Situated just six miles from the Monarch’s regular residence, Windsor Castle, Ascot plays host to both flat racing and jumps racing, with several major fixtures taking place throughout the year.
Owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd, the track stages no less than 26 days of racing each year, with Royal Ascot the feature meeting in the calendar and real social event in the British summer.
Surprisingly, the racecourse is also home to the Royal Ascot Cricket club which was founded in 1883 and sits in the middle of the course.
Ascot United Football Club also calls the racecourse home, and is on the eastern side of the course.
In a nutshell, it is a racecourse that matters more that most in horse racing and the buzz of Royalty often being in attendance gives in that extra edge for those who aren’t regular racegoers.
Ascot Racecourse History
As a venue that holds such prestigious sporting events, the history of Ascot racecourse is one that is hard to rival in the world of sport.
If you want to rubber stamp any success in flat racing, you need to win at Royal Ascot to really secure you place in the racing history books.
The course itself goes back to 1711, when it was officially founded by Queen Anne.
She even had the first ever race at the course named in her honour, with “Her Majesty’s Plate” offering a prize of 100 guineas to the winner.
Seven horses made up the field with “Her Majesty’s Plate” compromising off three separate heats over a mammoth four-miles, a distance now more commonly associated with National Hunt racing thanks to events such as the Grand National at Aintree.
Despite the first race being in 1711, it wasn’t until 1791 that handicap races were introduced at the track and remarkably, jumps racing only started there as recently as 1965.
As the main event, Royal Ascot was started in 1911 when the weeks worth of racing action became know as Royal Week.
Since then, the meeting has been attended by members of the Royal family, who regularly arrive in horse drawn carriages which are paraded down the track and past the grand stands before racing.
Ascot Racecourse Major Races
As one of the few venues in the United Kingdom that plays host to both Flat racing and National Hunt racing, Ascot racecourse is lucky enough to host major races throughout the calendar.
Of course, Royal Ascot week is the most prominent of them all with eight Group One races during the five day meeting, but there’s plenty more to get excited about over the year.
The British Champions Day is another prevalent fixture that is almost like an end of season championship in Britain, and usually falls in October, making it a rival meeting to the likes of the Arc weekend in France and the Breeders’ Cup in the United States.
That first took place in 2011 and has generally been regarded as a success ever since with the prize money attracting some of the best racehorses around.
Frankel won the Champion Stakes there in 2012 as he bowed out on an unrivalled racing career.
As for the jumps season at Ascot, that doesn’t quite match the prestige of Royal Ascot, but there are still three Grade One races held at the track, and all are important markers on the road to the Cheltenham Festival.
The Clarence House Chase over two miles and one furlong is a great indicator for the Champion Chase, while the Ascot Chase and Long Walk Hurdle have blooded Festival heroes of their own down the years.
Ascot Major Meetings Schedule
Clarence House Day (Jumps racing)
Ascot Chase Day (Jumps racing)
Shergar Cup (Flat racing)
British Champions Day (Flat racing)
Long Walk Hurdle Day (Jumps racing)
Ascot Racecourse Odds
When the racing is of such high quality as it is at Ascot, then it no surprise that there is always plenty of betting interest in their fixtures.
Royal Ascot usual draws the most attention and you’ll even find some bookies offering odds on what colour the Queen’s hat will be or whether or not the Royal colours will be guided to victory during the week.
Apart from that though, bookies will regularly have an ante-post market for all the Group One’s at Royal Ascot and you can usually find betting available on those up to a year in advance of the meeting.
For the other Flat racing fixtures, you usually find odds available from two days before the race and one day before for the action over jumps.
Some of the National Hunt Grade One’s will sometimes be available at little earlier, especially for the likes of the Clarence House Chase which trainers will often make a target for their big name runners.
Bookmaker Promotions for Ascot
As we’ve already said, Royal Ascot is a massive week for the bookmakers and that means the punters can take their pick from plenty of specials, promotions and even boosted odds.
It’s not uncommon to see some of the bigger bookies putting together all the favourites into a multiples bet each day and enhancing the odds to give you an industry best price.
The bookmakers also target the big field handicaps and each-way terms are often extended to offer anything between four and seven each-way places.
With fixtures throughout the year on the flat and over jumps, you won’t want to miss a minute of the action.
The majority of the major meetings listed above are show on terrestrial TV in the UK thanks to ITV Racing, with the rest of the action available through Sky Sports Racing.
However, if you’re out and about on race day or don’t live in the UK, then Bet365 have a live streaming service available that is highly recommended.
As long as you have a positive balance or have placed a bet in the last 24 hours, you’ll be able to watch the race through your Bet365
Ascot Tips & Betting Predictions
Like many racing fans, we are huge lovers of racing from Ascot and whether it’s on the flat or over jumps we’ll have it all covered right here at Free Tips.
We have dedicated tips and betting predictions available on all the major races and have long-term previews on the races at Royal Ascot, which are regularly updated as the season progresses.