The Virtual Royal Enclosure

We discovered that our box, car park No1 spot, and favourite table at the pop-up J Sheekey would be empty for the greatest week of racing in the world, so we pulled our collective brains together and came up with the stupidest idea of all time: the Virtual Royal Enclosure. Email for any of the discounts mentioned.

You’ll need our very exclusive virtual badges. Just message one of our team and we’ll send an elegant Enclosure pass. Although free, this will involve an element of manual labour.

1. Print.
2. Cut out with scissors.
3. Pritt Stick to your jacket.

Where will you watch the racing? Tune in to ITV or Sky Racing from the comfort of your sitting room, kitchen or bedroom. If, however, you need to pay a visit to Barnard Castle or any other essential journey, you can watch every race on our app or website – totally free!

Ladies, milliner Laura Cathcart will hold a Zoom consultation on loaning you a stunning hat for the week. Gentlemen, borrow a silk topper from our friends at Oliver Brown, who will courier it to your house. If you need a waistcoat or tie, take advantage of our Member discount at Sirplus and Drakes. Don’t forget Favourbrook, Huntsman and Norton & Sons if you decide to go out. If you post an image on Twitter or Instagram with @Fitzdares and #virtualroyalenclosure we will send you a few free bets for Ascot. If you think this is totally mad, you’d be right.

Pick up the phone and call us. Betting shops are so pre-Covid. Our phones and text lines get very busy 10 minutes before the off, so it’s always wise to get your bets in early. The 5 Hertford Street virtual Ascot preview takes place on Monday 15 June. We will run a daily email with form and sage advice from our Head of Racing, The Shark. If you don’t get our emails, join our mailing list here. Cornelius Lysaght will share his review of the day via our WhatSport voice notes at 9am. Sign up here to get them.

Are we sick of Zoom yet? Not if our friends are all in their best hats and have had a few glasses of wine. We will be offering a Royal Ascot Zoom background – it’s so authentic that after a few drinks you’ll actually think you’re there.

Now is the time to look into horse ownership! This will guarantee you access to the Winner’s Enclosure next year (NB only if the horse is good enough). Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds and Hot to Trot Racing are both affordable and excellent, while you may even bump into the Queen one day if you join Highclere. Another syndicate are offering a share in a horse for a mind-boggling two-figure price tag. Yes, two-figure. Old Gold Racing can sell you an ounce of a Paul Nicholls-trained horse for £60. Bob Pebble and Darling Maltaix may both be jump horses aimed for Cheltenham, but for the purposes of the Virtual Royal Enclosure, you can still tell your family you’re an ‘owner’.

Whether it’s at White’s, Bucks or The Turf, you can only truly enjoy Ascot with a few glasses in the shade. An ice bucket of Chapel Down is key (use discount code FITZ online at Order delicious cocktails to your door from The Cocktail Delivery Company (code: ROYALASCOT15). You can literally pour them from the bottle over ice; no mixology classes required. For added entertainment, nominate the most boring family member to play the role of Club Secretary. Director’s notes: sit in the corner of the gazebo and throw dirty looks.

For sheer novelty factor, it would be marvellous to congregate (en famille) at the boot of the car. If you don’t have off-road parking, this could provoke strange looks. Ignore them. If you are too lazy to do the food yourself, try Archie’s. They triumphed with their Easter lunch hampers during the darkest hours of the lockdown and have a special hamper ready for delivery in London throughout Royal Ascot.

Equally, you won’t find a better steak than at Boisdale, where we had a last Cheltenham hurrah pre-lockdown – many of you will be familiar with their delicious menu but did you know you can actually get their Buccleuch Scotch Beef delivered to your home at a tasty discount (code: FITZBEEF)?! Ask Lily for the code to both Archie’s and Boisdale.

We suggest hopping back in the car and sitting in it in the driveway with no air conditioning for two hours while you finish off the cocktails or sip warm champagne. No loo breaks. This will identically recreate the M4 return journey. For the diehard fan, hop in the airing cupboard with the whole family and turn up the boiler – that should replicate the train ride home!

This one’s easy: head back to Ascot and support UK racing at its finest. However, if the idea of thousands of people congregating might still be a little much, book a space on our club table or private rooms at the (opening soon) Fitzdares Club in Mayfair.

Good luck, and remember to gamble responsibly with the £2,000 you just saved.

Please play responsibly