• Short Summary

    Striking stable lads staged a protest march along the track at Royal Ascot at the Gold Cup meeting on Thursday (19 June) to press their claims for a pay rise.

  • Description

    Striking stable lads staged a protest march along the track at Royal Ascot at the Gold Cup meeting on Thursday (19 June) to press their claims for a pay rise.

    The demonstration--under heavy police escort and with permission of the course authorities--went off peacefully. This was in contrast to a similar protest by militants at Chantilly in Paris the previous weekend when the race meeting was wrecked.

    After the 70 stable lads passed the grandstands they handed a note outlining their pay claim to the Marquess of Abergavenny -- Queen Elizabeth's representative. The Queen did not arrive until 40 minutes after the striker left the turf.

    The only real effect of the strike was to black-out televising of the races.

    The main event -- the Gold Cup -- was a triumph for the French trainers with their runners taking first and second places. Lester Piggot on Sagaro was first past the post for his sixth Gold Cup and GBP19,000 (44,000 U.S. dollars) prize money. Mistigra was second but was disqualified after a protest. The stewards awarded second place to Le Bavard, with the 25/1 outsider Kambalda third.

    SYNOPSIS: Royal Ascot, Thursday, and racegoers arrive in style for the Gold Cup meeting. While the pound plummets on foreign exchange markets and inflation and unemployment spiral, Ascot complacently carries on--seemingly unaffected--in its traditional splendour.

    This year's Gold cup was to have an added event--a protest march along the course by New market stable lads who have been on strike for eight weeks demanding higher pay. For most though, only seeking--and being seen--seemed important.

    At Royal Ascot "taste" applies not only to the famous fashions. Caviar, champagne and other delicacies are consumed in vast quantities and--despite cries that times are hard--some six thousand bottles of champagne were on ice for the season.

    Of course Royal Ascot would not be complete without that perennial publicity-seeker -- Mrs. Shilling -- and her outrageous hats.

    In marked contrast, the striking stable lads handed out leaflets pressing their case but had little success. They have been asking for an extra one pound, forty-seven a week.

    The stable lads have blamed the trainers for the impasse by refusing to allow them impartial arbitration. But the rebuffs of their employers and racegoers didn't seem to deter them and they weren't going to take their setbacks lying down.

    With the grandstands packed an hour before the main event, about seventy of the strikers marched down the straight. They were received with cheers from bookmakers but an icy silence from the Royal Enclosure.

    Forth minutes after the track was cleared Queen Elizabeth arrived and Royal Ascot moved back into top gear...as for the Gold Cup, Lester Piggot won on the French mount Sagoro.

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