Abeginner’s guide to Royal Ascot

Picnics, pageantry, and the chance to make some serious money — no wonder so many people look forward to Royal Ascot. Peter Watton, from OddsMonkey, offers his advice for making bets as well as some insight into the historic event itself.
Royal Ascot is an annual event that takes place at Ascot Racecourse, less than 10 miles from Windsor Castle. It’s the crown jewel of the horseracing calendar and 300,000 people flock to attendthe five-day-long meeting per year. This islargely because it has the most Group 1 horse races in the UK, which is the highest level of thoroughbred stakes races.
In addition to top-class racing, the appeal of Royal Ascot is its fashion, fine dining, and pageantry. Think champagne afternoon teas, dress codes that require top hats, and the Queen of England arriving in a horse-drawn carriage, as per tradition.As such, Royal Ascot is attended by racing professionals, famous faces, and the British public, all of whom are hoping to win big.
I’ve put together this beginner’s guide to Royal Ascot, which starts on18 June this year. I’ve also included some betting tips so you can get in on the fun and hopefully win some money.
Day-by-day race guide
The Royal Ascot trophy highlights include the Royal Hunt Cup (a Heritage Handicap race), the Queens Vase (a Group 2 race), and Ascot’s oldest and most famous award, the Gold Cup (a Group 1 race).The five-day-long event features 18 group races,with six races and at least one Group 1 event per day. Here’s a rundown of the races taking place:
Tuesday 18 June
Three Group 1 races will take place on the first day of Royal Ascot: the Queen Anne, King’s Stand, and St James Palace Stakes that have prize funds from £500,000 to £600,000. Tuesday also includes the Coventry, Ascot, and Wolferton Rated Stakes.
Wednesday 19 June
This is a particularly popular day, with the Queen’s Vase, Royal Hunt Cup, and one Group 1 race — the Prince of Wales’ Stakeswith a prize fund of £750,00 — scheduled to take place. Wednesday will also include the Queen Mary, Duke of Cambridge, and Windsor Castle Stakes.
Thursday 20 June
Thursday is Ladies’ Day and the day of the Gold Cup, which is a prestigious Group 1 race with a prize fund of £500,000. It will also include the Norfolk, Hampton Court, Ribblesdale, Britannia, and King George V Stakes.
Friday 21 June
The Friday will see two Group 1 races: The Commonwealth and the Coronation Stakes, with prize funds of £500,000 each. It will also include the Albany, King Edward VII, Sandringham, and Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.
Saturday 22 June
The final day of Royal Ascot will feature one Group 1 race — the Diamond Jubilee Stakes — with a prize fund of £600,000. Saturday will also include the Chesham, Jersey, Hardwicke, Wokingham, and Queen Alexandra Stakes.
The gates will open at 10:30am every day, and the Queen will arrive promptly at 2:00pm. Races begin at 2:30pmwith the final race of the day starting at 5:30pm.
Placing your bets
There are three key aspects to betting on horses. The first is picking horses to bet on, and the second is deciding when to place your bet. The third is, of course, how much money to put down — but that depends entirely on your circumstances.
People usually choose their horses based on personal, arbitrary, or logical factors. Some people like to do it blind and pick randomly, as they believe luck is a matter of chance anyway. Others do their research, base their decisions on the bookies’ odds, or take advice from tipsters —these are expert analysers who consider things like a horse’s previous racing history. Then, there’s those who simply pick a horse based on its name or the colour of its jersey.
Once you’ve picked your horse, choosing when to bet is the next step. The declaration for Royal Ascotconfirms the line-up of who will be racing,and it is announced 48 hours before the meeting starts. You can place your bets before then if you prefer. Betting ante-post (before the declaration) usually means you’ll have better odds, but there’s always the chance that your horse will drop out of the running and you’ll lose your money.
After the declaration, the odds will change and you might not get as good a deal, but you’ll have a clearer picture of the participating horses. It’s up to you whether you want to bet before or after the declaration, but it’s a good idea to assess how certain you are that your chosen horse will be in the running when making your decision.
With the tips in this guide, you can get the most out of this year’s Royal Ascot, as well as make informed decisions about who to bet on. Have fun!