The Royal Ascot is a series of races held over five days annually during the month of June at England's Ascot Racecourse. The official name of the event is 'The Royal Meeting' but it has come to be commonly known as the Royal Ascot. There are thirty total races during the event including sixteen group races (similar to US graded stakes races) over the five day period with at least one Group 1 race every day.


The highlight of the Royal Ascot meeting is the Gold Cup and is traditionally held on the third day of the event. The Royal Ascot meeting is usually attended by members of Great Britain's royal family (the track is a mere six miles from Windsor Castle) with Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales heading the charge. Prize money for the Royal Ascot meeting is a hefty £5,000,000.

The Royal Ascot is not only Europe's most popular and widely viewed racing meet it is also a major summer social event. As you'd expect with something so closely tied with the royal family there is a bit of a pecking order in terms of status for race spectators. The most prestigious locations from which to view the race are one of three enclosures which include all manner of food and drink. At the top of the Royal Ascot caste system is the the Royal Enclosure which is where the members of the royal family watch the race and entertain guests. Admission to the Royal Enclosure is very exclusive and sought after and guests must undergo a thorough security check. First time guests must apply for admission and be 'sponsored' by a member that has attended the Royal Enclosure for at least four years. A strict dress code applies to all guests. Whether they rub shoulders with royalty or not, by the end of the meet over 300,000 spectators will have attended the proceedings at the Ascot Racecourse and the races will be viewed on television in over 200 countries worldwide.


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Added on June 15, 2016 , in Royal Ascot Betting

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Even though the races held during the week have different prerequisites and distances there are some general concepts to keep in mind when placing Royal Ascot bets. In the higher profile Group 1 and Group 2 races along with the 'listed' races favorites have done very well in the past decade. In the last ten years the first and second favorites in the group and listed races have won 31% of the time. That form doesn't hold in the handicap races, however, and in these events it is wise to look beyond the top two favorites for better value horses. The Royal Hunt Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes, in particular, have gained a reputation for longshot winners.


American horse racing fans know that trainers like Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are among the best in the sport and that their horses are frequently good investments in stakes races. That concept holds up in Royal Ascot betting as well. Following the untimely death of Sir Henry Cecil—the winningest trainer in Royal Ascot history—in 2013 the mantle of top trainer at the Ascot track has gone to James Fanshawe. Fanshawe trained horses have won right around 25% of their races at Royal Ascot over the past 10 years. Other top trainers are Hughie Morrison, Michael Bell and Mark Johnston.

It's hard to make any sort of categorical statement about what to look for in the horses themselves due to the wide variety of race formats at the meet. One general note does apply—European horse racing in general and the Royal Ascot races in particular aren't quite as regimented as their US counterparts when it comes to age of entries. Most races are open to horses of a certain age minimum with no upper limit as opposed to US races which are often limited to 2 year olds or 3 year olds. Typically, older horses don't fare well in the Royal Ascot events and most horses over the age of 5 should be avoided. The exception is some of the longer distance races (2 miles or more) where older horses remain competitive longer.