rides were evenly distributed and that we've got the right raceday template."

There were reports of some crowd disturbances, about which Smith said: "There were small instances of tempers becoming frayed over access to the ladies' loos at the concert, and I think there were a couple of little scuffles in the Queen Anne enclosure earlier, but that was all I believe."

What's interesting is that 84 per cent were on site by 1.15 pm. That's very gratifying as it demonstrates people are coming for the whole day

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