Royal Ascot: Betting Tips, Stats & History

Royal Ascot is one of the biggest attractions in the horse racing calendar. Spread over 5 days, the meeting takes place in June and with it includes some of the most prestigious races in the world, with 8 Group 1 races across the entire meeting. 

Whilst a horse racing meeting at heart, it’s much more of an event and one of very few that has members of the Royal family attending on each day. The Queen has been a frequent at Royal Ascot, but most members have made an appearance at some point over the more recent history. 

The meeting is, of course, held at Ascot Racecourse, which can be found in Berkshire, England. The racecourse is as famous as the meeting itself and over the years has seen massive investment, making it one of most recognised and best places to watch horse racing anywhere in the world. 

Royal Ascot Betting Tips For 2018

What a time of year to be a sports fan! Not only do we have the greatest show on earth with the World Cup in Russia, those who prefer their turf combatants to have four legs rather than two are also well catered for as Royal Ascot rolls into town once again. The World Cup will be in full swing by the time the action all kicks off in Berkshire on Tuesday 19th June as the coming weeks provide more action and betting opportunities than you can shake the proverbial stick at.

Sticking to the horse racing, in terms of hype, international flavour, Royal Patronage and sheer quality, there is simply nothing to top Ascot’s annual celebration of equine excellence. Just about every race is a highlight in its own way at what is the classiest flat race meeting in the world. Here we take a look at how the headline acts on each of the five days are shaping up, with a focus on the big Group 1 contests.

Day One – Tuesday 19th June 2018

It is the superstar milers who as ever kick off the meeting in the Queen Anne Stakes. This contest has been landed by two magnificent mares in the past decade in the from of US raider, Tepin, and the brilliant French mare, Goldikova. The Aidan O’Brien filly Rhododendron look set to attempt to join that illustrious company in 2018 and the compilers think she is the one to beat. Bet365 make her their 5/2 favourite for the race. Chief amongst the opposition are French Group 1 winner Recoletos, Godolphin’s Benbatl and David Simcock’s Lightning Spear who went down by just a short head to Rhododendron in the Lockinge Stakes.

The second Group 1 of the day comes over the flying five furlongs of the King’s Stand Stakes. Over this minimum trip there are few who fly quite so fast as Charles Hills’ Battaash and Wesley Ward’s Lady Aurelia. To the delight of racegoers the pair look set to lock horns in what is undoubtedly the first big heavyweight clash of the week. In two previous starts over this course and distance Lady Aurelia has won by seven lengths in the Queen Mary and three lengths in this very race last year. She looks like being very tough to stop.

The day’s big event for the classic generation of colts comes in the St James’s Palace Stakes, which this year sees a real clash between established form and potential. It is the John Gosden-trained son of Frankel, Without Parole, who looks set to go off favourite, but will he be up to this step up in class? Unbeaten in three starts, he was forced to miss his 2000 Guineas assignment due to a setback, but returned in good style in a Listed contest last time. Lying in wait amongst the opposition are 2000 Guineas runner up, Tip Two Win and Irish 2000 winner Romanised in what looks set to be a cracker.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
14:30 Queen Anne Stakes Group 1 / 1m Rhododendron
15:05 Coventry Stakes Group 2 / 6f Sergei Prokofiev
15:40 King’s Stand Stakes Group 1 / 5f Lady Aurelia
16:20 St James’s Palace Stakes Group 1 / 1m Tip To Win
17:00 Ascot Stakes Handicap / 2m 4f Look My Way
17:35 Wolferton Stakes Listed / 1m 2f Mirage Dancer

Day Two – Wednesday 20th June 2018

All eyes will be on Chelsea Cloisters in the opening Queen Mary Stakes. US trainer Wesley Ward won this in back to back years in 2015 and 2016 with the flying fillies Acapulco and Lady Aurelia, and the comments emanating from the trainer about this one are very ominous for the opposition. Chelsea Cloisters can be backed at 5/2 with Bet365.

The big name of the day, and what for many will be the first real banker of the meeting comes in the day’s big Group 1 contest of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The mighty Cracksman didn’t look quite so mighty when only nailing Salouen in the shadow of the post in the Coronation Cup last time, but he did still win and on past evidence this track and trip seems to suit much better than 1m4f around Epsom. On his last visit here in the Champion Stakes he made a mockery of the opposition to bolt up by seven lengths and he will likely start a warm order for this.

Despite the abundance of class on show, as ever it is the handicappers who will attract much of the betting interest on Day 2 in the cavalry charge of the Royal Hunt Cup. Won by a four year old in each of the past three seasons, Afaak, Keyser Soze and Sharja Bridge are amongst those amongst the younger generation fancied to follow suit this year.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
14:30 Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 / 5f Chelsea Cloisters
15:05 Queens Vase Group 2 / 1m 6f Nelson
15:40 Duke of Cambridge Stakes Group 2 / 1m Ajazzi
16:20 Prince of Wales’s Stakes Group 1 / 1m 2f Cracksman
17:00 Royal Hunt Cup Heritage Handicap / 1m Saltonstall
17:35 Jersey Stakes Group 3 / 7f Society Power

Day Three – Thursday 21st June 2018

Thursday sees Ascot’s equivalent of The Oaks with the latest edition of the Ribblesdale Stakes. It may “only” be a Group 2 as opposed to the Group 1 of the Epsom Classic, but nevertheless sees many of the same runners go to post. This year we have the second, third and fourth from Epsom in Wild Illusion, Bye Bye Baby and Magic Wand, together with the horse who likely would have started favourite on the day but for injury, Lah Ti Dar. Add into the mix the totally unexposed daughter of Frankel, Sun Maiden, and we have all the makings of an absorbing contest.

It was day three last year which provided one of the truly abiding memories of the 2017 festival, and it came in the feature race of the Gold Cup. The phrase titanic tussle could well have been invented for the battle served up by Big Orange and Order Of St George that day, and if this year’s field can produce something similar we are in for a real treat. No Big Orange this time, but Order Of St George does return in an attempt to reclaim his crown. French raider Vazirabad and Yorkshire Cup winner Stradivarius are amongst those in opposition this time around.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
14:30 Norfolk Stakes Group 2 / 5f Isle Of Innisfree
15:05 Hampton Court Stakes Group 3 / 1m 2f Hunting Horn
15:40 Ribblesdale Stakes Group 2 / 1m 4f Perfect Clarity
16:20 Gold Cup Group 1 / 2m 4f Order Of St George
17:00 Britannia Stakes Heritage Handicap / 1m Corrosive
17:35 King George V Stakes Handicap / 1m 4f First Eleven

Day Four – Friday 22nd June 2018

The new kids on the sprinting scene take to the stage in the first of Friday’s Group 1’s as the three year old speedballs line up for this year’s Commonwealth Cup. One of the newer editions to the Royal Ascot extravaganza, this race has already been won by such talents as Muhaarar, Quiet Reflection and Caravaggio. Topping most lists this year is last season’s Norfolk winner at this meeting, Sioux Nation, from the yard of Aidan O’Brien. The opposition looks stiff though, with Charlie Hills up and coming Equilateral in particular catching the eye.

The other big highlight of the penultimate day sees the three year old fillies line up to tackle the one mile trip of the Coronation Stakes. Given the conditions of the race it’s no surprise that this contest attracts runners from both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, and that’s certainly the case this year with shock winner of the Newmarket Classic, Billesdon Brook, and Irish heroine, Alpha Centauri, featuring prominently amongst the list of current entries. Aidan O’Brien’s Clemmie was the best of these last season though and with her injury woes now behind her, perhaps she will be the one to beat.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
14:30 Albany Stakes Group 3 / 6f Fairyland
15:05 King Edward VII Stakes Group 2 / 1m 4f Delano Roosevelt
15:40 Commonwealth Cup Group 1 / 6f Sioux Nation
16:20 Coronation Stakes Group 1 / 1m Billesdon Brook
17:00 Sandringham Stakes Listed / 1m Tajaanus
17:35 Duke of Edinburgh Stakes Handicap / 1m 4f Blakeney Point

Day Five – Saturday 23rd June 2018

Race two on the closing day sees the older performers line up to tackle a trip of 1m4f in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes. When it comes to the training of older runners, Sir Michael Stoute has few – if any – peers and has racked up a record-setting 10 wins in this contest over the years. All of which is likely to combine to make his Crystal Ocean many peoples idea of a good thing on the closing day. A fine second in last seasons St.Leger, this son of Sea The Stars already looks at least as good this season and hacked up in a Group 3 at Newbury last time out.

For those who like their racing fast, furious and classy, Royal Ascot saves the best of its Group 1 offerings until last. When connections of the top sprinters are asked which race they would most like to win, one of the most common answers is Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Scene of some truly magnificent sprinting displays over the years from the likes of Choisir, Starspangledbanner and Black Caviar, this year’s editions looks set to see a classic Britain vs Ireland vs Australia battle as Harry Angel, Merchant Navy and Redkirk Warrior all look set to take their chance. The lightning quick Harry Angel heads the betting for Clive Cox, but having been beaten in his four previous visits to Ascot, can he finally get his nose in front?

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
14:30 Chesham Stakes Listed / 7f Beyond Reason
15:05 Hardwicke Stakes Group 2 / 1m 4f Crystal Ocean
15:40 Windsor Castle Stakes Listed / 5f Van Beethoven
16:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes Group 1 / 6f City Light
17:00 Wokingham Stakes Heritage Handicap / 6f Victory Angel
17:35 Queen Alexandra Stakes Conditions / 2m 6f Thomas Hobson

About

There are very few race meetings in the world that offer up 5 days of racing, but Royal Ascot is unique like that. With each day you get 6 races in total, with at least one Group 1 race running on that day. It’s worth noting that Royal Ascot is run over flats, with races ranging from as short as 5 furlong sprints up to 2m 5f marathons (relative for flat racing). 

The total prize money on offer at Royal Ascot amassed £6.58 million at the 2016 meeting, making it the largest of any meeting within the UK. If you compare with the Cheltenham Festival, probably the UK’s second biggest meeting, of £4.8 million, it puts in perspective just how iconic Royal Ascot is. But, you do need to bear in mind that Royal Ascot includes an extra day over Cheltenham Festival. However, even breaking the fund down by day, it still tops Cheltenham with £1.31 million average, compared to £1.20 million at Cheltenham.

Day by Day Highlights

Day 1 on Tuesday

The start of Royal Ascot is one of the most anticipated days in the racing calendar. Luckily for race goers and punters alike, the calibre of racing doesn’t disappoint. The day kicks off with the Group 1, Queen Anne Stakes, ran over 1m and commanding a prize pool of £685,000, one of the biggest of the entire week. 

Two more group 1 races kick off the opening day, including the King’s Stand Stakes and the St James’ Palace. The King’s Stand Stakes includes a prize pool of £400,000 and with it the race is run at a startling pace over just 5 furlongs, one of the shortest races of the entire week. The race is part of the global Sprint Challenge, along with the International Sprint and the Golden Jubilee Stakes. 

The St James’s Palace Stakes is another Group 1 and also has a purse of £400,000. Run over 7 furlongs this is another rapid race and often includes horses that have performed well in the 2,000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and the Irish 2,000 Guineas. It’s worth noting that Aiden O’Brien has won this race 7 times, more than any other trainer in the history of the St James’s Palace Stakes. Other races run on the day include the Coventry Stakes, Ascot Stakes and the Windsor Castle Stakes. 

Day 1 Results - Tuesday 20th June 2017

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Queen Anne Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Ribchester
Mutakayyef
Deauville
R Fahey / W Buick
W Haggas / J Crowley
A P O'Brien / R Moore
£388,464
£147,275
£73,706
Coventry Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Rajasinghe
Headway
Murillo
R Spencer / S Donohoe
W Haggas / P Cosgrave
A P O'Brien / R Moore
£85,065
£32,250
£16,140
King's Stand Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Lady Aurelia
Profitable
Marsha
W A Ward / J R Velazquez
C Cox / J Doyle
M Prescott / L Morris
£226,840
£86,000
£43,040
St James's Palace Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Barney Roy
Lancaster Bomber
Thunder Snow
R Hannon / J Doyle
A P O'Brien / D O'Brien
S bin Suroor / C Soumillon
£226, 840
£86,000
£43,040
Ascot Stakes 1.
2.
3.
4.
Thomas Hobson
Endless Acres
Who Dares Wins
Rainbow Dreamer
W P Mullins / R Moore
C Fellowes / S Donohoe
A King / T Marquand
A King / A Atzeni
£49,800
£14,912
£7,456
£3,728
Windsor Castle Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Sound And Silence
Roussel
James Garfield
C Appleby / W Buick
C Appleby / J Doyle
G Scott / H Bently
£45,368
£17,200
£8,609

Day 2 on Wednesday

It’s probably fair to say that Day 2 is slightly slower paced than Day 1, but that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of action on the go. With just one Group 1 race being run, it does seem a little lacklustre compared to other days, but often punters find Day 2 to be the most profitable as picking winners at more favourable odds is a little easier…although not by much!

The highlight of the day comes in the form of the Group 1 race, Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Ran over 1m 4f, the race has been graced as Group 1 since 2000 and with it has seen some great four-year-old horses race as a result. It’s also worth noting that the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the highest prize pool of the entire meeting, with a cool £750,000 in total purse. 

Other races on Day 2 include the Jersey Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes, Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Royal Hunt Cup and the Sandringham Stakes. 

Day 2 Results - Wednesday 21st June 2017

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Jersey Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Le Brivido
Spirit Of Valor
Mubtasim
A Fabre / P-C Boudot
A P O'Brien / D O'Brien
W Haggas / P Cosgrave
£5,039
£19,350
£9,684
Queen Mary Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Heartache
Happy Like A Fool
Out Of The Flames
C Cox / A Kirby
W A Ward / R Moore
R Hannon / O Murphy
£62,381
£23,650
£11,836
Duke Of Cambridge Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Qemah
Aljazzi
Usherette
J-C Rouget / G Benoist
M Botti / A Kirby
A Fabre / M Barzalona
£114,271
£43,323
£21,681
Prince Of Wales's Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Highland Reel
Decorated Knight
Ulysses
A P Obrien / R Moore
R Charlton / A Atzeni
M Stoute / J Crowley
£425,325
£161,250
£80,700
Royal Hunt Cup 1.
2.
3.
4.
Zhui Feng
Blair House
Tashweeq
Ballet Concerto
A Perrett / M Dwyer
C Appleby / M Barzalona
J Gosden / D O'Neill
M Stoute / R Moore
£108,938
£32,620
£16,310
£8,155
Sandringham Handicap 1.
2.
3.
4.
Con Te Partito
Rain Godess
Paco's Angel
Queen Of Time
W A Ward / J Spencer
A P O'Brien / R Moore
R Hughes / S Kelly
H Candy / H Bently
£45,368
£17,200
£8,608
£4,288

Day 3, Ladies Day on Thursday

Day 3 – Ladies Day - is all massively focused on one race, the Gold Cup. It’s arguably the highlight of the meeting and is widely regrade as Britain’s most prestigious race for stayers. These horses are ones that are able to stay over much longer distances than most flat racing horses, which is imperative a they need to navigate around the 2m 4f track, the longest of the week.

Whilst the Gold Cup is unquestionably the highlight of the day, it does include some of the most competitive races of the week. The main contenders come in the form of the two Group 2 races, the Norfolk Stakes and the Ribblesdale Stakes. The Norfolk Stakes is an out and out sprint over 5 furlongs, whilst the Ribblesdale requires more stamina, raced over 1m 4f. The latter is actually a good feeder race for future Gold Cup horses. On top of that, you get three more races on Day 3 that include the Hampton Court Stakes, Britannia Stakes and the King George V Stakes. 

Day 3 Results - Thursday 22nd June 2017

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Norfolk Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Sioux Nation
Santry
Cardsharp
A P O'Brien / R Moore
D Carroll / J Crowley
M Johnston / J Doyle
£56,710
£21,500
£10,760
Hampton Court Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Benbatl
Orderofthegarter
Mirage Dancer
S bin Suroor / O Murphy
A P O'Brien / R Moore
M Stoute / A Atzeni
£51,039
£19,350
£9,684
Ribblesdale Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Coronet
Mori
Hertford Dancer
J Gosden / O Peslier
M Stoute / P Smullen
J Gosden J Crowley
£121,927
46,225
£23,134
Gold Cup 1.
2.
3.
Big Organge
Order Of St George
Harbour Law
M Bell / J Doyle
A P O'Brien / R Moore
L Mongan / J Crowley
£226,840
£86,000
£43,040
Britannia Stakes 1.
2.
3.
4.
Bless Him
Ronald R
Tricorn
Indian Dandy
D Simcock / J Spencer
M Bell / D Tudhope
J Gosden / J Doyle
M Botti / T Quelly
£74,700
£22,368
£11,184
£5,592
King George V Stakes 1.
2.
3.
4.
Atty Persse
First Nation
Bear Valley
Drochaid
R Charlton / K Shoemark
C Appleby / W Buick
M Johnston / P J McDonald
A Balding / O Murphy
£56,025
£16,776
£8,288
£4,194

Day 4 on Friday

The Friday, for us at least, is the strongest days racing across the 5 days of Royal Ascot. You get two fantastic Group 1 races, together with two more Group 2 races, both of which are extremely competitive. What’s great about Day 4 is that it’s not at all ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ following on from the Gold Cup and instead, more quality racing across the board. 

The Coronations Stakes probably just pips the Commonwealth Cup in terms of prestigious Group 1 races for the day, although not by much. The Coronation Stakes has been running since 1840 and with it has seen some of the true greats win it over its 7-furlong track. 

The Commonwealth Cup has only been running since 2015 and with it has already seen a huge prize fund and some of the top three-year-old horses take part. It’s worth noting that this is the only horse race in Britain that is open exclusively to 3-year-old horses. 

Other races on Day 4 include the Albany Stakes, King Edward VII Stakes, Duke of Edinburgh Stakes and the Queen’s Vase (hotly tipped to make the switch to Group 1 in the not too distant future). 

Day 4 Results - Friday 23rd June 2017

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Albany Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Different League
Alpha Centauri
Take Me With You
M Palussiere / A Hamelin
J Harrington / C O'Donoghue
J Noseda / G Mosse
£45,368
£17,200
£8,608
King Edward VII Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Permian
Khalidi
Crystal Ocean
M Johnston / W Buick
J Gosden / O Peslier
M Stoute / A Atzeni
£127,598
£48,375
£24,210
Commonwealth Cup 1.
2.
3.
Caravaggio
Harry Angel
Blue Point
A P O'Brien / R Moore
C Cox / A Kirby
C Appleby / W Buick
£226,840
£86,000
£21,440
Coronation Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Winter
Roly Poly
Hydrangea
A P O'Brien / R Moore
A P O'Brien / S Heffernan
A P O'Brien / P B Beggy
£243,853
£92,450
£46,268
Queen's Vase 1.
2.
3.
Stradavarius
Count Octave
Secret Advisor
J Gosden / A Atzeni
A Balding / O Murphy
C Appleby/W Buick
£91,445
£34,669
£17,351
Duke Of Edinburgh
Stakes
1.
2.
3.
4.
Rare Rhythm
Appeared
Star Storm
Top Tug
C Appleby / W Buick
R Varian / A Atzeni
J Fanshawe / G Wood
A King / P Smullen
£49,800
£14,912
£7,456
£3,728

Day 5 on Saturday

The quality racing continues to come at Royal Ascot, with Day 5 offering 6 more eventful races to pick from. Whilst there is only one Group 1 race to pick from, the day does include the Queen Alexandra Stakes which is actually the longest flat race in Britain, measuring 2m 5f 143 yards. The yards inclusion is important as it measures 21 yards than the previous former longest flat race in the form of the Marathon Handicap, held at Pontefract racecourse. 

The Group 1 for the day is the Diamond Jubilee and it’s one of the best races of the entire week. It commands a prize pool of £600,000, also making it one of the richest races of the week. The 6-furlong sprint is one of the most exiting races that you will see over flat and interestingly enough, the most successful jockeys is none other than that of Lester Piggott, wining an incredible 10 times from 1958 to 1993. 

The day also includes other notable races such as the Chesham Stakes, Wolferton Stakes, Hardwicke stakes and the Wokingham Stakes.

Day 5 Results - Saturday 24th June 2017

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Chesham Stakes 1.
2.
3.
September
Nyaleti
Masar
A P O'Brien / R Moore
M Johnston / J F Egan
C Appleby / W Buick
£45,368
£17,200
£8,608
Wolferton Handicap 1.
2.
3.
4.
Snoano
Majeed
Kidmenever
Maverick Wave
T Easterby / D Allan
D Simcock / J Spencer
C Appleby / W Buick
J Gosden / J Doyle
£45,368
£17,200
£8,608
£4,288
Hardwicke Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Idaho
Barsanti
Chemical Charge
A P O'Brien / S Heffernan
R Varian / A Atzeni
R Beckett / O Murphy
£127,598
£48,375
£24,210
Diamond Jubilee Stakes 1.
2.
3.
The Tin Man
Tasleet
Limato
J Fanshawe / T Quelly
W Haggas / J Crowley
H Candy / R Moore
£340,260
£129,000
£64,560
Wokingham Stakes 1.
2.
3.
4.
Out Do
Steady Pace
Projection
Plybius
D O'Meara / D Tudhope
S bin Suroor / J Gordon
R Charlton / K Shoemark
D Simcock / O Murphy
£108,938
£32,620
£16,310
£8,155
Queen Alexandra Stakes 1.
2.
3.
Oriental Fox
Thomas Hobson
US Army Ranger
M Johnston / J Fanning
W P Mullins / M Harley
A P O'Brien / R Moore
£49,800
£14,912
£7,456

The Course

Ascot Racecourse Panorama
Edward Betts via Wikimedia Commons

The course is itself is often something that is overlooked in the lead up to Royal Ascot, but it is arguably one of the best in the world the first thing that really strikes you is the surroundings, with impressive grandstands and huge crowds for events such as Royal Ascot. 

The track is a long right hander, which on softer ground can be very tough for horses. In fact, the softer ground often sees a large number of horses withdrawn and even plenty that don’t make it all the way round. But, as Royal Ascot is run in June, the going is often good, good to firm. The added drainage system that Ascot includes means that any water is quickly dealt with and only severe downpours have a telling effect on the track, even in unpredictable British summer time. 

One thing that is noticeable at Ascot is the lack of importance with the draw. Many racecourses you see the draw play a huge roll in the betting and this was once the case at Ascot, but these days, due to the consistency of the ground, the draw actually plays only a very small role, even over the shorter races. Races are usually won from wherever the pace is, be it on the rails or through the middle. 

Statistics

In terms of the jockeys there have been a couple of names that have really stood out over the years. The main one has to the be that of Frankie Dettori, if only for his amazing 7 wins from 7 races in one day back in 1996. Whilst he was already a household name then, he really cemented himself as one of the best jockeys on the planet, a record that has since never been broken. 

In more recent years, the likes of Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes are two names that spring to mind, with Ryan Moore winning the Champion Jockey award in 2016 with 5 wins across the week to follow up an incredible 2015 where he won 9 races in total. But, it’s Fred Archer who still holds the record for most wins in a single meeting with 12, way back in 1878. 

In the trainer stakes, Saeed Bin Suroor is a name that now goes hand in hand with the meeting. His dominance alongside jockey Frankie Dettori in the Late 90’s and early 00’s was almost unprecedented and really put racing on the map for the Godolphin group. 

Other very notable mentions must go to the likes of Sir Michael Stoute, Aiden O’Brien and Richard Hannon Snr. all of whom have excelled at the Royal Ascot meeting. 

Track Records

The track record is a time recorded by the fastest horse over that time. Obviously with each race the distance in which the horses travel is different, so there isn’t one record so to speak. The records actually sit within each race, as this is the only way to have a constant distance for each record. 

It’s worth noting that the ground plays a huge part in how fast horses will run. Soft ground basically means that the likelihood of any long-standing records won’t be broken as it’s tougher for the horse to travel at speeds. Hard ground means less traction and so the horses can move quickly across the top of the surface, thus increasing speed and reducing times. Below are the 8 track records for each of the Group 1 races across Royal Ascot. 

Royal Ascot Group 1 Track Records

Race

Distance

Horse

Time

Year

Queen Anne Stakes

1m

Ramonti

1:37.21

2007

King’s Stand Stakes

5f

Miss Andretti

0:57.44

2007

St. James’s Palace Stakes

1m

Henrythenavigator

1:38.70

2008

Prince of Wales’s Stakes

1m 2f

The Fugue

2:01.90

2014

Gold Cup

2m 4f

Rite of Passage

4:16.92

2010

Coronation Stakes

1m

Ghanaati

1:38.32

2009

Commonwealth Cup

6f

Muhaarar

1:12.05

2015

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

6f

Choisir

1:12.23

2003

History

Portrait of Queen Anne
Queen Anne - Credit: National Portrait Gallery via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1711, Ascot Racecourse is not only one of the most prestigious race tracks in the UK, but also the world. The course was opened by Queen Anne and it was she that was a huge lover of horse racing and often attributed with the popularity of the sport within the Royal Family. 

The first race ever to be ran at Ascot was that of the Her Majesty’s Plate. The race had a prize pool of 100 Guineas, which is the equivalent to about £1.05 these days. The race was a brutal 4-miler and compromised of 3 separate heats. 

From 1711, the only races that were run at the racecourse were that of Royal Meetings, often last 4 days. It wasn’t until 1945 when the racecourse started to host other meetings and now sees several events held throughout the year in order to keep money coming into the course. In 196 they also ventured outside of flat racing for the first time, introducing both steeplechasing and hurdles to their set up. 

Since then the course has seen several major refurbishments, with one of the largest coming in 2004 headlining a £185million redevelopment of the course and major grandstands. As a result, the course was actually closed for 24 months before being officially reopened by Queen Elizabeth in 2006. But, the redevelopment actually came under fire stating that viewing platforms and facilities weren’t up to scratch, forcing a further £10million to be invested to bring them up to scratch. 

The oldest and probably most prestigious race of Royal Ascot is that of the Gold Cup, first run in 1834. The Group 1 race is widely regarded as the most prestigious horse race for stayers and is one that is viewed by millions around the world. Newer races have also fairly recently been introduced into the mix such as the Commonwealth Cup in 2015, the only Group 1 flat race that is exclusively targeted towards 3-year-olds. 

The Royal precession is one of the most anticipated parts of Royal Ascot, with members of the Royal Family parading up the home straight, past the grand stands to signify the start of the days racing. Over the years the event has been frequented by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Queen Mother and a host of other members of the Royal Family. 

The Queen

The Queen and Prince Philip in Royal Carriage

Queen Elizabeth II has been visiting Royal Ascot since she was a princess, back in 1947. Her love for horses and for racing has been one of the driving forces of Royal Ascot and as a result has been able to host a number of races and even seen a fair amount of success with her privately trained horses. 

One her most recent winners came in 2012 when her horse Estimate won the Queen’s Vase Trophy, presented to the Queen by her husband, Prince Phillip. Estimate also went on to win the Gold Cup in 2013, making it one of the most successfully Queen-trained horses at the festival. In total, the Queen has won 71 races since her reign as monarch began in 1952. 

Henry Cecil 

Henry Cecil and Lord Grimthorpe Talking to Jockeys
Credit: Harrybeckett, Wikimedia Commons

Henry Cecil is one of the most iconic names in British Horse racing. He’s won pretty much everything you can win on the flat circuit, including 8 Epsom Oaks, 6 1,000 Guineas, 3 2,000 Guineas, 4 Epsom Derby’s and 4 St Leger Stakes. As a result of his 25 domestic Classic winners he’s gone on to become Champion Trainer on 10 occasions. 

But, it was Cecil’s work at Royal Ascot that really elevated him above his peers. In a career spanning over 50 years he’s won no fewer than 75 Royal Ascot winners and is out on his own in this respect. He’s had many legendary horses in his time, but his biggest success has to come from the legend that is Frankel. 

Cecil himself described Frankel as the best horse he had ever seen, and rightly so, winning all 14 of his Group 1 races and never being beaten. At Royal Ascot Frankel was successful at the St James’s Palace Stakes, Champion Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Frankel is also the highest ever rated horse in the history of flat racing, with a rating of 147 from Timeform. 

Yeats

Dark Coloured Horse

The beauty of the Gold Cup is that you get to see the world’s best horses all running in the same race. It’s seen some amazing winners over the years, but few have been able to match the dominance that Aiden O’Brien’s trained horse, Yeats, has managed to achieve.

From 2006 to 2009, Yeats went on to win 4 consecutive Gold Cup’s, a feat that has never been seen before. O’Brien stated several times that the horse was the most talented that he had trained in his career, with jockeys such as Kieren Fallon, Michael Kinane and Johnny Murtagh, all getting the nod to ride the great horse. 

Dress Code

Top Hats

Royal Ascot has many idiosyncrasies, but one of the most iconic has to be that of the dress code. In the Royal Enclosure the women are required to wear dresses or skirts of a modest length. They must be wearing a hat or head piece of some sort, with rules that include straps of one inch or greater, trousers of matching material no higher than 1 inch above the ankle and strictly no strapless, off the shoulder or spaghetti straps. 

The men must wear a waistcoat and tie, with no cravats, a black or grey top hat and black shoes worn with socks. It’s also worth noting that any customisation of the top hat is strictly prohibited. 

Outside of the Royal Enclosure the women must still wear a hat at all times, with midriffs fully covered and shorts strictly prohibited. Men are required to wear a suit with matching jacket and trousers, along with a shirt and tie. 

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