China the new frontier for Royal Ascot

The glamorous Royal Ascot horse racing meet is being broadcast live to over 200 million households in China for the first time this year (AFP Photo/Daniel Leal-Olivas) (AFP)

Well-heeled Chinese citizens are keener than ever before on Royal Ascot and the lure of owning a winner at the meeting could see more buying horses, commercial director Juliet Slot says.

Indeed so keen are they to buy into the Royal Ascot experience that this week for the first time the five day meeting is being broadcast by Sina Sports which will see it reach over 200 million households.

However, a more select group will experience it in a different manner as Slot explained to AFP on the second day at probably the world's most glamorous race festival.

"Sina came up with a wonderful idea which was similar to one I had but it was better," said Slot.

"A live streaming event on Thursday as a way of trying to bring a piece of Royal Ascot into China where people haven't seen it before.

"Thus they will attend in Royal Enclosure dress (which for women for the first time this year includes full length jumpsuits) there will be a fashion parade, a bit of a competition, a beautiful dinner in an amazing venue outside Beijing and showing the racing live.

"It's absolutely wonderful."

Slot, who says Sina being owned by China's leading social media channel Weibo is ideal exposure for Royal Ascot as they get access to a young audience, said the reason Royal Ascot is attracting Chinese interest is because they love British pageantry and traditions.

"A lot of the Chinese ladies I sat with on Tuesday (the first day of the meeting) love British institutions especially the Royal Family," said Slot, who worked on the successful London bid for the 2012 Olympics.

"They are fascinated by it (Royal Family) as it is obviously not something they have.

"They love the tradition, and doing things properly, the way we dress, the dress code, the fine dining and how do you eat properly and a sense of British style.

- 'Chinese market -

"They were hugely complimentary of that and they recognise this is one of the best meetings in the world and that's what you want the best in the world."

Slot, who has been in her present post for the past five years and says Ascot has taken on some ideas that the London Olympics organisers implemented, said the meeting was firmly implanted in the minds of a section of Chinese society and were dipping their toes into the unknown market for them of the bloodstock sales.

"I entertained a large group of Chinese high net worth individuals on Tuesday and there were more than before taking an interest in buying horses.

"Some who came on Tuesday were at the Goffs Sales the night before and I would not be surprised if they come back and buy horses.

"We may not be on the tourist trail but we are definitely in terms of being in the minds of the higher end of the Chinese market."

To that end Slot, who also secured American broadcaster NBC to show live all five days making it the most watched race meeting in the United States, believes there should be a further push to get more Chinese to bid for horses.

"I would like to encourage more Chinese to buy horses," said Slot.

"Because I think then if they buy horses when they think they can win it gets them really involved.

"If they get the chance to win at Royal Ascot and potentially be presented with the trophy by a member of the Royal Family or a celebrity well it means more to win at Royal Ascot than most places and that for them would be amazing."