Here at Ascot Betting Offers we cover everything to do with Ascot and horse racing. Naturally, we focus on Royal Ascot given it is the biggest and most prestigious meeting on the flat racing calendar but you can also find details of all other Ascot meetings, including British Champions Day. Our meeting, day and race pages cover all the racecards as well as details about each race, their history and grading, previous winners and key race facts that will, hopefully, allow you to get more out of your Ascot experience – whether you attend the course or just watch on TV.
We offer much more than just race information, too. Our guides, articles and news will help you get the most from your Ascot race days, whatever your starting level. We have pages covering the details of the racecourse, how to get there, origins and history, flat racing groups and classes, the rules of flat racing and other information to help you get the maximum out of these world leading events. Should you be reading this in the jump season check out our sister site Cheltenham Betting Offers for more suited offers and guides.
Horse racing and Ascot is synonymous with having a bet and for Royal Ascot especially the bookies pull out all the stops to entice new and existing customers. Here we cover the best bookmakers for Ascot based on odds, market depth, ante-post options, extra and enhanced places and other features, such as in-play betting cash out availability. As you can guess from our name we also tell you about the best deals and promotions to claim, whether you are a new customer or already have an account. To that end we only suggest good horse racing betting sites that are licensed in the UK – but remember you must be over 18 years old to bet and please gamble responsibly – Be Gamble Aware.
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Naturally Ascot is most famous for the Royal Meeting but there are in fact eight other flat meetings featuring 13 days of racing either side of the 5 day June spectacular. These are not minor meets either, with one of them being the culmination of the flat season in British Champions Day – an example of a modern meeting that has already gained the prestige of the classic events.
It’s not only flat racing either. Since 1965 Ascot has been hosting jump racing throughout the winter on the National Hunt calendar. There are six jumps meetings with eight days of racing in total from November to April. It isn’t like it only hosts minor National Hunt races either with grade 1 The Clarence House Chase, The Ascot Chase and The Long Walk Hurdle all part of the winter program.
Royal Ascot is one of the most anticipated weeks of horse racing in the United Kingdom. Taking place at Ascot Racecourse, typically in June, it is when the best horses, trainers and owners from the sport gather together in Berkshire to take on some famous races. The Gold Cup is the centrepiece, but each day of the meeting has its own feature race that gives it a focus. There is millions on offer in prize money, whilst what takes place off the course is almost as important as what is going on on it. The Royal Enclosure is where most eyes will be looking during the week.
Each day begins with the Royal Procession at 2pm, which is when members of the Royal Family that are in attendance make their way towards the Royal Enclosure ready for a day of racing. Some of the big races across the week include the the Queen Anne Stakes, which gets the entire meeting underway, the King’s Stand Stakes and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The strict dress code means that you can expect some fantastic fashion on offer during the week, especially as the women try to stand out from the crowd with wonderful hats and fascinators.
The History Of Ascot Racecourse
In 1711, Queen Anne went for a ride on one of her horses, departing Windsor Castle and coming across an open heath that she thought was ‘ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch’. By the 12th of July, an announcement had been made in the London Gazette of a new race meeting that would be held there. The announcement said:
“Her Majesty’s Plate of 100 guineas will be run for round the new heat on Ascott Common, near Windsor, on Tuesday, August 7th next, by any horse, mare or gelding, being no more than six years old the grass before, as must be certified under the hand of the breeder, carrying 12 St., three heats, to be entered the last day of July, at Mr. Hancock’s, at Fern Hill, near the Starting Post.”
The first meeting of racing at the place that would go on to become Ascot Racecourse took place on the 11th of August 1711. That is because the original plan mentioned in the London Gazette had to be postponed, with one theory being that the course wasn’t ready in time. It was witnessed by the Queen herself, as well as a ‘brilliant suite’ accompanying her. The first winning horse was Doctor, taking home the prize in a £50 plate event featuring seven horses, with the inaugural owner being the Duke of St Albans. In spite of the success of the first meeting, it took more than 80 years for the first permanent building to be erected.
The Course Takes Shape
That first building was put in place by a local builder from Windsor called George Slingsby. It could hold 1,650 people and was used for nearly 50 years. It was placed to have a perfect view over the course that had been laid out by William Lowen and the decision to built it came after the popularity of the four day meeting that took place for the first time in 1768. In 1793, £10,000 was spent to build a new grandstand, with the Gold Cup coming along 14 years later. An 1813 Act of Parliament cemented the place of Ascot Racecourse in British culture.
That Act declared that Ascot Heath would be kept and used for the purpose of a racecourse for the public. It was around the same time that the dress code that we all expect to see today first came into use. It was Beau Brummell, a friend of the Prince Regent, who declared that men should wear an outfit that would develop into the morning suit. Women, in a bid to keep up, wore equally formal clothing that was finished off with a hat. In the modern world, the Ascot Style Guide helps people to understand exactly what is expected of them if they attend Royal Ascot.
The Move To The Modern Era
The Master of the Royal Buckhounds was given the responsibility of handling the course on behalf of the crown, which remained the case until 1901, when His Majesty’s Representative took over the role. The first person to carry out the role was Lord Churchill, who was not only responsible for running the course but also who was allowed entrance to the Royal Enclosure. In 1913, another Act of Parliament established the Ascot Authority, which made His Majesty’s Representative a Senior Trustee. In the years that followed, Ascot Authority (Holdings) Limited was formed and given a formal board.
During the Second World War, between 1940 and 1943, no racing was run at Ascot. Instead, the course was commandeered by the army and the Grandstand became an accommodation location for the gunners that made up the Royal Artillery. It wasn’t until May 1943 that racing resumed, at which point an eight-race card was run. Racing took place almost immediately after the conclusion of the war, with a 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth attending for the first time on the 21st of May 1945. It took another 20 years for the first National Hunt meeting to be run at the course.
The links between Ascot Racecourse and the Royal Family had been in place ever since Queen Anne helped to establish it more than 200 years before. In terms of the modern era, though, that visit of Princess Elizabeth was crucial. When she became queen, Elizabeth II had a keen interesting racing. That was thanks to the fact that she was both an owner and a breeder of racehorses, with jockeys that rode her horses easily identified thanks to the purple body adorned with gold braid and scarlet sleeves, in addition to a black velvet cap boasting gold fringe.
As for Royal Ascot itself, it developed out of that first four-day meeting of 1768. When the Gold Cup was introduced in 1807, the meeting had a race that was prestigious enough to begin to gain proper interest. Until 1939, what became known as Royal Ascot was the only meeting held at the racecourse, showing its importance to the course for the first 200 years or so. Since 1825, the meeting has got underway with the Royal Procession, beginning at 2pm and involving the singing of the National Anthem and the raising of the Royal Standard as members of the Royal Family arrive.
The Importance Of Royal Ascot To Racing
The importance of any race meeting tends to be dictated by the money involved in it. With that in mind, it is worth noting that Royal Ascot is the most valuable race meeting in Britain. The world’s best racehorses, trainers and jockeys compete in the events for prize money that stood at more than £7 million in 2019. Around 500 horses take part in races across the five days, with 18 of the events being Group races. They are broadcast to millions of people around the world, with in excess of 6,500 people brought in as temporary staff and 20,000 flowers and shrubs grown.
Three of the four enclosures at the racecourse are open to the public during Royal Ascot, with the fourth being the Royal Enclosure. Access is strictly limited and first-time visitors need to be given sponsorship from someone who has been in the Royal Enclosure for at least four years. Members are sent invitations from His Majesty’s Representative, allowing them to request badges on a yearly basis. They are hand-written and can only be worn by the named person. The colour of the badge itself is different for each day of the meeting, ensuring that they can’t be worn more than once.
Ascot Course Guide
There are two courses at Ascot Racecourse, with the flat course being the one that is used for Royal Ascot. The round part of the course is right-handed, offering a galloping course that promises a triangular circuit that is a mile and three-quarters long. The run-on is two and half furlongs in length, whilst there is also a straight mile course that offers better draining than the course proper. The flat course has an inner course that provides the option of switching the course around on Champions Day if there is un-raceable ground on the main course.
How well each horse type will do depends on the length of the race that they’re taking part in. Prominent racers will tend to do well over events of five furlongs in distance, whereas those that prefer to be held up might struggle. The opposite is true once the race moved to seven furlongs of further, with horses that are held up tending to do better than those that get themselves out in front. On the round course, those that run in the first half of the field in races of a mile and a quarter or more are likely to cope better than those caught towards the back of the field.
The jump course is a right-handed galloping one that was given major re-development ahead of the 2006-2007 season. The course now drains faster than it used to, but if the rain has been relentless then the conditions can still prove to be hard work. The interesting thing to note about it when it comes to bets that might be placed is that it boasts one of the lowest non-completion rates across the country. That is suggestive of a course that is tough and asks questions, especially if the Going is Heavy, but is still one that horses can get round well enough.
Ascot Racecourse Facilities
The quality of the facilities at Ascot Racecourse are top-notch, with differing levels on offer depending on the enclosure that you’ve got tickets for. It also depends on whether or not you’ve opted to take a hospitality package. There are private boxes, restaurants and other areas that you can locate yourself, with one of the restaurants offering an excellent view of the course itself. If you get tickets for the Queen Anne Enclosure then you’ll be able to get access to the trackside lawns, as well as the Parade Ring and the Grandstand itself.
Tickets for the Windsor Enclosure, meanwhile, will be the first to view the Royal Procession thanks to its location on the east of the Grandstand on the Straight Mile. The Village Enclosure was added in 2017 and can be found on the Heath, which is in the middle of the course. It is only open from the Thursday to the Saturday of the meeting and it is where you can get al fresco dining, street food and live music, as well as great views of the track and the Grandstand. All locations include the likes of toilets and betting facilities, which is ideal for racegoers.
Ascot Visitor Information
If you’re thinking of heading to Ascot Racecourse then you’re in for a treat. It is a genuinely impressive sight and one of the most enjoyable experiences in flat racing. The most important thing that you’ll want to know about is what it is that you’re expected to wear, which will mostly be dictated by when you’re going and where your tickets are for. We will look specifically at Royal Ascot, given that that is the meeting that is most popular during the course of the year. The one location we didn’t talk about with regards to the facilities is the Royal Enclosure, largely because it is unnecessary.
As you might imagine, the Royal Enclosure has the best facilities on the racecourse, which is why access is strictly limited. The dress code is also stricter than in other parts of the course, with men expected to wear grey, navy or black morning dress as well as a top hat. Women, meanwhile, are asked to wear formal daywear as well as a hat that has a base of four inches or more in its diameter. Those requirements were the ones first introduced by Beau Brummel, who suggested men wear waisted black coats and white cravats, with pantaloons on the bottom half.
If you’re in the Queen Anne Enclosure then the dress code is slightly more relaxed, though still formal in nature. Women are asked to dress in a manner that ‘befits a formal occasion’, with a hat or a fascinator being worn at all times. Men, meanwhile, are still asked to wear a suit, but it only needs to be a full-length one rather than a morning suit. It needs to be joined by a collared shirt and a tie, in addition to socks that cover the ankles. The Windsor Enclosure, on the other hand, promised a much more relaxed and informal atmosphere, which stretches to the dress code.
Guests are encouraged to wear ‘smart daywear’, which amounts to shirts with collars and jackets for men, as well as hats or fascinators for women. There is a similar dress code in play in the Village Enclosure, with women wearing formal daywear whilst men are required to wear a jacket, a collared shirt and tie as well as full-length trousers and those socks that cover the ankles once again. Across the five days of the meeting, the final one is the most relaxed. The Saturday promises visitors a chance to be much more social than across the other days.
Getting To Ascot Racecourse
If you’ve been lucky enough to get tickets for one of the days that is run at Ascot Racecourse then you’ll want to know how to get there. The racecourse itself is located in a perfect spot, adjoining Windsor Great Park in beautiful wooded countryside. It is close to the M3, M4, M40 and M25, for those guests planning on driving there, whilst those taking the train will be on it for about 50 minutes if they’re heading out of Central London. Anyone coming from further afield will want to fly into Heathrow Airport, from which access is relatively easy to Windsor thanks to London’s excellent transport links.
South Western Railway is the company that runs services from Reading, Guilford and London Waterloo out to Ascot. Reading its about 27 minutes away, whilst it’s 52 minutes on average from Waterloo. Once you’ve arrived at the train station, it is about seven minutes walk to the racecourse. If you’re driving from London and the north of England then you’ll want to take the M4 until junction 6, at which point you’ll get onto the A332 Windsor bypass, from where you’ll be able to follow signs. From the west, it’s still the M4 but junction 10 for the A329(M).
If you’re coming from elsewhere in the south and the east, you’ll take the M3 to junction 3, which will get you onto the A332. Those of you coming from the Midlands, meanwhile, will be taking the M40 to junction 4. From there you’ll be getting the A404 to the M4 at junction 8/9. On the M4 you’ll want to head towards Heathrow / London and leave the M4 at junction 6, taking the A332 towards Ascot. You can buy parking at Royal Ascot online, with car parks located close to the racecourse in numerous different locations. Those with helicopters or private jets will head to a location operated by Flexjet.
UK Gambling Licensing and Law
Gambling in the United Kingdom is legal, with the Gambling Act of 2005 the current legislation that decides the laws for gambling as a subject. Anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to gamble in the UK, with the rules in place designed to keep everyone safe. That involves a focus on keeping children and the vulnerable safe. The rules and regulations around betting are dictated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which was formed as part of the 2005 Gambling Act. Legalised betting in off-course locations has taken place since 1961, though on-course betting has been in place for a lot longer.
The presence of internet gambling has meant that it is much tougher for punters to be safe in the knowledge that the company that they’re betting with is reliable. It is really important to ensure that you only place bets with companies that have obtained a licence to operate from the UKGC, which will at least provide a touch of security. At the time of writing, there is a move to tighten up the rules and regulations around betting, especially online. This is because online betting was barely thought of as a thing when the 2005 Gambling Act came into being, which was before the iPhone was even mass produced.