Just one day to the start of Royal Ascot and, what I believe, is the best five days of horse racing anywhere in the world.
Nearly 300,000 people will visit Royal Ascot over the next five days, including of course Her Majesty the Queen and various members of the Royal Family. Each day of Royal Ascot begins with the Royal procession as the Queen arrives in a horse-drawn carriage.
All Eyes on The Weather Front
At the time of writing, the going is good to soft on the straight course, and soft on the round course. Given all the rain we have had over the last five days the course seems to have dealt with it well.
All eyes will be on the weather forecast, which seems to be suggesting that it will be dry up to the start of the meeting, with just a few scattered showers being predicted for Wednesday & Friday.
If the forecasters are right, the going won’t be too soft on Tuesday, and will be good by the end of the week. At least the course won’t need to water to maintain the going!
It’s All on ITV Racing
The good news for terrestrial TV watchers is that ITV Racing is covering all 30 races from Royal Ascot. Gone are the days when the last race on each day was left off the coverage. I’ll be watching ITV’s coverage. Granted, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea with all fashion, food & wine etc., but it’s coverage just about hits the spot. It’s also important that horse racing remains on terrestrial TV. It was my gateway into the sport back in the day, and hopefully it will be for future generations.
Royal Ascot: The Stats Have It
As I promised last week, this Monday’s post concentrates on Royal Ascot. It wasn’t really a difficult decision as Saturday’s racing was mostly composed of handicaps, albeit competitive ones, and there wasn’t one race above Listed Class.
My approach to Royal Ascot is all about trainers and trends, and they will play a big part in my betting. Such an approach isn’t for everyone, but it suits me.
Of the 30 races at Royal Ascot, no less than 18 of them are Group races, including 8 Group 1’s.
Since the start of 2014 there have been 91 winners from 1199 runners in Group races at the meeting.
Let’s look at some of the key stats for these top-class races:
- Odds SP: 28/1 & bigger – 1 winner from 380 runners 0.26% -346 14 placed 4%
- Fate of Favourites – 32 winners from 99 runners 32% -4.16 57 placed 58%
- Position in Odds Market: Top Three – 67 winners from 288 runners 23% +19.75 143 placed 50%
It’s not a meeting for big-priced winners, certainly not in the Group races, and favourites are performing about where one would expect. However, 74% of the winners in Group races were in the first three in the betting, from just 24% of the total runners. Hopefully it will continue to keep horses at the front of the market onside over the next five days.
- Last Time Out Placing: 1st – 46 winners from 429 runners 11% -132.47 123 placed 29%
For those punters who like backing last-time-out winners, Royal Ascot is one of the worst performing summer racing festivals for LTO winners. It underlines what a competitive meeting it is.
- Horses Age: 6+ – 3 winners from 109 runners 3% -76 11 placed 10%
Group races at Royal Ascot tend to be won by younger horses. Those aged six or older are under performing, in fact 61% below market expectations with the Exp/Wins being 7.62.
- Course Wins: 1+ – 18 winners from 160 runners 11% -23.86 44 placed 28%
Horses with winning form at Ascot are performing 19% below market expectations.
- Wins on The Going: 2+ – 24 winners from 160 runners 15% -5.3 45 placed 28%
Horses with two or more wins on the prevailing going are performing 10% better than market expectations.
- Days Since Last Run: 61+ – 7 winners from 122 runners 6% -72.7 26 placed 21%
Runners coming into Royal Ascot on the back of a lay-off of 61 days or more are not providing much in the way of value, and are performing 35% below market expectations.
- Class Move: Drop 2 or 1 – 12 winners from 68 runners 18% +25.16 23 placed 34%
One positive angle here, any horses dropping back in Class at Royal Ascot are worth keeping onside. These horses can often make their class advantage tell. Eleven of the 12 winners were 3-year-old’s and have produced the following results:
11 winners from 50 runners 22% +37.66 20 placed 40%
Those 3-year-old class droppers have provided punters with plenty of value, and are performing 65% better than the market expects.
Those stepping-up in Class, omitting 2-year-old’s, have produced the following results:
34 winners from 561 runners 6% -350.02 118 placed 21%
Looking at those stats. Group races winners at Royal Ascot tend not to be moving up class.
- Distance Move: Down 4 ½ f to 1f – 17 winners from 136 runners 13% -4.95 38 placed 28%
Runners dropping down in distance from their last race have performed 39% better than market expectations. Interestingly, those dropping back half a furlong are 0 winners from 38 runners -38 8 placed 21%.
Trainers: Royal Ascot Group Races
Aidan O’Brien has trained the most Group winners at the last five Royal Ascots. His total of 17 is seven clear of nearest rival Sir Michael Stoute. However, it’s the latter who provides the punters with more value. Having had 10 winners from 44 runners 23% +26.82 21 placed 48%. Unlike O’Brien, whose Group runners are over-bet, the Stoute runners are performing 29% better than market expectations.
Summary: The three takeaways for me from the Royal Ascot Group race stats are:
- Note runners in the top three in the betting
- Note 3-year-old’s dropping in class from their last run
- Note Sir Michael Stoute runners.
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Have a great Ascot!