Welcome to the Royal Ascot 2018 Trendspotting Guide where we’ll be highlighting all of the key profitable statistics, trends and patterns to have emerged from the Royal Meeting in recent times.
From winning trainer/jockey combinations, breeding and the betting, through to the all-important draw, all the relevant information will be brought to your attention in the quest of finding the path to profit.
But the first port of call for many is checking which trainers and jockeys have proven themselves at this meeting in the past, and a glance at the table below highlights those handlers who have taken a shining to Royal Ascot’s winner's enclosure.
|Sir M Stoute||19-140||+14||14-89||5-51||--||7-65||12-75|
|S Bin Suroor||8-144||-71||6-93||2-51||1-18||5-53||2-73|
With 94 Royal Ascot winners between them since 2008, Aidan O’Brien, Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden and Mark Johnston are four trainers to look out for, with O’Brien showing a clear level +£25 stakes profit with all runners during the last 10 years.
Royal Ascot tally last five years:
Best races (all-time): Coventry Stakes (8); St James’s Palace Stakes (7); Gold Cup (7); Queen’s Vase (5); Chesham Stakes (4); Jersey Stakes (3); Queen Anne Stakes (3); Prince of Wales’s Stakes (3); Coronation Stakes (3); Hardwicke Stakes (3); Norfolk Stakes (3); Tercentenary Stakes (2); Ribblesdale Stakes (2)
Aidan O’Brien’s numbers have grown here in recent years, with an army of 36 runners in 2017 producing another six winners, taking his tally over the last three Royal Meetings to 18 winners.
As for the areas in which O’Brien delivered, then avoiding his Group 1 runners and sticking to just Group 2/Group 3/Listed races showed at 22-127 (+£61), while those arriving in form having been beaten no more than 4l last time struck at 34-149 (+£57). Checking the odds of O’Brien’s performers is also key, for those in the 13/2 to 20/1 bracket offered value at 10-95 (+£38).
Best races: Prince of Wales’s Stakes (3); Britannia Stakes (3); King Edward VII Stakes (3); Wolferton Stakes (3); Jersey Stakes (2); Windsor Forest Stakes (2); Tercentenary Stakes (2); Coronation Stakes (2); Chesham Stakes (2); Royal Hunt Cup (2); Ribblesdale Stakes (2)
It’s not often John Gosden leaves the Royal Meeting without at least a double, and the Newmarket handler is always a man to respect when teaming up with William Buick (11-61, +£28), while his 2yos and 4yos returned a healthy 11-56 (+£38). It also helped in sticking with Gosden’s realistic chances at 12/1 or shorter: 20-100 (+£39), along with his runners not moving up in trip: 17-106 (+£20).
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE
Best races: Hardwicke Stakes (10); King Edward VII Stakes (7); Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5); King George V Stakes (4); Coronation Stakes (4); Queen’s Vase (4); Windsor Forest Stakes (3); Jersey Stakes (3); Ribblesdale Stakes (2); Wolferton Stakes (2); Queen Alexandra Stakes (2); Tercentenary Stakes (2)
It was a rare blank for Sir Michael Stoute here 12 months ago, but it’s hard to think he’ll leave empty-handed again, with races like the Hardwicke Stakes and King Edward VII Stakes having provided 17 winners alone. Stoute also excelled with his 4yos here at 12-53 (+£23), while those who arrived at Royal Ascot from Epsom, Goodwood, Newbury or York connected at 10-49 (+£24).
Best races: Queen’s Vase (7); King George V Stakes (4); Hardwicke Stakes (4); Ascot Gold Cup (3); Chesham Stakes (3); Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (3); King Edward VII Stakes (3); Sandringham Handicap (2); Queen Alexandra Stakes (2)
Mark Johnston has been a regular on the royal scoreboard for decades, and the one major clue to his runners hitting the target are their odds, with each of his 13 winners since 2008 having returned at 14/1 or shorter (13-73, +£34), compared to those bigger at 0-127.
Gradually making his way up the Ascot leaderboard is the American trainer, Wesley Ward, who offers excellent value to punters courtesy of a 9-47 record (+£19), including the 20/1 winner, Con Te Partiro, 12 months ago.
Saeed Bin Suroor is next in the table and is respected in races such as the Queen Anne Stakes (7 wins), Ascot Gold Cup (5) and Ribblesdale Stakes (5). Suroor was on the scoresheet in the 2017 Hampton Court with Benbatl, but having sent out a total of just under 50 losers either side of Benbatl sends out a word of caution. It might also be worth treading carefully with Willie Haggas’s runners here, as they struck just once from 82 runners since 2011.
One trainer who did end a drought at this meeting in 2017 was James Fanshawe, whose four winners here since 2008 all moved up in class at Ascot (4-19 +33), while Willie Mullins also entered the winner’s enclosure 12 months ago with Thomas Hobson in the Ascot Stakes at 4/1 – all of Mullins’s five winners returned at 8/1 or shorter (5-15 +£12).
Best races (all-time): Hardwicke Stakes (4); Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (3); Ascot Stakes (3); Queen of Alexandra Stakes (3); Tercentenary Stakes (2); Queen’s Vase (3); Chesham Stakes (3); Britannia Stakes (2); Wolferton Stakes (2); Gold Cup (2); Ribblesdale Stakes (2); Coventry Stakes (2); Norfolk Stakes (2); Coronation Stakes (2)
With another six winners here 12 months ago, Ryan Moore’s tally during the last four Royal Ascots now stands at 28 winners. Moore’s portfolio of winning big races is growing too, with last year seeing a third victory in the Ascot Stakes – all of which came for Willie Mullins.
Moore also has a strong association here with Aidan O’Brien (30-135 +£17), while punters can rely on him when partnering a fancied selection at 8/1 or shorter , where his record is 44-182 (+£30).
As for other clues pinpointing Moore’s strengths at this meeting, then the following criteria is worth looking out for:
Round Course: 30-135 (+£22)
Beaten a neck to 5l last time: 19-100 (+£35); those that won last time offered poor value at 24-120 (-£21)
Best races: King Edward VII Stakes (3), Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (2)
William Buick recorded his second-best tally of four winners here 12 months ago, two of which came for Charlie Appleby at odds of 20/1 and 16/1. Buick’s record for John Gosden reads better at 11-61 (+£28), though, while the biggest clue was found via those Buick rode last time out at 17-106 (+£47) – runners Buick didn’t ride prior to Ascot were 2-87 (-£69).
Best races: Queen Anne Stakes (6); Ribblesdale Stakes (6); Ascot Gold Cup (5); Chesham Stakes (4); Sandringham Handicap (4); King Edward VII Stakes (4); Norfolk Stakes (3); Prince of Wales’s Stakes (3); Royal Hunt Cup (2); Queen’s Vase (2); Queen Mary Stakes (2); St James’s Palace Stakes (2)
You can’t discuss Ascot without mentioning Frankie Dettori, who is still riding to a very high standard and scooping the big races. Having missed last year’s meeting, Dettori will be keen to get back on the scoreboard, and should be noted when riding in all the major races – his record away from Listed/Group races is just 1-48.
He also rode a couple winners for Wesley Ward (2-6 +£12) and Richard Hannon (2-8 +£8), while those Dettori rode last time won here at 11-76 (+£31).
Best races: Albany Stakes (4); Britannia Stakes (3); Coventry Stakes (2); Sandringham Handicap (2)
The 2017 Royal Meeting once again demonstrated Jamie Spencer’s effectiveness on the famous Straight Course (9-98 +£23), partnering both Bless Him (25/1) and Con Te Partiro (20/1) to success – Spencer’s record on the Round Course is just 2-71 (-£65). One of the aforementioned winners also came for David Simcock (2-17 +£13), while Spencer also has a better record with the younger 2-3yo horses (9-90 +£20).
Just three winners behind Spencer on the leaderboard is James Doyle, whose record during the first two days of the meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday stands at 7-44 (+£42), compared to Thursday, Friday and Saturday (1-75 -£69).
Elsewhere, Adam Kirby followed up his 2016 treble here by riding the winner of the Queen Mary 12 months ago for Clive Cox, for whom he has a record of 5-29 (+£16).
Another jockey enjoying a good partnership here is Joe Fanning for Mark Johnston, with his most profitable distances being 1m4f+ (6-34 +£22), though Silvestre De Silva enjoyed less luck here at 3-106 (-£54).
With last time out form such a valuable component in finding winners at Royal Ascot, knowing which racecourses and race types to have supplied winners at Ascot in the past can help point up some handy clues, as can be seen from the table below, listing the most productive tracks.
The above table highlights the importance of last time out form at Ascot, with Newmarket, Newbury, Epsom, York and the Curragh all providing 138 royal winners between them during the last 10 years, though the fact they returned a level stakes loss means a touch more digging is required.
When considering a runner that ran at Newmarket (Rowley) last time, make sure they are fancied at Ascot in the 10/1 or shorter bracket, as they delivered at 30-170 (+£24).
With the Epsom Derby meeting staged just weeks prior to the Royal Meeting, it’s no surprise that 24 Ascot winners arrived via that route during the last 10 years. As with Newmarket runners, the biggest pointer came via the market, as plenty of Epsom runners were sent here with unrealistic chances, but concentrating purely on those at 16/1 or shorter returned 22-146 (+£42).
It paid to keep things simple when studying a runner from Newbury last time, as those that ran in a handicap at Newbury delivered at Ascot to the tune of 8-68 (+£37).
Runners crossing the Irish Sea and heading to Ascot from the Curragh supplied the second most winners at the meeting since 2008. As for those punters should look out for, then in-form performers that made the top two at the Curragh struck at 24-118 (+£63).
Royal Ascot handicaps 2008-2017
|Last time out||Wins-Runs||£1 P/L|
|Fourth to eighth||17-678||-385|
|Ninth to fifteenth||8-253||-46|
|Sixteenth or worse||1-43||-9|
|0-9 career runs||48-871||-366|
|10-16 career runs||17-429||-107|
|2-3 previous handicap wins||39-532||-135|
While last time out winners topped the chart with 29 handicap winners at Royal Ascot (-£201), there was more value in following runners-up from last time out (+£6). Another pointer came in siding with runners that won just 2-3 handicaps, as they struck at a higher strike-rate (7%).
Three-year-old handicaps 2007-2016
Punters eyeing up the handicaps throughout the week will have two kinds to study, those for all ages, such as the Wokingham, and those for three-year-olds only, like the Britannia and King George V Stakes. With that in mind, it could be worth noting the following criteria when studying three-year-old handicaps.
8-10lb higher from last time: 11-67 (+£38)
Favourites (incl joint): 8-32 (+£11)
American-bred 3-86 (-£25)
Ran in maiden last time out: 0-53 (-£53)
The draw is always a major talking point across the five days, during which time the big-field events staged on the Straight Course cause punters headaches. It may therefore prove worthwhile looking at the stats from the last five years of this fixture to see if there were any trends – more so the ‘live’ clues which can develop as the week develops, as a race like the Royal Hunt Cup (1m) may influence what happens in the Britannia over the same trip.
|King's Stand 5f||18/17 gf||8/17 sft||3/18 gf||8/16 gd||14/19 gd|
|Windsor Castle 5f||12/22 gf||1/22 sft||6/27 gf||25/24 gd||18/23 gd|
|Queen Mary 5f||20/23 gf||14/17 sft||20/20 gf||12/21 gf||16/23 gf|
|Coventry 6f||9/18 gf||13/18 sft||10/17 gf||1/15 gd||15/15 gd|
|Diamond Jubilee 6f||3/19 gf||3/9 gs||6/15 gf||4/14 gf||15/18 gf|
|Wokingham 6f||1/27 gf||28/28 gs||21/25 gf||27/28 gf||22/26 gf|
|Jersey 7f||10/20 gf||7/19 sft||9/16 gf||19/23 gd||4/21 gf|
|Sandringham 1m||11/24 gf||17/21 sft||14/17 gf||22/24 gf||3/26 gf|
|Royal Hunt Cup 1m||26/29 gf||4/28 sft||11/30 gf||33/28 gf||6/28 gf|
|Britannia 1m||3/29 gf||12/28 sft||11/28 gf||26/20 gf||15/27 gf|
|Wolferton 1m2f||5/16 gf||5/15 gs||7/13 gf||15/13 gf||7/15 gf|
|King George V 1m4f||22/18 gf||11/16 sft||20/17 gf||14/18 gf||10/18 gf|
|Duke of Edinburgh 1m4f||19/19 gf||19/19 gs||21/17 gf||12/18 gf||10/16 gf|
gf = good to firm; gd = good; gs = good to soft; s = soft
High numbers featured more so last year when the fast ground returned, but overall there were a mixed bag of results. Possibly the best approach could be in siding with those very high or very low in big fields with 25+ runners, and ignoring those drawn in the centre. In fact, splitting the 25-runner+ fields from the last 10 years shows a clear bias towards those on either flank (low or high).
25-runner+ races 2008-2017
Lowest stalls: 12-271 (4% -£75)
Centre stalls: 13-570 (2% -£280)
Highest stalls: 15-263 (6% +£14)
Clearly, despite having the smallest number of qualifiers, the highest quarter of stalls (for instance, stalls 19-24 in a 24-runner race) provided the best strike-rate for a clear profit.
Round course (1m2f/1m4f)
As for distances on the round course over 1m2f-1m4f, then double-figure stalls dominated, with runners fanning out down the middle in an attempt to avoid getting caught on the inside (low stalls). This became more pronounced in bigger fields, as can be seen:
16+ runner fields
Stalls 1-9: 1 win
Stalls 10-22: 12 wins
With six high-class juvenile events for punters to sort through across the five days, the use of statistics can be useful in cracking such tricky puzzles, so with that in mind, here are some handy stats that may help point the way.
|Last time out||Wins-Runs (%)||£1 P/L|
|Fifth or worse||1-94||-79|
|No. of UK runs|
(British form only)
Of the above stats, it’s interesting to note that two-year-olds making their UK debuts having raced abroad were the only juveniles to return a profit.
American-bred (USA) or French-bred also returned a higher strike-rate and profit, while on the trainer front, Aidan O’Brien led the way with 10 winners for a handsome profit (10-51, +£36), with Wesley Ward producing a solid 6-37 (+£20).
The final pointer to take into account regarding the juvenile events, was that of the 60 winners here since 2008, 40 won last time out (including three from abroad), while those that finished fifth or worse struck just once at 1-94 – be wary also of two-year-olds that finished runner-up last time out.
Group 1 (2008-2017)
|Group 1 last time||34-241||-67|
|Group 2, 3 or Listed last time||26-484||-287|
|Non-Group/Listed last time||1-51||-25|
|Won last time||32-205||-84|
|Beaten under 1l last time||5-109||-51|
|Beaten 1-2l last time||8-88||-24|
|Highest Class win: Group 1||34-125||+17|
|Highest Class win: Group 2/3||19-310||-154|
|Group 1 last time||8-68||-15|
|Group 2 last time||4-46||+5|
|Group 3 last time||17-119||-13|
|Listed last time||15-203||-59|
|Sir M Stoute||9-43||+15|
|A O Brien||10-60||+20|
|Highest Class win: Group 1||2-14||-5|
|Highest Class win: Group 2/3||24-117||+62|
|Highest Class win: Listed||10-119||-39|
|Group 1 last time||8-45||+49|
|Group 2, 3 or Listed last time||7-177||-135|
|A O Brien||5-36||+13|
(British form only)
The above information shows that in Group 1 events, runners that already won a Group 1 race did best, while in Group 2s, concentrate on runners whose highest class win was in a Group 2 or Group 3 – in other words, ignore both Group 1 winners and runners jumping up too far in class (from Listed etc). As for the Group 3 races, then take note of any classy performer dropping down from a Group 1, while Aidan O’Brien also mopped up five Group 3 events for a good profit.
SIRES AT ASCOT 2013-2018
|Sire||W-R||£1||5f-6f||7f-1m||1m2f- 1m4f||1m6f- 2m5f||Good Gd-fm||Soft Heavy|
|Exceed And Excel||20-180||+127||10-88||10-86||0-6||--||18-133||2-47|
|Sea The Stars||12-66||+11||--||4-17||5-38||3-11||10-47||2-19|
One of the factors odds compilers will least consider before pricing up the week’s big events is the breeding of each runner, but a glance at the above table may help find some value.
With four of the five leading sires all returning a clear level stakes profit, punters should check their runners throughout the week, including the table-topper, Dubawi, who produced another three winners at last year’s Royal Meeting (+£20), and has the likes of Benbatl entered in the Queen Anne and Prince of Wales’s.
Galileo also sent out a trio of winners here in 2017, and is responsible for siring the most Group winners during the current 2018 Flat season with five winners, and offers an interesting batch heading for Ascot, though the sire who actually headed last year’s Royal leaderboard was Scat Daddy. This American stallion actually produced four winners from eight runners 12 months ago, three of which are set to return for another crack in Sioux Nation, Con Te Partiro and Lady Aurelia).
In terms of pure value, then look out Exceed And Excel’s progeny, including James Garfield in the Commonwealth Cup, who was third in the 2017 Windsor Castle and handles fast ground, while on the subject of quick ground, look out for Sea The Stars’ stock should the sun shine, as they delivered on quick ground at Ascot for a record of 10-47 (+£17), compared to 2-18 (-£6) when it was soft here.
TRIALS & POINTERS
The most popular approach for the majority of punters when weighing-up a bet is to refer to a horse’s last time out run, and there is good reason, as last time out form is obviously the most reliable – no breaking news there!
However, the type of race a horse ran in remains of importance, especially at a major festival like Royal Ascot where certain races have been superb pointers in the past and can once more be trusted.
With that in mind, listed below are the remaining long-term leading trials & pointers in the UK to have provided numerous Ascot winners since 1997.
|Race||Subsequent winners at Royal Ascot|
|Irish 2,000 Guineas||16 - St James Palace (13), Jersey (3)|
|Lockinge||12 - Queen Anne (11), Windsor Forest (1)|
|Henry II||11 - Gold Cup (8), Queen Alexandra (3)|
|1,000 Guineas||11 - Coronation (8), Sandringham (2), Ribblesdale (1)|
|Coronation Cup||10 - Hardwicke (8) Prince of Wales (2)|
|Epsom Derby||9 - Hampton Court (3), K Edward VII (3), Queen’s Vase (1) Sandringham (1), St James’s Palace (1)|
|Epsom Oaks||8 - Ribblesdale (5), Coronation (2), Sandringham (1)|
|Temple Stakes||7 - Kings Stand (7)|
|Duke of York||7 - Diamond Jubilee (7)|
|Victoria Cup||7 - Royal Hunt Cup (3), Buck’ Palace (2), Wokingham (2)|
|Tattersalls Gold Cup||6 - Prince of Wales (5), Wolferton (1)|
|Hambleton Handicap||6 - Wolferton (3), Royal Hunt Cup (2), Prince of Wales (1)|
|Lingfield Derby Trial||6 - Queens Vase (4), K George V (1), K Edward VII (1)|
|2,000 Guineas||6 - Jersey (3), St James Palace (3)|
|Kings Stand Stakes||5 - Diamond Jubilee (4), Wokingham (1)|
|Irish 1,000 Guineas||5 - Coronation (4); Jersey (1)|
|Saval Beg Stakes||5 - Gold Cup (4), Queen Alexandra (1)|
|Ormonde Stakes||5 - Hardwicke (4), Cumberland Lodge (1)|
|Chester Cup||4 - Ascot Stakes (2), Queen Alexandra (2)|
|King Charles II Stks||4 - Jersey (4)|
|Fairway Stakes||4 - K Edward VII (2), Queens Vase (1) Hampton Court (1)|
|Ascot Stakes||4 - Queen Alexandra (4)|
|Princess Elizabeth||4 - Windsor Forest (4)|
|National Stakes||4 - Queen Mary (3), Norfolk (1)|
|Huxley Stakes||4 - Hardwicke (4)|
|London Gold Cup||4 - Tercentenary (2), K Edward VII (1), King George V (1)|
|Brigadier Gerard||3 - Hardwicke (2), Prince of Wales (1)|
|Hilary Needler||3 - Queen Mary (2), Windsor Castle (1)|
|Yorkshire Cup||3 - Gold Cup (2), Queen Alexandra (1)|
|Dante||3 - King Edward VII (2), Hampton Court (1)|
|Silver Bowl||3 - Britannia (3)|
|Greenham||3 - St James Palace (3)|
|Marygate Stakes||3 - Queen Mary (3)|
Sitting proudly at the top of the trials table is the Irish 2,000 Guineas, which supplied 13 St James Palace Stakes winners since 1997, while Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes also provided a solid pointer to Ascot, courtesy of 11 Queen Anne winners. This year’s Lockinge winner, Rhododendron, could add to that record.
Newmarket’s 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas have also proven excellent pointers for Royal Ascot, though the 1,000 may have less of an impact this season with the protagonists seemingly heading for Epsom or France. Therefore, the 2,000 Guineas could prove more fruitful, and with three St. James’s Palace winners coming via the 2,000 since 1997, last month’s HQ runner-up, Tip Two Win, looks a good candidate for that event.
As for the sprints at Ascot, then a glance back at the Duke of York last month could provide clues, with the impressive winner, Harry Angel, looking to become the eighth Diamond Jubilee winner to have emerged from the Knavesmire sprint.
In the handicaps, Ascot’s Victoria Cup from the previous month has often provided a good dress rehearsal for the big-field handicaps throughout the week, including three winners of the Royal Hunt Cup. This year’s Victoria Cup saw several interesting candidates, including the fast-finishing seventh, Burnt Sugar, who should enjoy the extra furlong of the Hunt Cup.
|Clear/joint favourite||Wins-Runs||£1 P/L|
|Won last time||61-192||+7|
|Runner-up last time||7-50||-25|
|Third last time||10-28||+5|
|Fourth or worse last time||11-31||+15|
(British form only)
Favourite backers will be hoping for another five days of bookie bashing, as the market leader boasts the best record of Britain’s major Flat festivals.
As for the areas in punters should be aiming, then non-handicaps provided the majority of profits via the jolly, while Group and Listed events also proved kind. It’s worth noting, however, that 4yo+ favourites had an inferior strike-rate to the younger favourites for an overall loss (-£11), unlike the 3yo jollies that shone at 39-114 (+£28).
As for the favourites’ latest outing prior to Ascot, then be careful of market leaders who finished runner-up last time out (-£25), unlike last time out winners at 61-192 (+£7).
|Second favourite (incl joint)||Wins-Runs||£1 P/L|
|Won last time||22-148||-24|
|Runner-up last time||8-54||-4|
|Third last time||2-26||-13|
|Fourth or worse last time||12-66||+6|
(British form only)
With favourites producing such a glowing record at Royal Ascot, their deputies were very much put to the sword, returning an overall loss of -£47 since 2008. However, there was one glimmer of hope for second favourite backers in specific areas – for instance, those that arrived via Epsom, Haydock or Newbury struck collectively here at 16-64 (+£35), while the second day of the meeting (Wednesday) saw second favs triumph at 12-65 (+£7).
When looking for a juicy winner at 10/1 or bigger, not many standout clues point the way towards the path to riches, but those priced at 10/1 to 33/1 who finished tenth or worse last time out delivered at 11-203 (+£36) – backing them each-way would have seen 25 more placed for an EW strike-rate of 18%.