It’s hard to think of a more glamorous sporting occasion anywhere in the world than Royal Ascot. Held this year from Tuesday 19 — Saturday 23 June 2018, Royal Ascot is steeped in tradition and prestige, as the season’s best flat horses battle it out in some of the world’s most time-honoured races. With five days of quality racing, including 20 Group Races and prize money worth £7.3 million in 2018, Royal Ascot is always one of the highlights on the British racing calendar.
The best way to experience the racing at Ascot is in the Royal Enclosure, but if you can’t get a ticket to get in there, the next best way to be part of it all is by checking out our pages here. We tell you all you need to know about the best Ascot betting apps and the best sports betting sites, as well as which racing apps have the most extensive form guides, tips and race replays.
As always at Royal Ascot, the trainer who most people will be backing is Aidan O’Brien, and he is currently odds-on favourite to be the top trainer in 2018. With 7 wins in each of the Ascot Gold Cup and the St. James’s Palace Stakes, and the holder of the world record for Group 1 winners trained in a calendar year in 2017, O’Brien will be bringing a string of fancies to Ascot and it’s hard to go past him.
Other trainers in the running to take the 2018 Royal Ascot title include ten-time Champion Trainer Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden and Richard Hannon, the British trainer who currently has the most horses in work.
As for the early betting for top jockey, Ryan Moore is the current odds-on favourite. He has been the leading jockey at Royal Ascot on six previous occasions (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017), Champion Jockey three times, and is currently Aidan O’Brien’s stable jockey. Together, they make a formidable combination.
The ever-popular Frankie Dettori will be looking to add to his 5 wins in the Ascot Gold Cup and 6 Queen Anne Stakes victories, while other riders who will attract interest in the betting include William Buick, Andrea Atzeni, and the Brazilian hoop Silvestre De Sousa, Champion Jockey in 2015 and 2017.
There are thirty races over the five days at Royal Ascot, with Group 1 races each day (8 in total).
With three Group 1 races, the first day of Royal Ascot is always a stand out, with the Queen Anne Stakes (1 mile) the feature race. The King’s Stand Stakes (5f) and St James’s Palace Stakes (1 mile) are also high quality renewals in which you can expect to see top drawer fields of British, European and international sprinters.
The Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m 2f) is the feature race on day two of Royal Ascot, which also includes the Royal Hunt Cup (1 mile). This is one of a group of historic races known as Heritage Handicaps that, due to their importance and longevity, carry higher purses than other comparable races and so always attract good quality fields.
The Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (2m 4f), held on the third day of Royal Ascot (also known as Ladies’ Day), is Britain’s premier staying race and was first run in 1807. Aidan O’Brien holds the record for Ascot Gold Cup wins with seven, the most recent being in 2016 with Order of St George, who is the ante-post favourite for this year’s renewal.
The Group 1 Coronation Stakes (1 mile) is the highlight of day 4 of Royal Ascot, and is a race for 3-year-old fillies which attracts horses from across the world. Another stand-out is the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup (6f), a race first introduced in 2015 for 3-year-old geldings that was won by Caravaggio in 2017.
The Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f) is one of the world’s premier sprint races and is the race in which Black Caviar carved her name into racing history in 2012. First run in 1868, it is open to horses aged 4 years old or above, and in 2018 the purse will be £600,000.
As well as the best British and European horses, Royal Ascot attracts the best sprinters from across the globe, and there are several very enticing prospects looming ahead of the 2018 meeting.
The entire racing world is waiting with bated breath to see if the Australian sprinting sensation Winx will follow in the footsteps of Black Caviar and travel to Royal Ascot in 2018. Currently unbeaten in her last 23 starts, Winx has an Australian record of 16 Group 1 wins to her credit. If Winx does make the trip, her trainer Chris Waller has indicated that the Queen Anne Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot is her likely target.
The winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile in the US, World Approval is another star who may potentially be making an appearance at Royal Ascot 2018. The American Champion Male Turf Horse in 2017, World Approval’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was against high quality opposition from around the world, and so the 6-year-old would undoubtedly attract great interest at Ascot.
Sired by the champion sprinter Frankel and trained by John Gosden, Cracksman had a hugely successful 2017 season, winning the Investec Derby Trial, Great Volitguer Stakes, Prix Niel and Champion Stakes at Ascot in October. Currently rated the third best horse in the world with a rating of 130, his likely target will be the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1m 2f).
Another of John Gosden’s charges, Enable is the fifth ranked horse in the world in the latest ratings at 128. Winner of a string of races in 2017 as a three-year-old filly, including the Epsom Oaks, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July, Enable is likely to come up against stablemate Cracksman in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot 2018.
If you’re new to betting on horse racing, it can be a little daunting at first, but when you understand the basic principles it is relatively straightforward — this doesn’t mean it’s easy to pick a winner though, just that it’s simple to get a bet on!
At the online sports books and betting apps that we recommend here, you’ll find that odds are given to you either in fraction or decimal form. These tell you how much you can win against how much you have to risk. For instance, if a horse has a price of 10-1, this means that if you place £1 on to win and it comes first, you will win £10, plus your £1 stake, so in total you will receive £11. The same odds expressed as a decimal would be 11.00, as your returned stake is included in the price.
When a horse is odds-on, it means that you have to risk more than you can win. For instance, a hot favourite might be quoted as 4-5. This means is you bet £5 and your horse comes in first you will win £4, plus your £5 stake back, making £9 in total. In decimal odds, this price would be quoted as 1.80.
In any race at Royal Ascot, you can back a horse to win, run a place i.e., to finish second or third (or occasionally fourth), or you can bet each-way, which means you are having a win bet and a place bet on the same horse. A £1 each-way bet will therefore cost you £2. When you back a horse each-way and it wins, you get paid out at the winning odds and the place odds (a quarter of the winning payout). If your each-way selection runs a place, you only get paid out on the place bet.
In addition to betting on a single horse, you can make multiple bets in the same race e.g., you can bet on who you think will finish first and second, or you can make accumulator bets across races i.e., you bet on different horses to win in at least 3 three races.
There are of course many more variations of multi-bets i.e., betting on more than one race as part of a single bet, but the general principles above should be enough for any beginner to be able to get started and come to grips with some of betting’s more arcane terminology!
With nominations and final acceptances some way off, the current ante-post markets nevertheless provide some useful pointers as to who to watch out for in the run up to the major races at Royal Ascot 2018.
With it still being uncertain as to whether or not she will make the trip, Winx is unsurprisingly the early ante-post favourite with a remarkably generous price of 7-4 on offer. The market on all other prospective runners will naturally shift significantly if Winx doesn’t come to Ascot, but currently you can get ante-post odds of 12-1 on Le Brivido, 16-1 on Beat the Bank, while World Approval is at this early stage a very generous 20-1.
With 4 wins in his last 5 starts, Battaash is currently ante-post favourite for the King’s Stand Stakes at 4-1, along with last year’s winner Lady Aurelia. Two Australian horses also feature in the early betting, with Redkirk Warrior at 8-1 and Redzel at 10-1.
The two John Gosden stablemates, Cracksman and Enable, are battling it out for early ante-post favouritism in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, at 9-2 and 5-1 respectively. Other early fancies include the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet’s Word, and 2017 Coronation Stakes and 1000 Guineas winner Winter, both at 7-1.
2016 winner Order of St George is the early ante-post favourite at 7-2 for the 2018 Ascot Gold Cup, with Aidan O’Brien’s 6-year-old coming off the back of a successful 2017 in which he won the Irish St Leger and the British Champions Long Distance Cup, along with a close second in the Gold Cup. As always, the early betting suggests it will be a very competitive race, with Capri at 6-1, while Stradivarius and Big Orange are both currently 7-1.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, US Navy Flag was the top-rated European two-year-old in 2017 and is the current ante-post favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at 6-1. Expert Eye, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is second favourite at 8-1, while you can get 12-1 on Sioux Nation, winner of four races in 2017 including the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Ascot.
Trained by Clive Cox for Godolphin, Harry Angel is the ante-post favourite for the 2018 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at odds of 4-1, after a successful season in 2017 that included wins in the July Cup and the Haydock Sprint Cup. The Australian raider Redkirk Warrior is second fancy at 6-1 (if connections opt for this race rather than the King’s Stand Stakes), while you can get 10-1 on Merchant Navy and 2017 Commonwealth Cup winner Caravaggio.