Japanese fans can be in bed by midnight after Ascot moves time of Deirdre race

As a 50-1 outsider Japanese challenger Deirdre is unlikely to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes but she has already had a significant impact on the contest by causing its start time to be moved forward by 40 minutes.

Deidre, photo Liesl King

Ascot's current policy is to stage the feature race on each afternoon of the royal meeting at 4.20pm. However, the Prince of Wales's will this year be done and dusted by that stage having been changed to 3.40pm in order to assist those watching on television in Japan.

Ascot's director of racing and communications Nick Smith said: "We want the race to go off before midnight in Japan, which brings with it a significantly higher audience.

"One of the keys to everything we do is international engagement, so with the blessing of ITV, who agree that raising our global audience and profile is important, we have switched the Prince of Wales's Stakes with the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

"Had the circumstances needed us to move the Prince of Wales's to race two, we probably wouldn't have done it. Making it race three doesn't really matter, not least as it used to be the traditional position for the feature race."

Some British racing fans considering a trip to Ascot might also end up watching on television due to the five-day rail strike that is set to cause disruption to travel next week.

Talks between South Western Railway and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers are due to take place at Acas on Monday, although even in the event of a strike it is expected four trains an hour will travel from London to Ascot between 9am and noon, with a similar level of service likely after racing.

Late afternoon on Wednesday there were 364 Royal Ascot tickets available for resale at less than face value on the website Twickets, whose spokesperson Nick Briski said: "We have seen a larger than usual number of listings for Royal Ascot on the Saturday, but not necessarily on the other days.

"The train strike may well be a strong factor in any increase but there are numerous reasons why individuals or groups of individuals may wish to sell their tickets on, so it is not possible to highlight any particular factor."