Important Information To Support Your Royal Ascot Betting
Last updated & tested: 2020-03-18
There are Royal Ascot odds aplenty every single year thanks to 30 races to bet on across five days of fabulous Flat horse racing action at this British sporting institution. Taking a punt is just as important as the height of fashion and, with handicaps and group races galore, the Royal Ascot horse betting has something for everyone in it.
That’s part of this event’s appeal; races range from sprints over the flying five furlongs to the ultimate test of a Flat thoroughbred’s stamina in 2m 4f stayers’ contests like the Ascot Gold Cup and Queen Alexandra Stakes. Many of the races you can bet on at Royal Ascot are limited by age or sex of horses when it comes to eligible entries.
A smart punter will be aware of that but, with so many events in such a short space of time, and little time to go into the finer details yourself thanks to a busy modern life, you need someone to do all that for you. That’s where we come in. Our experts here have gone through the Royal Ascot betting of the last five years (2014-18) and race histories to come up with key trends.
These may help you pick a winner, but remember stats aren’t always the answer. They do undoubtedly help you to narrow down the field, however, and reveal things that not many horse racing enthusiasts know about the royal meeting.
Royal Ascot betting trends race by race
Come the middle of June, the centre of the horse racing world is fixed on Royal Ascot. With eight of the UK’s 36 Group 1 races throughout the event and as many Group 2s also, the action is truly top class. What you may not know about it, though, is that there are specific Royal Ascot betting trends that apply to each of the 30 contests.
Like all stats, there are times when results go against them but it’s better to be aware of them than to ignore them completely. If favourites have a poor record in the Royal Ascot horse betting on a particular race, then that’s essential information that can better inform your strategy when placing your wagers on this great event.
Before you place a bet on Royal Ascot, taking a look at our five-year trends will help make you a smart punter. There’s also a broader history than the recent past to consider and, as you’ll see, certain trainers or jockeys can do especially well in a particular race. Let’s break it down day by day and race by race, so you can see what we’re talking about.
Queen Anne Stakes
Three Royal Ascot betting favourites have landed the spoils in the last five renewals of the Queen Anne – the traditional curtain raiser to the meeting. This is a straight 1m Group 1 contest for horses aged four and over. Fillies and mares benefit from a 3lb sex allowance, while four-year-old horses trained in the Southern Hemisphere are giving a 1lb allowance. It’s those in that age group that have by far the best record, with five-year-olds only winning six times since 1991.
As with the Queen Anne above, three of the last five winners of the 6f Group 2 Coventry Stakes for juveniles have been favourites. This too is on the straight course, though the winning horses have been returned at bigger Royal Ascot odds in recent years. While that may reflect the risks that come with backing inexperienced two-year-olds, Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the Coventry saddling eight victors between 1997 and 2016.
King’s Stand Stakes
If there’s one race to avoid backing the favourite in, then it’s the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over the flying five furlongs. The market leader has a very poor recent record, finishing no better than third in the last five years. With set weights for three-year-olds and then the older horses separately, plus the traditional 3lb sex allowance for fillies and mares, there is a lot to consider in this end-to-end cavalry charge. One mistake – such as a slow start out of the stalls – and your fancy can kiss goodbye to their chances.
St James’s Palace Stakes
Favourites tend to give a much better account of themselves in the St James’s Palace Stakes – a Group 1 contest for three-year-old colts off level weights on the round mile course. Three out of the last five market principals have justified their place at the head of the betting and won. O’Brien again is the most successful trainer, saddling seven to victory this century, but John Gosden has been responsible for two of the last five St James’s Palace winners.
There’s a change of pace from the fast and furious group racing action on day one of Royal Ascot as the fifth race is a handicap open to older horses (aged four and up) over about 2m 4f. This is an extreme distance on the Flat, so National Hunt trainers who are happy to take their jumps thoroughbreds across codes tend to do well. Look no further than Willie Mullins as a shining example of this; he’s saddled four of the last seven winners of the Ascot Stakes and jockey Ryan Moore has partnered three of those – two were sent off as favourite. Stamina and staying credentials are essential here.
This was run as a handicap until 2017 and is now a Listed event over 1m 2f for horses aged four and over. If a horse is a previous winner in the grade since August 31 the previous year, then they must carry a 3lb penalty. The Wolferton Stakes is also open to horses that have won Group 3 contests but they must shoulder an extra 5lb if doing so within that timeframe. Fillies and mares get a more generous 5lb sex allowance here. Judging favourites here is difficult because the race type has changed, but Gosden has trained two of the last four winners.
Queen Mary Stakes
We’re into Wednesday already and the 5f Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes is a juvenile fillies only contest off level weights. Favourites again have a strong recent record here with three of the last five coming in and American trainer Wes Ward was responsible for two of those. Anything he sends across the Atlantic is well worth a second look, then, at the classic Ascot racecourse.
There’s an early trial for the St Leger in Doncaster in the form of the 1m 6f (reduced in distance in recent years from 2m) Group 2 Queen’s Vase for three-year-olds only. Things don’t tend to go according to plan with favourites here and any Group 1 winners since 31 August the previous year must carry a 3lb penalty. Fillies get their usual allowance of 3lb, however, and O’Brien has saddled three of the last five victors in a race where many may be tackling this distance for the first time.
Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
Older fillies and mares (four-year-old and up) get their chance over the straight mile in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. There’s a 3lb penalty for a previous win in this grade and 5lb for any Group 1 glory tasted by the girls since August 31 the previous year. Three of the last five favourites have gone in here and it’s French trained horses that warrant particular attention as two were fancied on cross-Channel raids and landed the spoils to prove that they are some of the best racehorses around. This was previously known as the Windsor Forest Stakes.
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes
Just the one jolly has gone in as the last six renewals of the 1m 2f Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and those winners have all come from different stables. Like the Duke Of Cambridge, this is an event open to older horses but both sexes. Fillies and mares get 3lb as do Southern Hemisphere trained four-year-olds. There’s no other Royal Ascot betting trends to speak of here other than giving weighty consideration to taking the favourite on.
Royal Hunt Cup
If you like the puzzle of a big field handicap to solve, then the Royal Hunt Cup over the straight mile for three-year-olds and up is the perfect brain teaser. You can almost entirely discount favourites here as in the last five years they’ve got no nearer than finishing eighth. Again, for trend seekers there’s not much to go on here but James Doyle has been the winning jockey in two of the last six renewals.
There’s a Group 3 contest for three-year-olds over 7f on day two of Royal Ascot as well in the shape of the Jersey Stakes. Fillies get 3lb, while there are 3lb penalties for previous wins in the grade. Horses that have won Group 1 or 2 races can run here too, but are burdened by an extra 5lb. Sir Michael Stoute – the most successful trainer of all-time at this meeting – has also saddled the most winners of the Jersey with six.
Avoiding favourites in the 5f Group 2 Norfolk Stakes for juveniles is wise as we haven’t had one come in during the last five years. It’s that unpredictability with two-year-olds again which may be behind this. Fillies get their 3lb allowance for this sprint in which Ballydoyle stable jockey Moore and trainer O’Brien have teamed up to ride and saddle two of the last four winners.
Hampton Court Stakes
The Hampton Court, previously known as the Tercentenary Stakes, is a 1m 2f test for three-year-olds only that haven’t won at a higher level than Group 3 – which is the status it holds. If a horse wins a Group 1 or Group 2, then they are no longer eligible to compete in the race. Should a horse have previously been victorious in the grade, then there is a 4lb penalty that comes with taking your place in this race. Fillies get 3lb of course and and the favourite has finished first or second in four of the last five renewals.
Whatever three-year-old filly heads the Royal Ascot betting on the 1m 4f Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes may be worth taking on, as the favourite has been beaten into second in three of the last four runnings. There’s a 3lb penalty for previous Group 1 win from August 31 the previous year. Lookout again for whatever O’Brien is saddling and Moore is riding as they pair have won three of the last five renewals – twice together. Frankie Dettori has partnered six victorious fillies.
Ascot Gold Cup
Favourites have a fine recent record in the Gold Cup and, if you’re going to have a bet on Royal Ascot, this is the most historic race of them all. Three of the last five market leaders at the off have landed the spoils in this Group 1 marathon over 2m 4f for older horses. With set weights for horses aged four and then five or over, plus 3lb allowances for fillies and mares and a whopping 10lb for Southern Hemisphere trained four-year-olds, those race terms must be looked at carefully. Although O’Brien has a magnificent record winning the Ascot Gold Cup seven times, four of those came courtesy of a true staying horse of a lifetime in the legendary Yeats. His influence on National Hunt breeding following his retirement from the Flat is massive. Whatever horse Italian jockey Dettori gets the leg up on here is also worth a second look after his six previous victories in this marquee race of the meeting.
Three-year-old colts and geldings contest a straight mile handicap on the Thursday of Royal Ascot in the Britannia Stakes. Betting favourites are ones to avoid here as none of the last five have done better than fourth. A starting price of 13/2 is the shortest odds that a Britannia victor has been returned at during this time period. Jamie Spencer has ridden two of the last three winners, so it’s worth looking at what he’s getting a leg up on in this race.
King George V Stakes
And there’s another three-year-olds only handicap, open to both sexes though, on day three of this fine meeting in the 1m 4f King George V Stakes. No favourite has got even remotely close to passing the post first since 2014, when the 4/1 joint market leaders finished first and second. The curious thing is that all of the last five winners have been sent off at single figure prices, so it’s among the fancied runners where you tend to find the winner – just not the favourites!
Juvenile fillies contest the Group 3 Albany Stakes over a straight 6f off level weights and one favourite in the last five years has landed the spoils. Jockey Spencer is again one to watch as he’s rode four previous winners since this event was first run in 2002. Royal Ascot odds of victorious fillies have ranged in recent times from 4/1 to 20/1 with three of the last five being double figure prices.
King Edward VII Stakes
You should also avoid backing favourites in the so-called ‘Ascot Derby’, the 1m 4f Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings only. There’s a 3lb penalty for any of the boys to carry if they’ve landed a Group 1 since August 31 the previous year. William Buick has ridden three of the last five winners and four in total. Dettori has as many victorious rides, while handler Stoute has saddled seven past the post first in this. King Edward heroes tend to be returned at single figure odds, but the 2014 winner was 12/1.
This is the newest race at Royal Ascot after its inauguration in 2015. The Commonwealth Cup is a 6f Group 1 sprint for three-year-olds where fillies get 3lb and Southern Hemisphere trained horses are given a massive 10lb allowance. What trends there are to go on so far say favourites will either win it or finish outside the first 10 in this big field event. Sheikh Hamdam Al Maktoum has owned two winners of the race, so anything in his blue and white trim colours should be considered carefully.
A Group 1 test over the round mile for three-year-old fillies off level weights is another of the main events on Friday. The last two favourites have landed the spoils here and each of the last five winners have been single figure prices. French fillies are worth looking at in the Royal Ascot horse betting on the Coronation Stakes – specifically from the of Jean-Claude Rouget as he’s won two of the previous three renewals – and jockeys from across the Channel too.
Another three-year-old fillies test, but this time over the straight mile. This handicap used to be a Listed race and the Sandringham Stakes was previously run on the Wednesday. Three of the last five favourites have come in, with Dettori (2015 and 2016) and Spencer (2017 and 2018) landing back-to-back renewals one after the other.
Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes
Yet another handicap here as the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes is a 1m 4f test for horses aged three and up. Three market leaders have been victorious in the last five runnings, belying the usual rule about handicaps but this is no less wide-open than any of the other Royal Ascot races contested in similar fashion. Stoute has trained six winners of the Duke Of Edinburgh and Moore rode back-to-back victories for him in 2013 and 2014.
Now we come to a Royal Ascot event with more unique race terms. The Chesham Stakes is a Listed contest over the straight 7f for two-year-olds only, but they must have been sired by horses that were winners over 1m 2f or further. Fillies get a 5lb allowance from the juvenile boys, while there’s a 3lb penalty for a previous win in the grade and 5lb extra if an entry has landed a group race beforehand. Moore and O’Brien teamed up with two of the last three Chesham winners and both were sent off warm favourites.
Older horses are given the chance to shine on Saturday as the 1m 4f Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes is always a competitive event. Fillies and mares get 3lb, but it’s Stoute who is the real master with 11 winners under his belt including four of the last five. Two of those were sent off favourite and, given that amazing Hardwicke record, it’s weird bookmakers haven’t put more of his runners at the head of the betting. Moore, meanwhile, has partnered five winners since 2010.
Windsor Castle Stakes
Another Listed affair now and not many trends in the Royal Ascot betting on the Windsor Castle Stakes to note. This is a juvenile contest over the flying 5f in which fillies get 5lb from the colts. This used to be the final race on the Tuesday of the meeting, but was moved to Saturday for 2018. Favourites don’t have a particularly strong record here, but do keep an eye open for American trainer Wes Ward, who has saddled a couple of winners in 2009 and 2014.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Another big field 6f Group 1 sprint on the straight course, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes is open to horses aged four and up but also three-year-old Southern Hemisphere trained horses. Fillies and mares get 3lb as standard, and this race has been very open in recent years. No favourite has won in the last five, though Moore has partnered two of the last three victors.
Yet another sprint handicap. The Wokingham is over the straight 6f and open to horses aged three and up. No jockey or trainer has dominated this race and, given how competitive this and similar events are, it’s no wonder favourites have a poor record. There’s just one piece of punting advice recent renewals of the Wokingham suggest and that is to look for horses that are double figures in the betting.
Queen Alexandra Stakes
Royal Ascot closes with a conditions race that is the furthest contest in terms of distance on the Flat in the British Isles that is contested under rules. The Queen Alexandra Stakes is almost over 2m 5 1/2 f open to horses aged four and up. There are set weights for four-year-old and then older horses, fillies and mares get 5lb, and there are a host of penalties that may be applied to runners. A horse can have up to 10lb in extra weight added cumulatively for every class 2 or 3 win (3lb) or class 1 victory (5lb) within the previous 12 months. It’s complicated from a terms point of view but, with this extreme distance demanding thorough staying credentials, entries are similar to the Ascot Stakes in that many National Hunt trainers will run their horses that relish summer ground on the level here. Gordon Elliott has trained two of the last three Queen Alexandra winners, but Flat trainers do have their say too as Mark Johnston has saddled two of the last four to finish first. Moore has ridden three victors since 2010, including two for Mullins.