No horse racing event in the world offers as much variety to bettors as the prestigious Royal Ascot.
Whether you want to bet on sprints, two-mile races, or handicapped competitions, the Royal Ascot has it all. The annual five-day event in England features 30 races of different distances, age classes, and classifications, making it the equivalent of the world track-and-field championships for horses.
In this Royal Ascot Betting Guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about betting on this year’s meeting, with particular emphasis on the races that draw the most gambling interest.
The Royal Ascot is held annually in June at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, Berkshire, England. The 2018 Royal Ascot is scheduled for June 19-23, with multiple races scheduled for each day of the event. Eight Group 1 races highlight the 30-race meeting, with at least one Group 1 competition held per day.
Here’s a breakdown of all the races contested at Royal Ascot, along with the days that they are held:
Due to the notoriety of the Royal Ascot, any betting site that offers horse racing odds (which is practically all of them) should have betting available for all of the Royal Ascot’s major events.
However, the odds for each race will vary by the website, so it’s best to use sites that typically offer the most favorable odds on a regular basis. Simply finding the best possible odds can make a difference of 10% or more on your winning wagers, which can add up fast if you’re betting on horses that pay in the range of 10:1 or higher!
It’s also essential that you only use betting sites that are reliable and safe, ensuring that you’ll actually be able to cash in on any of your winnings. With that in mind, here’s a short list of sites we feel most comfortable recommending for using to bet the Royal Ascot.
With 18 group races and 12 other events on the menu, there’s certainly no shortage of races to bet on at the Royal Ascot.
For the purposes of this Royal Ascot betting guide, we’ve limited the breakdown of events to the eight Group 1 races that highlight the Ascot festival.
Below, you’ll find a synopsis of the Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Gold Cup, Commonwealth Cup, Coronation Cup, and Diamond Jubilee Stakes, along with historical records and info on past champions.
The Queen Anne Stakes is the first race of the Royal Ascot. The one-mile race is open to horses aged four years or older and has been classed as a Group 1 race since 2003.
The Queen Anne Stakes dates back to 1840 when it was known as the Trial Stakes and open to horses aged three or older. The name of the race was changed in 1930 in honor of Ascot Racecourse founder Queen Anne.
When It Is Held: Day 1 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Ribchester, 2017 (1:36.60)
Winningest Jockey: Sir Gordon Richards (most recently in 1952) and Frankie Dettori (most recently in 2007) with six apiece
Winningest Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor (most recently in 2007) with seven
Four horses won the race in consecutive years when it was known as the Trial Stakes, but no horse has won more than one Queen Anne Stakes since the name was changed. Here’s a list of the winners of the Queen Anne Stakes since 1980:
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The King’s Stand Stakes began as a moderation of the previously-existing Royal Stand Plate. Heavy rains at Royal Ascot in 1860 limited the amount of track that the horses could be run on, so officials that year shortened the two-mile Royal Stand Plate to an 1100-yard distance.
That new distance became the King’s Stand Stakes race for sprinters aged three years and up, although the race was first known as the Queen’s Stand Plate before being renamed in 1901 when King Edward VII took the throne following the death of Queen Victoria. The race has been given Group 1 status since grading was implemented in 1971, except for a 17-year stretch from 1998-2005.
When It Is Held: Day 1 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Miss Andrett, 2007 (0:57.44)
Winningest Jockey: Lester Piggott (most recently in 1985) with seven
Winningest Trainer: Vincent O’Brien (most recently in 1987) with five
Eleven horses are two-time winners of the King’s Stand Stakes, but just three have pulled off the feat since the 1930s: Elbio (1991, 1993), Equiano (2008, 2010), and Sole Power (2013-14).
Three-year-old runners have accounted for 15 of the 37 champions since 1980, which are listed below:
The St James’s Palace Stakes, a one-mile race open to three-year-old colts, is one of the oldest and most historic events at the Royal Ascot.
Named after former royal residence St James Palace, the race has existed since 1834. It was upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 status in 1988.
When It Is Held: Day 1 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Shamardal, 2005 (1:37.18)
Winningest Jockey: Michael Kinane (most recently in 2004) with six
Winningest Trainer: Aidan O’Brien (most recently in 2015) with seven
Since the race is limited to three-year-old horses only, there are no repeat winners in the history of the St James’s Palace Stakes. The event, however, does attract past champions of the English, Irish, and French 2000 Guineas.
Following is a list of every St James’s Palace Stakes winner since 1980:
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is a 1 ⅛ mile race open to horses aged four and older. First held in 1862 and named after future King Edward VII (who was the Prince of Wales at the time), the event was originally 1 ⅝ miles long, then shortened to 1 ¼ miles in 1968 before being shortened again to its current distance.
Eligibility for the race has changed over time as well. It was initially closed to only three-year-olds, then began allowing all horses three and up in 1968. When the Stakes was upgraded from a Group 2 race to a Group 1 event in 2000, the minimum age was raised to four.
When It Is Held: Day 2 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: The Fugue, 2014 (2:01.90)
Winningest Jockey: Morny Cannon (most recently in 1905) with six
Winningest Trainer: John Porter (most recently in 1905) with eight
Three horses have won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in back-to-back years, most recently Muhtarram in 1994-95. Mtoto (1987-88) and Connaught (1969-70) are the only other multiple-time winners of the race, which had been restricted to just three-year-olds prior to 1968.
Following is a list of all Prince of Wales’s Stakes champions since 1980:
Ladies Day (the unofficial name of Day 3 at Royal Ascot) is highlighted by the Gold Cup, a 4.5-mile race for horses aged four and older.
The Gold Cup is the oldest race of all Royal Ascot events, dating all the way back to 1807 when it was first contested in front of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
When It Is Held: Day 3 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Sadeem, 1988 (4:15.67)
Winningest Jockey: Lester Piggott (most recently in 1982) with 11
Winningest Trainer: Aidan O’Brien (most recently in 2016) with seven
Numerous horses have won the Gold Cup in consecutive years, but Yeats stands alone as the most dominant champion in the history of the race.
The Irish Thoroughbred claimed the Gold Cup in four straight years from 2006-09 and stands alone as the only four-time winner. Another Irish horse, Sagara, won three straight Gold Cups from 1975-77 but retired following his last victory at Ascot.
Here’s a list of all Gold Cup champions since 1979 (multiple-time winners noted in boldface):
The Commonwealth Cup is the new kid on the block at Royal Ascot, only coming into existence in 2015 as Ascot officials looked to create a more balanced race program and give high-class sprinters more opportunities.
A three-quarter-of-a-mile sprint that is the only Group 1 flat race in Great Britain exclusively for three-year-olds, the Commonwealth Cup replaced the seven-eighths-of-a-mile Buckingham Palace Stakes on the Royal Ascot program.
When It Is Held: Day 4 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Muhaarar, 2015 (1:12:05)
Winningest Jockey: Three different jockeys have won the race
Winningest Trainer: Three different trainers have won the race
Named in commemoration of the 1838 coronation of Queen Victoria and first held in 1840, the Coronation Stakes is a prestigious one-mile race for three-year-old fillies. It has been a Grade 1 race at Royal Ascot since 1988.
Though the event is a showdown for top performers from the English, Irish, and French 1000 Guineas, the Coronation is held more than six weeks after those events are contested in May. That gives other fillies training time to close the gap on the top contenders and often leads to surprising results at Ascot.
When It Is Held: Day 4 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Maids Causeway, 2005 (1:36.59)
Winningest Jockey: Nat Flatman (most recently in 1851) and Morny Cannon (most recently in 1898) with five apiece
Winningest Trainer: John Porter (most recently in 1898) with six
Like the St James Palace Stakes and other races limited to a specific one-year age window, no horse has won more than one Coronation Stakes title. However, several horses have won the Coronation Stakes following a win at the English, French, or Irish 1000 Guineas earlier in the year, most recently Winter in 2017.
Below is a list of every Coronation Stakes winner since 1980:
Though the name of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes commemorates the 2002 Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth, the history of the race dates back to 1868 when it was first known as the All-Aged Stakes.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is three quarters of a mile long and has been restricted to four-year-olds and older since 2015. Prior to that, it allowed horses as young as three. It has been a Grade 1 event since 2002, and the quick pace makes for a thrilling way to conclude the Royal Ascot.
When It Is Held: Day 5 of the Royal Ascot
Fastest Recorded Time: Cape of Good Hope, 2005 (1:08.58)
Winningest Jockey: Lester Piggott (most recently in 1993) with 10
Winningest Trainer: Vincent O’Brien (most recently in 1993) with five
For whatever reason, past champions don’t tend to do well in future years at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, even dating back to when the event was known by other titles.
No horse has won the race in consecutive years since Right Boy won the Cork and Orrery Stakes in 1958 and 1959. The only three-time champion of the event is Prince Charlie, who claimed those titles from 1872-74.
Champions of every Diamond Jubilee Stakes (formerly Cork and Orrery Stakes) since 1980 are listed below:
Ascot Racecourse may be most famous for hosting the Royal Ascot, but it’s actually the site for many other notable races throughout the year as well. In fact, Ascot is home to more than one-third of Britain’s 36 annual Group 1 races, including the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes each July.
Built in 1711, the racecourse has a capacity of 70,000 people, enabling it to attract more than 300,000 visitors each year during the Royal Ascot alone. The turf track itself is cut to a regulation 4 inches for flat racing and 5 inches for jumps racing.
The beginning of the Royal Ascot coincides with the 1711 construction of Ascot Racecourse. Founded by equestrian fanatic Queen Anne, the event has always been associated with royalty, and many British monarchs continue to attend the Royal Meeting to this day. Honorable such as Queen Elizabeth II, The Prince of Wales, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Earl and Countess of Wessex watch the action from the famous Royal Enclosure.
The support of British royalty brought an instant prestige to the Royal Ascot, making it a place for others to be seen as well. The event began to grow in the 1800s, first adding the Gold Cup in 1807, followed by “Ladies Day” in 1823 and a Royal Procession in 1825. Nearly two centuries later, the traditions of Ladies Day and the Royal Procession are still closely observed, as is a strict dress code for Royal Ascot racegoers.
The total prize purse for Royal Ascot events is more than 7.3 million pounds (close to $10 million US), making it a destination for many of the sport’s top horses and jockeys. Lester Piggott is legendary for having ridden 116 horses to victory in various Royal Ascot events, while Sir Henry Cecil has trained a record 75 winners.
Whether you’re a diehard horse racing enthusiast or just a casual follower, there aren’t many events better for bettors than the Royal Ascot.
The five jam-packed days of racing action at Ascot Racecourse make for one-stop shopping for gamblers, especially with the wide variety of different distances, age groups, classifications, and formats.