Drunken brawl at Ascot causes concern
Ascot -An unseemly punch-up at the Royal Ascot races triggered concerns on Friday that the pinnacle of English high society was becoming over-run with vulgar "riff-raff".
With Queen Elizabeth II in attendance, an ugly brawl erupted at the prestigious racecourse on Thursday, with drunk punters swinging fists, table legs and even 100 bottles of champagne at each other.
On Ladies' Day, others looked on with horror - and some with amusement - as a gang of men in suits and ties did battle on the lawn by a Victorian bandstand.
Tables went crashing and jugs of iced drinks were sent flying as the punches flew.
Pictures of shambles
One man rolled around the grass clutching his head while another desperately grasped the leg of a shaven-headed man who kicked him and then grabbed the prostrate man around the throat.
A uniformed military officer stepped in to sort out the mayhem and one man was seen being led away with blood down the back of his suit jacket.
Pictures of the shambles were splashed across several newspapers, many of which questioned whether the atmosphere of Ascot was being tarnished by "a less distinguished breed of racegoer".
Besides the bloodshed, celebrity vice girls, men covered in tattoos and women baring plenty of flesh were in evidence.
Royal Ascot even has a drugs honesty box this year, whereby racegoers can drop off heroin, crack and other illicit substances as they enter the racecourse to avoid falling foul of the no-drugs policy.
"For 300 years, it has been the highlight of the summer calendar for the well-off and well-connected," said the Daily Mail newspaper.
"But these days, it seems, the enclosures and stands of Royal Ascot are becoming increasingly popular with a much less distinguished breed of racegoer."
Veteran BBC racing commentator Peter O'Sullevan was quoted as saying the tattoos and bare flesh were "disrespectful - not just to the queen, but to the horses".