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Every year, the British flat horseracing season is headlined by Royal Ascot. This five-day meeting attracts the biggest and best thoroughbreds and the most in-form trainers and jockeys. 

With so many great horses and jockeys putting their records on the line, it’s no surprise that Royal Ascot is one of the biggest revenue drivers in terms of bets both placed in the betting ring and with external bookies. 

Betting at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is viewed on the same level as Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National by UK bookmakers, who typically prepare free horse racing bets for new and existing punters in the days leading up to the event. 

Free bets provide plenty of risk-free opportunities to land winners in any of the eight Group One races scattered across the Royal Ascot racecards. 

Speaking of Group One races, let’s take a peek at the most historic blue riband races staged at Royal Ascot that are guaranteed to offer competitive odds. 

Royal Ascot attracts over 300,000 people through its doors across the five days, many of whom come to watch these headline races. That’s almost 5% of the entire figure of attendees to UK race meetings, which is said to be seven million per year. 

St James’s Palace Stakes 

The St James’s Palace Stakes is the headline race on the first day of Royal Ascot. The one-mile race is reserved exclusively for three-year-old colts and has been raced since 1834. It carries a prize purse of approximately £350,000. 

This race often features horses that ran in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas or even the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. 

Trainer Aidan O’Brien seems to have something of a hold on this event, with eight wins thus far. His most recent came in 2019 with Circus Maximus.  

Prince of Wales’s Stakes 

The following day sees the Prince of Wales’s Stakes become the talk of the paddock. It is the only Group One race of the Wednesday racecard and is open to four-year-olds and above. It carries a prize purse of approximately £700,000, which attracts some serious fillies and mares. 

The race was promoted to Group One status around the turn of the millennium, having been a Group Two race since 1971. Trainers Aidan O’Brien and Michael Stoute have traded first place in recent years, with flat racing jockey icons such as Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore featuring regularly in the winners’ enclosure. 

Gold Cup 

The Gold Cup is one of the most iconic races at Royal Ascot. It’s the premier race of Ladies Day, which is usually the middle day of the festival. The Gold Cup dates back to 1807 and is still one of the most popular races for testing the mettle of the world’s finest flat racing stayers, given its two-and-a-half-mile length. 

The Gold Cup is part of the Stayers’ Triple Crown in British horseracing, which also includes the Doncaster Cup and the Goodwood Cup. 

Like the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Gold Cup is open to thoroughbreds aged four years old and up. 

Coronation Stakes 

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The Coronation Stakes is one of the biggest races for fillies in British horseracing. In fact, it’s reserved solely for three-year-old fillies across the seven-furlong race distance. The race was initially inaugurated to commemorate the coronation of the new British monarch, Queen Victoria. 

It usually contains fillies that have featured in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket or the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Very few fillies have managed to win one of these and the Coronation Stakes in the same season. Alpha Centauri was the last to achieve this feat, landing the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes in 2018. 

With a prize purse of around £425,000, it’s one of the richest pay days on offer for fillies. 

Diamond Jubilee Stakes 

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the headline race on the fifth and final day of racing at Royal Ascot. This six-furlong race is open to four-year-olds and above, boasting an impressive prize purse of £700,000 - almost £400,000 of which is reserved for the lucky winner. 

Interestingly, three-year-old horses from the Southern Hemisphere are also permitted to enter. 

The race has held Group One status since 2002, when it was renamed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. It was amended again in 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. 

Jockey Lester Pigott used to dominate this race, with ten victories to his name. More recently, no jockey or trainer has managed to have the upper hand, suggesting that this race is one of the most open in the entire meeting, with each-way betting opportunities more likely to be the safest plan of attack here.

Another honourable mention goes to the Queen Anne Stakes, which usually opens the first day of Royal Ascot and has been a fruitful race for jockey Frankie Dettori, who has seven victories under his belt.

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