Royal Ascot: Style, Pageantry and English Flat Racing at Its Best

If there’s one meet a year where you want to leave your armchair punting and head to the racecourse for a day of seeing your racing results in person, it’s the Royal Ascot. Here’s why this fabulous week of June racing is considered one of the English Flat Racing summer seasons crown jewels and how you can predict horse racing results while you’re at the racecourse.

History of the Royal Ascot
The Royal Ascot has 300 years of pageantry behind it. Started in 1711 by Queen Anne, it has continued to be the place to see and be seen and is a major social event of the year.

The British Royal Family is always in attendance. Each day at the racecourse begins with a royal coach procession on the course, an event you and your family will talk about for years to come.

The finery doesn’t stop there. Top fashion is always on display and gentlemen are required to wear top hats and morning coats in the Royal Enclosure, while the ladies sport some of the most stunning millinery you’ll ever see.

Royal Ascot Races
Don’t think the Royal Ascot is all about style and show, however. The five-day meet features 15 of the nation’s biggest and most exciting Group flat races and 3.5 million pounds in prize money.

For staying race fans, the Group 1 Gold Cup on Day 3 is a meet highlight to see who can last the grueling two-and-a-half-mile course.

If sprints are your favourite, you’ll have lots to choose from, including:

  • Queen Anne Stakes
  • Prince of Wales Stakes
  • St James’s Palace Stakes
  • Coronation Stakes
  • Golden Jubilee Stakes

With races spread between Tuesday and Saturday, 16-20 June, you can pick a day to attend or stay the week and live it up.

Tips for Punters at the Royal Ascot
If you attend the Royal Ascot in person, it’s the perfect opportunity to put some advanced handicapping skills to the test. It involves a bit of leg work, but it will be worth it when you see your racing results.

A key strategy to placing winning bets that can’t be used when betting from home with just the racing form is checking out the horses in the parade ring prior to each race. You can tell a great deal about a horse by watching it in the mounting enclosure, and if a chalk favourite is having an off day, punters relying solely on the form won’t know it.

How do you know a winning (or losing) horse when you see it in the parade ring?
First off, you want to look at the physical condition of the horse. It should not look tired or overweight (check from behind for the best assessment).

The horse should have an eagerness about it and even seem to perk up, either when entering the ring or when the jockey mounts. Look for the ears to move forward and the eye to gleam. Horses that are really “on the muscle” will even dance and prance in anticipation of going to the post.

A little glisten to the horse’s coat is fine, but a horse that is sweating excessively is nervous. Another sign of anxiety or abject terror is showing the whites of the eyes.

A horse that’s unhappy or angry about racing will pin its ears back, swish its tail, chew the bit and resist being saddled. Perhaps it’s in pain, or it could be just a devilish horse.

Watch the jockey as he or she mounts a horse like this. A difficult mount might buck, rear or kick out. If the jockey lets his or her legs hang loose instead of putting them in the irons, it’s usually in anticipation of having to hop off a naughty horse. It could still be a winner, but it will likely be a challenge getting this one to load into the gate.

As a last tip, watch the relationship between the jockey and the horse, especially if the form indicates that they’ve worked together before. The horse should be happy to have the jockey on board, and the jockey should be reassuring and offering the horse a few pets. Even a difficult or ornery horse can be finessed by the right jockey.

Get your summer racing season off with a bang at the Royal Ascot. Try the punting tips here, and see if the day’s horse racing results don’t make you smile a bit more than even seeing Her Majesty in person.