The Royal Ascot Festival

Royal Ascot LogoThere might be single races that attract more attention on a particular day, but there is nothing quite like the Royal Ascot Festival as a five-day horse racing event. Held in June each year at the historic Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England, the festival hosts an impressive number of stakes races in a condensed amount of time. There is excellent variety in terms of the distances being raced and the ages and genders of the competitors.

In addition, there is no sporting event in all of Great Britain that draws such a host of luminaries as the Royal Ascot Festival. The event is closely associated with the Royal Family, who make appearances throughout the festival. You can also see fashions unlike any other, as those who attend the races must adhere to a strict, formal dress code.

When it comes to the racing, many of the top stars, on not just the British racing circuit but also from the international sphere, will make appearances at Royal Ascot to contend for the big purses. The gamblers, or “punters,” as they are sometimes known in England, also love the event for the vast array of Royal Ascot Festival betting opportunities. You can take part in betting even if you can’t make it to Great Britain by taking advantage of the numerous horse racing betting sites with Royal Ascot Festival odds.

The Setting for the Royal Ascot Festival

Ascot Racecourse has been in existence since 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. That royal connection stayed with the track through all its history, in large part because it sits only six miles away from Windsor. The appearance of the track having the royal stamp of approval has kept it thriving even while other tracks have come and gone in the three centuries since it was formed.

Ascot Racecourse

To this day, the Royal Enclosure is where the stars come to mix with royalty and watch the races. Those races come all through the year at Ascot, with the Royal Ascot Festival being only part of the activities. In recent years, a year-end event called Champions’ Day takes place at the track that rivals the end-of-year championships held in other countries, such as The Breeders’ Cup in America.

Origins of the Royal Ascot Festival

The festival came into vogue right along with the beginning of the track. Over the years, races have come and gone from the schedule for it to reach the point where it is today. Since its beginning, the Royal Ascot Festival has been an important point on the calendar for the elite members of British society.

Still, the working class definitely has a place at the festival. After all, an 1813 Act of Parliament ensured that the course would always be a public one. That ensured that the average person who was Royal Ascot Festival betting would have just as much of an impact at the festival as the royals.

Royal Ascot Festival Traditions

As stated above, the Royal Family, which holds the monarchy in Great Britain, makes their presence known at the festival. Every afternoon during the festival, right before the beginning of racing, a carriage pulled by Windsor grey horses brings members of the Royal Family to the proceedings while the spectators watch. They then take their place in the Royal Enclosure at which point the call to post for the first race is soon to come.

The atmosphere for the five days of the festival is always pulsing with excitement and fun. Typical of this is the tradition of crowd singalongs at the end of the day around the bandstand. In this respect, the Royal Ascot Festival is as much a party as it is a sporting event.

Yet this party has a strict dress code. The Royal Enclosure, which you can enter by invitation only, requires a black or gray morning coat and a top hat for men, while ladies must wear a proper dress and a hat without a fascinator. While the other areas of the track aren’t quite so forbidding, you generally have to be dressed smartly to attend and enjoy the Royal Ascot Festival. Luckily, there are no such restrictions if you’re Royal Ascot Festival betting at home over the internet.

Racing at the Royal Ascot Festival

Up to this point, we’ve talked about all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Royal Ascot Festival, but the main attraction is the thoroughbred action. There are six races held each day (Tuesday through Saturday), and most of them are the stuff of main events.

Of the 30 races held on the five days, 18 are Group events, which puts them among the top races in the world. Even higher than that distinction is Group One, these races truly pit the cream of the crop against one another. Each of the five days of racing features at least one Group One event with eight in total taking place over the course of the festival.

Here is a look at how the schedule usually shakes out, with purses in British pounds and based on the most recent running of the event in question.

Day Race Age Distance Purse
Tuesday The Queen Anne Stakes 4 Years + 1 Mile $647,500
Tuesday The King’s Stand Stakes 3 Years + 5 Furlongs $538,750
Wednesday The Prince of Wales’s Stakes 4 Years + 1 1/4 Miles $750,000
Thursday The Gold Cup 4 Years + 2 1/2 Miles $500,000
Friday Commonwealth Cup 3 Years + 6 Furlongs $500,000
Friday The Coronation Stakes 3 Years 1 Mile $538,750
Saturday The Diamond Jubilee Stakes 4 Years + 6 Furlongs $600,000

Incredibly, seven of these eight races have been in existence in some form or another at Ascot since the 19th century. Only the Commonwealth Cup is a relatively new affair. Here are some of the details behind each race.

The Queen Anne Stakes

This race was established in 1840 to celebrate the lady who made racing at Ascot possible in the first place. It’s a showcase for the older “milers,” who specialize in that distance that’s not quite a sprint and not quite a distance race.

In recent years, this race has featured some of the most notable winners in the Royal Ascot festival. Three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile champion Goldikova won the Queen Anne in 2010, while Frankel, who retired unbeaten, handled the field in 2012. In 2016, the American-trained mare, Tepin, starred as part of back-to-back years when she was named her country’s top female turf horse.

The King’s Stand Stakes

1860 was the first running of this all-out sprint. The distance came about when rains made most of the course untenable back in that first edition. As a result, only a five-furlong section of the course stayed dry enough to be handled by the competitors.

Because the race is eligible to any horse older than three years old, repeat winners are a possibility. In the recent past, a pair of horses managed that feat. Equiano won the race in both 2008 and 2010, while Sole Power conquered the field in back-to-back editions in 2013 and 2014.

The St. James’s Palace Stakes

One of the things that make the St. James’s Palace stand out is the fact that it’s restricted to only three-year-olds. As a result, many of the horses that compete in their country’s version of the 2000 Guineas Stakes make the trek to Ascot to compete in this one.

The superstar Frankel also won this race in 2011. Some all-time British milers, like Tudor Minstrel (1947) and Brigadier Gerard (1971) were victorious in the St. James’s Palace. In 2000, Giant’s Causeway won as part of a streak of five straight Group One victories; a streak finally stopped when he just missed in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing second.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes

This race went through an elongated period on hiatus. It was discontinued in World War II and didn’t come back to the schedule until 1968. The Prince of Wales in question was the future Edward VII since he held the title when the race was created in 1862.

Recent two-time winners of this event include Mtoto in 1987 and 1988 and Muhtarram in 1994 and 1995. Perhaps the biggest star to make her way to the Prince of Wales winner’s circle in recent years was Ouija Board. The mare also won the Epsom Oaks, which is the distaff equivalent of the Epsom Derby, as well as two Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Turf championships.

The Gold Cup

Yes, as you might have guessed from the name, the winning connections do indeed walk away with an actual gold trophy for their efforts. As the 2 ½ mile distance suggests, there is a lot of effort involved by the horses who compete. The punters call the horses who manage the long distances “stayers.”

No stayer has ever been as brilliant in the Gold Cup as Yeats, who won this race four years in a row from 2006 to 2009. The Gold Cup is also part of the Stayers Triple Crown. The other races included are the Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup, and the last horse to win all three races was Double Trigger in 1995.

The Commonwealth Cup

This race is the newest Group One event added to the Royal Ascot Festival. In previous years, three-year-olds were eligible for the Diamond Jubilee, also a part of Royal Ascot. Once that race was restricted to four-year-olds and older, a new race for three-year-old sprinters was needed.

The inaugural winner of the Commonwealth Cup was Muhaarar, ridden to victory by Dane O’Neill. In 2017, Caravaggio gave the race its first superstar. His win in the Cup marked his sixth straight to start his career.

The Coronation Stakes

It’s a surprise that this event isn’t held on Ladies’ Day at the Royal Ascot Festival (which is Thursday). After all, it’s the only one of the Group One events which are restricted to female horses. In any event, it has been a major attraction at the festival since its first running in 1840, two years after the coronation of Queen Victoria.

Many of the competitors in this race are horses who have been in the mix in other mile-long races for distaff horses. You’ll see horses who have raced in the 1,000 Guineas in Britain, France, or Ireland competing here. You’ll also see some fillies who were formerly sprinters trying to stretch out into longer distances.

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes

The last of the Group One events at the Royal Ascot festival is this sprint showcase that has gone through quite a few names in its history. At different points, it was named the All-Aged Stakes and The Cork and Ornery. For a while, it was the Golden Jubilee, before it became The Diamond Jubilee in 2012 in honor of that year’s celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

In 2015, three-year-olds were no longer allowed but instead were given the opportunity to participate in the Commonwealth Cup. The Diamond Jubilee is also part of the Global Sprint Challenge. It’s a series of events that are designed to produce the top sprinter in Europe.

Betting on the 2021 Royal Ascot Festival

Maybe, one day, you’ll get to sit in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. More than likely, you’ll have to settle for watching it all on television. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll get shut out of the betting, as this primer on betting on the festival explains:

Choosing Royal Ascot Festival Betting Sites

The races included in the Royal Ascot are among the most prestigious and historic in all of the sport, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding Royal Ascot Festival online betting sites that can take your wagers. Choosing the right one is another matter entirely.

Horse Racing CTA

You get off to a good start by clicking the link above to get taken to our page on the best horse racing betting sites. It’s a good idea to look for sites that are established, particularly in the realm of horse racing betting. And you’ll want to know what kinds of bonuses the site is handing out for both first-time players and loyal customers.

Beyond that, you should really take as much of a hands-on approach to choosing the sites as you can. In other words, visit the sites and see if they are easy for you to navigate. Otherwise, you could have the experience of not being able to submit bets or even losing money that is rightfully yours.

Deciding Which Types of Royal Ascot Bets to Make

This decision will come down to much how money you want to make and how much you’re willing to risk. If you want to make a straight bet, which is dependent on a single horse finishing high in the order of finish (either winning or making the top three), you’ll generally need to wager a lot to make a lot.

By comparison, an exotic or accumulator bet, which requires multiple horses to come in a certain order over a single race or multiple races, can make you a lot of money with only a small wager.

This is because straight bets are generally easier to win. But that doesn’t mean that a straight bet can’t be lucrative, especially if you’re dealing with a long shot. Here is a look at the different types of bets so you can get a more in-depth feel for the particulars of each one.

Coming up With a Strategy for Picking Winners

Most people develop their horse racing handicapping strategy over time as well as trial and error. But even if are new to real money Royal Ascot Festival betting, you can still find ways to succeed with your picks. Just find some outlet that provides the past performances of the competitors in each race (like a racing form or an internet site) to get started.

From there, you can start to look at important factors. Some of these include the class that each horse has occupied in past races; their jockeys, trainers, and success rates; and the pedigree. Putting all of these together is the best way to pick winners, although it’s far from an exact science, especially with the competitive races that make up the Royal Ascot Festival.