SERVING members of the military will receive free tickets to Royal Ascot this year. 

The ‘Tickets for troops’ initiative was launched in 2009, and gives the chance for members of the armed forces to attend premier racing days for free.

Royal Ascot joins the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, the William Hill St Leger Festival, and Cheltenham’s November meeting in giving away the tickets.

Lord Marland, chairman of Tickets For Troops, said: “This is fantastic news from the BHA which has been a very generous supporter of Tickets For Troops since launch.

"The geography of racecourses throughout the UK means that troops and their families from all corners of country can enjoy a great day out in recognition of their efforts in keeping us safe and secure.”

More than 70,000 tickets have been donated to the scheme from racecourses across the country, and 2018 is the second year that all 60 premier courses have signed up for the scheme.

Will Aitkenhead, communications executive at the Racecourse Association, said: “It’s fantastic that all 60 racecourses are supporting this important and well received scheme allowing racing to show our appreciation in a small way to the men and women who serve our country.

“The Tickets For Troops scheme in racing is an extension of the already wide-ranging and impactful work that all racecourses do to help their communities and we look forward to welcoming lots of the troops and their families to racecourses this year.”

The service offers serving personnel and those medically discharged from the forces since 2001, the well-deserved opportunity to enjoy an event of their choice with their friends and families.

The scheme officially starts at Royal Ascot this year, but this past weekend’s racing at Ascot was also well attended, as punters flocked to the historic venue.