Royal Ascot is essentially the pinnacle of the Flat racing season in Britain, a top class festival in late June incorporating 5 days of action and featuring no less than eight Group 1 races.
Punters both on course and off it stake millions of pounds over the duration of this festival on 30 races which range from 5 furlongs to 2 miles 5½ furlongs for horses aged anything from two years old right up to 5, 6 or even older.
Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of Ascot Racecourse’s season with this festival founded by Queen Anne way back in 1711 and to this day the opening race of the meeting is named in her honour, the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes.
Royal Ascot General Info
Across all five days of racing over 300,000 people attend the meeting, flocking on Berkshire as an annual pilgrimage to take part not just in the racing but all the traditions, especially wearing just the right fashion. Ladies’ Day is on Thursday of the meeting when the Gold Cup takes place, one of 19 Group races at the meeting.
When is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot always takes place in mid-to-late June, the 2019 meeting pencilled in for Tuesday 18th – Saturday 22nd June 2019. The meeting is always ideally placed in the racing calendar so as to attract the English, Irish and French Guineas winners as well as the Epsom Derby and Oaks winners who run at the start of June.
Its prestige and also placing within the schedule makes it a real international affair with runners from the USA and Australia among those to hit Ascot in June and try their luck.
Why is Royal Ascot so popular with punters?
Royal Ascot is the meeting on the Flat that owners, trainers and jockeys want to have winners at and the punters’ adoration of the meeting is basically a reflection of that.
Besides the prestige and the quality of the equine flesh on show, punters also have races such as the Royal Hunt Cup, Britannia Stakes and the Wokingham Stakes which are all ultra-competitive handicaps in which bettors love to test their skills against the bookmakers.
What are the big races at Royal Ascot?
There genuinely isn’t such a thing as a normal or unimportant Royal Ascot race, each day’s racing kept down to just six races and all of them very high quality for different reasons. Here are the highlights:
The meeting gets off to an explosive start with three Group 1’s and a Group 2, even that race usually featuring young horses who will undoubtedly be Group 1 horses of the future. The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1, 1 mile), the Coventry Stakes (Group 2, juveniles over 6 furlongs), the King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1, 5 furlongs) and the St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1, 1 mile for 3-year-olds) are all run on the first day.
The Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes is a 1m2f race for older horses, one which is considered a championship race. The Royal Hunt Cup is a one-mile handicap for older horses which has a very busy field and will be the biggest race of the day in terms of betting turnover.
The Ribblesdale Stakes is a 1m4f Group 2 race for 3yo fillies and is essentially the ‘Ascot Oaks’, given that it is a slightly downgraded version of the Oaks itself and is often contested by some of the same fillies who have visited Epsom earlier in the month. The Britannia Stakes is the 3yo only version of the Hunt Cup, a one-mile handicap. The Gold Cup is also run on this day, a gruelling 2m4f Group 1 race.
The King Edward VII Stakes is the colt’s version of the Ribblesdale, a 1m4f race for 3yo’s and not surprisingly known as the ‘Ascot Derby’. Two Group 1’s are run on this day; the Commonwealth Cup which is a 6 furlong sprint for 3yo’s and the Coronation Stakes which is the premier one-mile race for 3yo fillies.
The Hardwicke Stakes is a Group 2 race over 1m4f for older horses and despite not having top level status it is often won by future winners of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at this track in late July (Group 1). The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is a 6f sprint for the older horses and the Wokingham Stakes is a 6f handicap, the biggest betting race of the whole meeting.
Royal Ascot Betting Offers
Much like the Cheltenham Festival back in March, Royal Ascot is a meeting that both fun players and serious punters look forward to with millions of pounds bet over the course of the week. To attract a whole bunch of new players, bookmakers throw out tons of great sign-up offers at this time of year.
What sort of offers can we expect?
Although not standard for other ante-post bets, most firms run a ‘non-runner no bet’ offer in advance of the Royal meeting meaning you can back your horse in advance, taking a better price, but will receive your stake back as a refund if your horse doesn’t make the final field.
Royal Ascot 2019 betting will be part of broader offers by bookmakers during a busy summer of Flat racing, deals including money back specials, enhanced odds and a lot more.
Betting on the Royal Ascot
Before you place your bet on any of the big races it is very much recommended that you don’t go into the meeting without knowing your stuff. There are a range of tools you can use and some crucial points to remember when considering Royal Ascot betting.
How to Choose a Bookmaker for Your Grand National Bet
With all bookies freely positing their prices online, competition is always intense when it comes to betting on the Royal Ascot. That said, not all prices are created equal. Some bookies offer better prices and offers than others, so you need to protect your best interests by making sure you place your bets with the right bookmaker. Here’s how:
- Read bookmaker reviews – ensure the reviews are up to date, easy to understand, unbiased and straight to the point.
- Check the odds – all of them – in advance of the race as some runners can vary notably in price.
- Find out if there is a live streaming option – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to watch the race as your bet(s) unfold. A good bookie is an accommodating bookie.
- Look for promotions – any bookie who has Royal Ascot betting offers will proudly post these promos in plain sight. Investigate your options and pick the one that’s the right fit for you.
- Understand the promotion T&Cs – be sure to read the promotions full terms and conditions. If there’s something about these conditions that you feel needs clarifying, get in touch with live chat ASAP and get the answers you need.
Each-Way Betting During the Event
Given the presence of some pretty prominent big-field handicaps, Royal Ascot betting in 2019 will as usual provide plenty of each-way opportunities for those who do not want to risk betting on the nose.
An each-way bet is essentially two bets, a win and a place bet on the same horse. For the ‘win’ part of the bet, the selection must win the race and for the place part the horse must finish ‘in the places’, in the case of Royal Ascot’s big handicaps this is in the first four.
Imagine your horse is 10/1 with the bookie offering ¼ of the odds for the first three places and you wish to back it each-way. A £5 each-way bet in this case will actually cost £10 in total. If the horse goes on to win; you would receive £55 for the win part (£5 at 10/1 plus your original stake) and a further £17.50 for the place bet.
Had the horse finished 2nd, 3rd or 4th in this instance, only the £17.50 return would be forthcoming by virtue of your £5 stake going on at a quarter of the actual odds (10/1 effectively becoming 5/2). Look out for extra places being offered by your bookie during the festival though, i.e. each-way on the first four or five in the Wokingham or the Royal Hunt Cup.
History of Betting on the Royal Ascot
Aside from individual races such as the 1000 & 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Oaks and the Derby at Epsom or the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown this festival is regarded as the absolute height of British Flat racing.
By the time late June rolls around, punters already have some very partisan ideas of who the best horses in each category are and are more than happy to plough their hard earned money into races in order to prove it.
How Many Races Are There and How Much Money Do They Generate?
There are six races on each of the days, Tuesday – Saturday for a total of 30 Royal Ascot races. Across the week betting turnover is in the hundreds of millions of pounds in Britain. Prize money for the 30 races has now passed £13 million which is why owners and trainers are as keen as the punters to score at this festival.
Racing greats such as Frankel, Jayjur, Pivotal, Brigadier Gerard, Kingmambo, Giant’s Causeway, Kingman, Ela-Mana-Mou, Mtoto, Dubai Millennium, Sagaro, Yeats and Danehill are all names that simply roll off the tongue and have all won races at the Royal meeting over the years.
Royal Ascot 2018
The 2018 meeting got off to a bad start for punters as trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and jockey Charles Bishop landed a famous win in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes with their Accidental Agent winning at odds of 33/1. Most money had been ploughed into Benbatl (11/4f) and Rhododendron (10/3) but both horses were down the field.
The Coventry Stakes for the juveniles was a chance for backers to get one on the board as, despite being drawn on the wrong side of the track, John Gosden’s Calyx was wagered into 2/1 favourite before the off. The once-raced son of Kingman made no mistake and got home in front of Advertise to win under ‘Mr Ascot’, Frankie Dettori.
Punters’ joy was short lived however when heavily punted Baataash (9/4) went off too fast in the King’s Stand Stakes and set the race up nicely for winner Blue Point (6/1), though compensation was quickly provided by Gosden and Dettori again when their 9/4 favourite Without Parole proved good enough in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
The spoils were once again share on Wednesday with a mixture of results, though the defeat of 2/5 favourite Cracksman behind Poet’s Word in the big race, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes was the low point for punters.
Thursday was Gold Cup day and after yet more highs and lows it was down yet again for Gosden and Dettori to save the punters as favourite Stradivarius won the big one at 7/4 to set up what would become a perfect season for him and a £1 million bonus.
With the supporting races yet again proving difficult on the Friday it was the big race, this time the Coronation Stakes, that was the highlight for punters as 11/4 favourite Alpha Centauri was simply brilliant under Colm O’Donoghue to score.
After Crystal Ocean’s win at 4/7f in the Hardwick Stakes the layers were in a panic over the strength of John Gosden’s unprecedented short priced 2/1 favourite in the Wokingham Stakes as it would have cost them millions. Their fears were allayed however when 33/1 chance Bacchus got up to beat the jolly on the line.
Royal Ascot 2017
The ever-popular Ribchester of Richard Fahey’s yard got the meeting off to a great start in 2017 as he took the Queen Anne Stakes at 11/10 favourite under William Buick before well-backed American filly Lady Aurelia landed the King’s Stand at 7/2.
Wins for Barney Roy (5/2) and Thomas Hobson (4/1f) meant day one belonged to the backers and the layers needed some outsiders to score on Wednesday.
Things didn’t quite go to plan for the bookies however on day two as French raider Le Brivido landed the odds at 2/1 to great applause in the Jersey Stakes. His win was backed up by victories for Qemah (5/2f) and perennial favourite Highland Reel (9/4) in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Not a single favourite managed to win on Gold Cup day, Big Orange (5/1) taking the big one ahead of the extremely well-backed Order Of St George (5/6f) with the bookmakers beginning to claw back some of their losses.
After a couple of outsiders winning the opening races of day four it was left to punter’s pal Aidan O’Brien to save the day as his Caravaggio (5/6f) and Winter (4/9f) won the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes within 40 minutes to complete a great Group 1 double.
Despite September’s win for O’Brien in the opening race of day five at 11/8 favourite, the last day belonged to the bookmakers as two 25/1 shots landed races on Saturday. The big race, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, was won by The Tin Man at 9/2 while the big handicap, the Wokingham, was won by Out Do.
Placing Bets on the Royal Ascot Race
Choosing your Royal Ascot bet may not be an easy task and so make sure you are in possession of all the facts before you play at the 2019 meeting.
Thoroughly research all the runners and riders the day before the race, make sure your horse likes the probably ground conditions and make sure you’ve got the best possible odds available on your chosen app or bookmaking site.
To compliment your bet, be sure to grab any and all special Royal Ascot promotions that are being offered as, aside from the usual rollover requirements, you can expect to get genuine free bet offers and odds enhancements.