Looking forward to Royal Ascot 2012

Dust off your top hats and tails or splash out on a new outfit - it's Royal Ascot time! This year, the meeting begins on Tuesday 19 June and runs throughout the week until Saturday 23 June.

Royal Ascot 2012

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Ladies and gents from across the land will be donning their finery and heading for this spectacular sporting event in the hope of picking a winner.

Formal attire is the order of the day - no strapless dresses or bare midriffs for the girls and suits and ties for the boys, and on Thursday, Ladies' Day, the fashion stakes are particularly high as racegoers bid to impress with designer gear, millinery masterpieces and chic elegance.

High fashion will, however, take a back seat once the stalls open and the world's fastest thoroughbreds bid to cement their place in racing history.

Highlights of the meeting include the St James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday, the Prince of Wales' Stakes on Wednesday, which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary with a prize fund of £500,000, the two mile, four furlong endurance test that is the Gold Cup on Wednesday and the Coronation Stakes on Friday.

The best of British and Irish runners will be there, as well as the great and the good from around the globe.

But two horses in particular will have racegoers clammering for a spot around the paddock.

Black Caviar, the Australian equine star who, according to her jockey Luke Nolen is "never out of second gear" and recently claimed an unprecedented 21st consecutive win, will be heading to the UK for the first time. The sprinting supermare will hopefully take her place in the line-up for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday 23 June.

Meanwhile, the phenomenal Frankel, the highest rated horse in the world last year, may bid to extend his unbeaten record with a run in the Prince of Wales or Queen Anne Stakes.

For fans of flat racing, it really doesn't get any better.