Royal Ascot Betting Tips – 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd & 23rd June 2018

Ascot Racecourse Parade Ring

Image: RomanM82, Wikimedia Commons

It’s easy to get carried away when you visit Royal Ascot. This is the premier flat racing meeting in the world where the food and drink is plentiful, the worlds of fashion and high society combine and each of the five days provides punters with six world class races to get their teeth stuck into.

You don’t have to visit Royal Ascot to get involved in all the excitement it provides. People thousands of miles away from the Berkshire course will follow along with the action and try to make the most of the betting opportunities Royal Ascot provides.

Day One Key Races: Tuesday 19th June 2018

Time Race Distance Tip
2:30 Queen Anne Stakes 1m Benbatl to Win at 6/1 (Coral)
3:40 King’s Stand Stakes 5f Kachy Each Way at 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
4:20 St James’s Palace Stakes 1m Gustav Klimt to Win at 9/1 (Coral)

The organisers at Royal Ascot don’t believe in warm ups. The Queen Anne Stakes gets the meeting underway but it is only the first of three Group 1 races taking place on Tuesday.

Queen Anne Stakes

2:30, Group 1, 1 Mile

The Queen Anne Stakes is arguably the best mile long race at Royal Ascot. It is open to horses aged four and older but there hasn’t been a winner aged older than five since 1976. More often than not, the winner of the Queen Anne Stakes fared well in the previous year’s 2,000 Guineas but it is the runner up in the 2017 1,000 Guineas, Rhododendron, who is the bookies’ favourite.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly is worthy of support due to her Lockinge Stakes win at Newbury but the value could well sit with Benbatl at 11/2 with Coral. The Godolphin owned colt won the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and claimed his first Group 1 in the Dubai Turf at the end of March.

Benbatl returns to British shores a better horse than when he left for Dubai and can continue improving by claiming the Queen Anne Stakes.

Benbatl to Win at 11/2 with Coral

King’s Stand Stakes

3:40, Group 1, 5 Furlongs

Blink and you’ll miss this one. The King’s Stand Stakes is the fastest race at Royal Ascot, pitting together some of the very best sprinters around. Younger horses don’t have a great record in this race as it comes a little early in the season but Lady Aurelia bucked that trend impressively last year.

Along with Battaash, Lady Aurelia is the bookies’ favourite but it may pay to take a bit of a risk and back Kachy each-way at 10/1 with Ladbrokes. Tom Dascombe’s five-year-old may lack the class of the favourites but he has already won this season and has previous good form at Royal Ascot. Kachy certainly has what it takes to claim a place at a tempting price.

Kachy Each Way at 10/1 with Ladbrokes

St James’s Palace Stakes

4:20, Group 1, 1 Mile

Tuesday’s third Group 1 is another mile long contest but this one is open only for members of the Classic generation. The exquisitely bred Without Parole is the favourite across the board with the bookies but he would be just the third winner in 20 years not to contest the Guineas. Indeed it is Guineas form that functions as the clearest indicator of success in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Gustav Klimt disappointed in both the British and Irish 2,000 Guineas but eight horses have recovered from Guineas disappointment to win the St James’s Palace Stakes. You often have to give three-year-olds time to really hit their stride and if that’s the case for Gustav Klimt he could well prove too good for the competition at 9/1 with Coral.

Gustav Klimt to Win at 9/1 with Coral

Day Two Key Races: Wednesday 20th June 2018

Time Race Distance Tip
3:40 Duke of Cambridge Stakes 1m Tomyris to Win at 6/1 (BetVictor)
4:20 Prince of Wales’s Stakes 1 m 2f Cracksman to Win at 8/11 (Betfred)

Wednesday is the day with the most international feel at Royal Ascot. It’s the day on which horses from Australia, Japan and America try to take major honours back home with them but, as ever, there is also a very strong British and Irish presence for some excellent races.

Duke of Cambridge Stakes

3:40, Group 2, 1 Mile

The Duke of Cambridge Stakes is run over a straight mile and is open to fillies and mares aged four and older. It is one of the newest additions to Royal Ascot but it’s already proven to be a race capable of throwing up some surprises.

Horses with a Group 1 penalty and those who are making their seasonal reappearance have a very poor record in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. There are some quality horses at the head of the market but it’s Tomyris who catches the eye at 6/1 with BetVictor. Roger Varian has had some big Royal Ascot successes before and Tomyris’s win when getting back to work at Lingfield last month suggests he may secure another healthy prize.

Tomyris to Win at 6/1 with BetVictor

Prince of Wales’s Stakes

4:20, Group 1, 1 Mile 2 Furlongs

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the last time that the best older middle distance horses have a chance to compete against each other before they begin to do battle with the year’s three-year-olds. It’s Wednesday’s only Group 1 and there is a very strong field set to compete for the richest prize of the week over one and a quarter miles.

Last year it was Cracksman who threw his weight around and upset the older horses as a three-year-old. John Gosden will be relishing the chance to see his colt go up against the current Classic generation very soon but for now he’ll be happy for Cracksman to continue his dominance over the older horses. Unbeaten in five starts, Cracksman looks as good as ever and is a very worthy favourite at 8/11 with Betfred.

Cracksman to Win at 8/11 with Betfred

Day 3 Key Races: Thursday 21 June 2018

Time Race Distance Tip
3:40 Ribblesdale Stakes 1m 4f Magic Wand to Win at 7/1 (Coral)
4:20 Ascot Gold Cup 2m 4f Stradivarius to Win at 5/2 (Ladbrokes)

The pick of Thursday’s action comes with the Ascot Gold Cup. The absence of Big Orange is a blow but a strong cast of stayers have taken up their entries and another great head to head is in the offing between Order Of St George and Stradivarius. Meanwhile, middle distance three-year-old fillies renew hostilities in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Ribblesdale Stakes

3:40, Group 2, 1 Mile 4 Furlongs

The Ribblesdale Stakes often draws comparisons with the Oaks and number one and the top three at Epsom all have entries for Thursday’s middle distance race. Sun Maiden and Wild Illusion cannot be separated at the head of the market but the bookies’ favourites have only a modest record in the Ribblesdale so look further down the market.

Magic Wand fits many of the key trends for the Ribblesdale. She only raced once as a juvenile, she won at Chester before finishing fourth in the Oaks and has won over just half a furlong less than the Ribblesdale trip. At 7/1 with Coral, Magic Wand could serve it up to the favourites,

Magic Wand to Win at 7/1 with Coral

Ascot Gold Cup

4:20, Group 1, 2 Miles 4 Furlongs

The Ascot Gold Cup is among the most eagerly anticipated races at Royal Ascot. This Group 1 is run over a stamina sapping two miles, four furlongs and yet recent renewals have provided some incredible drama in the closing stages.

Order Of St George was involved in two almighty battles with Big Orange in the last two years, winning one and beating pipped in the other. There will be no renewal of that rivalry this year due to Big Orange’s injury but Stradivarius is ready to step and provide Order Of St George with another stiff challenge.

John Gosden’s four-year-old showed what he is capable of with a three length win in the Yorkshire Cup back in May. Gosden has admitted that he’ll only know if Stradivarius can make the step up in trip during the race but he’s taken every challenge in his stride so far and the younger horse looks a great bet at 5/2 with Ladbrokes.

Stradivarius to Win at 5/2 with Ladbrokes

Day 4 Key Races: Friday 22nd June 2018

Time Race Distance Tip
3:40 Commonwealth Cup 6f Sioux Nation to Win at 5/1 (Ladbrokes)
4:20 Coronation Stakes 1m Clemmie to Win at 4/1 (Betfair)

Friday at Royal Ascot sees three-year-old sprinters have a chance to compete against each other in the Commonwealth Cup before going up against older competition. The Coronation Stakes is also a huge race as many of the best three-year-old fillies over a mile are targeted specifically at the Group 1.

Commonwealth Cup

3:40, Group 1, 6 Furlongs

This is just the fourth renewal of the Commonwealth Cup which was introduced to give three-year-old sprinters a chance to compete for a big prize without having to take on their elders at this relatively early stage in the flat racing season. The favourite has won the last two renewals but we have a two way fight for favouritism this time in Equilateral and Sioux Nation.

It could well be worth following U S Navy Flag if he is dropped down in trip and given a run in the Commonwealth Cup but Sioux Nation is surely a safer bet. This son of Scat Daddy won at Royal Ascot last year in the Norfolk Stakes and then won in Group 1 company at the Curragh in August.

Sioux Nation heads to Ascot after once again displaying is incredible turn of pace at Naas last time out and the Aidan O’Brien horse could prove to be a class apart at 5/1 with Ladbrokes,

Sioux Nation to Win at 5/1 with Ladbrokes

Coronation Stakes

4:20, Group 1, 1 Mile

Aidan O’Brien won the 2017 Coronation Stakes with the bookies’ favourite and there is every chance that he’ll repeat the trick one year on. Clemmie is nowhere near as strong at the head of the market as Winter was but that should just mean a bigger win at 4/1 with Betfair.

Injury robbed Clemmie of the chance to compete in the 1,000 Guineas but O’Brien wasn’t too upset. He knows that there are plenty of big prizes still to come. He’ll also not be concerned by Clemmie’s ninth place finish at the Curragh at the end of May. O’Brien horses almost always need one run under their belts before producing their best and if Clemmie has her best at Royal Ascot she should prove too strong for the competition.

Clemmie to Win at 4/1 with Betfair

Day 5 Key Races: Saturday 23rd June 2018

Time Race Distance Tip
3:05 Hardwicke Stakes 1 m 4f Defoe Each Way at 10/1 (Betfair)
4:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes 6f Harry Angel to Win at 3/1 (Betfair)

It’s the final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday but the meeting always goes out on a high. The two feature races are the Hardwicke Stakes and the

Hardwicke Stakes

3:05, Group 2, 1 Mile 4 Furlongs

The Hardwicke Stakes has been the real launch pad for middle distance horses to kick on despite the fact that it is open to four-year-olds and older. Recent winners have tended to compete in either the Derby or the St Leger but they’ve not necessarily shown their best form in those two Classics.

Defoe certainly didn’t have the best time of it when finishing second to last in the St Leger last year but Roger Varian has managed to get some significant improvement out of the colt as a four-year-old. He claimed back to back successes to kick off his season and before finishing at the Curragh. Whether he has the class of the principle contenders remains to be seen but an each way bet on Defoe is in order at 10/1 with Betfair.

Defoe Each Way at 10/1 with Betfair

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

4:20, Group 1, 6 Furlongs

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the big six furlong sprint for older horses. It’s not uncommon to see some of the international brigade take this challenge on after competing in the King’s Stand Stakes earlier in the week but the tip for this year’s renewal, Harry Angel, has been targeted specifically at the Diamond Jubilee.

Harry Angel has a curious record coming into Royal Ascot. He has won every single race that he’s contested away from Ascot but never won at the Berkshire track. There are some horses who just don’t suit Ascot but that doesn’t look to be the case with Clive Cox’s four-year-old. You can pretty much make excuses for each of those defeats and he is the class option in this field so expect Harry Angel to break his Ascot hoodoo at 3/1 with Betfair.

Harry Angel to Win at 3/1 with Betfair

About the Meeting

Held every June at Ascot Racecourse, Royal Ascot is the number one Flat racing festival anywhere on the planet. Each year the best horses, jockeys and trainers from Britain, Ireland, Europe and even farther afield flock to the Berkshire course for five days of top class and highly lucrative horse racing action.

Each of the thousands of fans who come through the gates every day have their own reasons for attending Royal Ascot. For some it’s the chance to enjoy themselves in the sunshine with their friends, some are attracted by the style, the pomp and the pageantry of Royal Ascot whilst for others it’s a pilgrimage that simply must be completed. Whatever they’re there for, every single fan is guaranteed some world class racing to savour and several opportunities to beat the bookies.

Main Races

There is so much top quality racing at Royal Ascot that it can be a little overwhelming for unseasoned punters. Some races stand out above the rest though so here is the list of the meeting’s very biggest races for those looking only to get involved in the pick of the action.

Queen Anne Stakes

The organisers of these sort of big meeting like to get things going with a bang. Royal Ascot’s bang is provided by the Queen Anne Stakes which is the top target for milers aged four and older. The easiest way to tell the class of this race is by looking at the horses who turn up every year and go on to win this Group 1, mile long race.

Four-year-olds of this class often have room for improvement left in them so whilst previous impressive form is a prerequisite, many recent winners could be considered late bloomers. That said, the majority of Queen Anne Stakes winners since it became a Group 1 in 2003 had already had success at that level. Specifically, running well in a Guineas and/or at the previous year’s Royal Ascot are strong indicators of success.

2018 winner, Accidental Agent, provided the biggest shock of all time in the Queen Anne Stakes. He was largely ignored at 33/1 but a couple of shrewdies commented that his performance in the Lockinge Stakes – a key race in the lead up to the Queen Anne – was impressive. It remains to be seen whether improving horses will have more of a say in years to come or if the tried and tested options at the head of the market will reassert their dominance.

King’s Stand Stakes

The King’s Stand Stakes is about one thing and one thing only – speed. This Group 1 is one of the highlights of the opening day of Royal Ascot and sees the fastest horses aged three-year-old and upwards sprint to the line from 5 furlongs out. It’s a real blink and you’ll miss it affair over the minimum distance which rarely lasts longer than a minute.

Although three-year-olds regularly contend, it’s rare for one of the youngest horses to win. At that age sprinters tend to still be developing so it takes a very special horse (like 2017 winner, Lady Aurelia) to hack the pace at three. From a betting perspective, favourites have a pretty poor record and it isn’t rare to see a winner go off at double figure odds.

The international aspect of Royal Ascot has been very much in evidence in the King’s Stand Stakes. Recent years have seen winners from Australia, Hong Kong and the USA as well as European and Irish victors. That makes it tough for punters to properly assess the form but the key British races to pay an interest to include the Temple Stakes at Haydock and the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket.

St James’s Palace Stakes

Royal Ascot doesn’t host any of the Classics but it always plays host to most the leading contenders from those races. The St James’s Palace Stakes is a good example of this as many of the leading runners from both the British and Irish 2,000 Guineas face off over 1 mile. As that suggests, this Group 1 is open only to three-year-old colts.

The 2018 winner, Without Parole didn’t contend either Guineas races but eight of the 10 winners before him won at either of those, whilst 2017 winner, Barney Roy, finished second at Newmarket. Moreover, Guineas winners finish inside the top three with great regularity.

The strength of the field that always contends the St James’s Palace Stakes means that winners can come from fairly low down in the betting but that is the exception rather than the rule. Favourite backers have only been obliged infrequently in recent years but more often than not the market has it right with the top three in the betting providing most recent winners.

Prince of Wales’s Stakes

The prize fund for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes has swelled significantly to the point it reached £750,000 for the 2018 renewal. That tells you a lot about the importance of this race for older horses. Four-year-olds and older are eligible for this Group 1 which is run over a distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs and has resonance far beyond Berkshire.

The way that the Flat racing season is scheduled in Britain means that the best Irish and French horses tend to have had an earlier crack at a Group 1 over a mile and a quarter than their British-trained counterparts. That is one reason why the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is held in such high regard in European racing.

There is plenty to consider when looking for a Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner. Most recent champions already had Group 1 success under their belts so whilst there are important warm up races at Group 2 and 3 level, making the step up is no mean feat. Stepping up in terms of the trip is not such a worry, whilst history shows us that it takes a very special horse aged six or older to win.

Ascot Gold Cup

The range of different races held over the five days is one of the key strengths of Royal Ascot and there really is something for everyone in an equine sense, as well as off the track. Race goers are treated to everything from 5 furlong sprints to the Ascot Gold Cup which stretches out to 2 miles 4 furlongs. This Group 1 is the number one target for every trainer with a high class stayer and also one of the most popular races among horse racing fans as it produces drama year on year.

Perhaps as a by-product of the regular close finishes, the Ascot Gold Cup is a race that produces heroes. Big Orange, Order Of St George, Yeats, Royal Rebel, Kayf Tara, Drum Taps; the names of previous Gold Cup winners include some bona fide Ascot legends. The lack of elite level staying races means that the leading contenders tend to have faced each other a couple of times before which only adds to the narrative in the lead up.

As so much is known about the best stayers, the winner of the Ascot Gold Cup tends to come from the top three or four places in the betting. Younger winners are increasingly common which, in turn, means that several recent winners were scoring at the 2m4f trip for the first time, although a lack of winning form over 2 miles should be a cause for concern.

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes doesn’t quite bring the curtain down on Royal Ascot but it is the final Group 1 of the meeting. This 6 furlong sprint was first run all the way back in 1869 but it’s undergone a serious change in recent years. After the introduction of the Commonwealth Cup – a sprint for three-year-olds only – the Diamond Jubilee Stakes became a race of four-year-olds and above.

There are a few sprints for connections to choose between at Royal Ascot but it usually comes down to a choice between this or the King’s Stand Stakes. The uncertainty in terms of the field, the number of high class performers over shorter trips and the unpredictable nature of sprinting means that there is always some very good value in the ante post betting for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. In terms of starting prices, double figure winners are almost the norm, whilst favourites have a poor strike rate.

The obvious exception to the rule of favourites struggling was Black Caviar, who survived a terrible jockey error to win at 1/6 in 2012. The superstar Australian mare is just one of several international raiders to have won the Diamond Jubilee. At six she was older than most winners since it became a Group 1 in 2002, whilst some UK and Irish winners had also contested big international races such as the Caulfield Cup.

Other Races

Royal Ascot is about much more than the biggest races on the card, although it doesn’t always seem that way given the huge number of those. There is an incredible selection of races to enjoy ranging from Group 1s to handicaps, sprints to 2m4f tests of stamina and from juvenile contests to those for the older contingent. Whatever floats your boat in the world of Flat racing, punters are sure to find top class entertainment from the other big races below.

Coventry Stakes

The Coventry Stakes provides racing fans with a glimpse into the future. It’s the first real chance for the most promising two-year-olds in training to face off against each other and many winners have gone on to have incredibly successful careers.

Just one previous run has been enough for most recent winners of this 6 furlong, Group 2 contest. That, obviously, is not a great amount of recent form to go on but the amount of information in terms of breeding and performances at home is usually enough for the bookies to call the Coventry Stakes well as winners tend to come from the top two in the market.

Duke of Cambridge Stakes

The Duke of Cambridge Stakes is a Group 2 race for fillies and mares held over a straight mile. Four is the minimum age for entrants and it’s the younger cohort who have had the better of things since the race was introduced relatively recently, in 2004.

There have been winners aged five and six but each of them was a top class mare. In fact, it is vital to back horses who have already claimed a Group level race with most winners achieving that feat over a mile. The other thing to keep an eye on is the Group 1 penalty that applies to winners at the top level after August 31 of the year before.

Queen Mary Stakes

The Queen Mary Stakes is a chance for two-year-old fillies to claim a Group 2 win early on in their career. It’s run over the minimum distance of 5 furlongs but the stiff pace set by these keen fillies often means that many of those who go off early find that their race is run before the kick for home.

Obviously, a certain amount of pace is needed to win the Queen Mary but it’s no coincidence that most winners since it was introduced in 1978 had at least a degree of stamina in their breeding. The winners list also paints a picture of the international nature of this race with the American trainer and sprint king Wesley Ward, having a particularly impressive record.

Norfolk Stakes

Day three at Royal Ascot begins with the Norfolk Stakes, another high class contest for juveniles. Like the Queen Mary Stakes, this is also run over 5 furlongs but is open to both fillies and colts. Although some winners have kicked on to have success at the very top level, for whatever reason, the Norfolk Stakes does have a habit of producing winners who fade into obscurity.

Whatever the future holds for the winner, more often than not they’ve already done enough to come to the attention of the bookies as longer odds victors are far from the norm. Don’t worry about a lack of experience as one win (and sometimes just one performance) has been enough for many.

Ribblesdale Stakes

The Oaks is the obvious race to look at when assessing the chances of the contenders in the Ribblesdale Stakes. Open to fillies from the Classic generation and run over 1 mile 4 furlongs the Ribblesdale is arguably a more interesting race because it is a Group 2 rather than a Group 1.

There are bigger targets for the best three-year-old fillies so the Ribblesdale offers a shot at redemption for those who failed at the top level and a chance for those who are still improving to show how good they are. One thing to note from recent winners is the impressive record of Irish-trained horses.

King Edward VII Stakes

Many of the races at Royal Ascot have parallels with the Classics but few are as close to each other as the King Edward VII Stakes and the Derby. This Group 2 is still known as the Ascot Derby and, like its more famous equivalent at Epsom, is run over 1 mile 4 furlongs. There are only three weeks between the two races but that doesn’t stop many of the leading contenders from Epsom having a crack at the King Edward.

Even with such a good amount of recent form to go on this is not typically a great race for punters as favourites have a poor record. The number of winners who came from handicaps rather than going down the Derby or established trial routes makes the King Edward even trickier to predict.

Commonwealth Cup

As alluded to earlier, the Commonwealth Cup was only introduced into the Royal Ascot schedule in 2015 as part of a shake up of the European sprinting division. The idea was to give three-year-olds the chance to contest a Group 1 against each other rather than being thrown into the pool against their elders at this early stage of their career. It’s fair to say that connections of the leading young sprinters have enjoyed the changes as some truly top class sprinters have claimed this race.

It will be a while before punters have enough data to form a proper opinion on the trends. The picture has been further muddied by a mixture of winners at odds-on and double figures odds against.

Coronation Stakes

Just like the St James’s Palace Stakes, punters take a long hard look at the Guineas form when picking their bets for the Coronation Stakes. This is the main target for trainers of three-year-old fillies at Royal Ascot and, fittingly, has been won by some of the very best milers in the history in racing.

This Group 1, 1 mile contest is far too good for horses to win having shown little previous form at the top level. As well as the various 1000 Guineas races it’s well worth taking a look at the juvenile form of the leading contenders in the betting.

Hardwicke Stakes

Connections of the very best horses often have a tough decision to make with their biggest stars. Do they keep them in training or retire them to stud? That is not a worry shared by winning connections of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes.

This 1 mile 4 furlong contest may be open to four-year-olds and older but it is viewed as a springboard for future success. It’s a vitally important race for late bloomers who find their best stuff once they’ve fully matured. Therefore, many winners had failed in the biggest three-year-old races, whilst the view that it is a shot at redemption is borne out by the number of four-year-old winners recently.

Wokingham Stakes

Handicaps play an important part in the make up of Royal Ascot and the Wokingham Stakes is one of the best of the lot. It’s tough to imagine that so much can happen over just 6 furlongs but the 30 odd horses that take part in the Wokingham mean it is a very tactical race, even if it has the appearance of a cavalry charge!

Many punters will pay close attention to the draw but it’s far from the deciding factor in this race. Rather, it pays to focus on horses carrying between 8st 12lb to 9st 3lb and who are aged either four or five, with strong trends a great help in narrowing the market down at least a little.

History

The history of Royal Ascot begins with Queen Anne in 1711. Legend has it that she spotted a patch of land in the Ascot area that was perfect for “horses to gallop at full stretch” and the first race, Her Majesty’s Plate, was run soon after. The racing has changed significantly from that first contest – back then it involved three separate heats of four miles each! – but the popularity of racing at Ascot has remained constant.

The foundations of the meeting that we now know as Royal Ascot were laid in 1807 with the inaugural running of the Ascot Gold Cup. That was also the year that the course really started to take shape as an arena befitting the standard of racing on show, although it wasn’t until 1813 that an act was passed in Parliament to ensure the public would be able to watch racing at Ascot for years to come.

Racing has continued to evolve and grow at Royal Ascot and the facilities at the course have improved alongside that growth. The meeting is one of the richest and best-attended in Europe, attracting real stars both on and off the track.

Whilst the crowd is increasingly egalitarian, Royal Ascot remains a key event within the British social calendar and you can expect to hear plenty of champagne corks popping over the five days. The pageantry of the British royal family remains an important part of Royal Ascot too and the Queen is still a regular visitor to the festival.