Attended by the great and the good of high society, and featuring iconic races like the Gold Cup, Royal Ascot is no ordinary sporting event. But you don’t have to invest in a fancy hat to get a taste of the action. The UK’s best bookmakers provide plenty of ways to bet on the races, wherever you happen to be. Here are some markets that might catch your interest.
It almost goes without saying that the most popular betting market involves picking the winners of the races, from the Queen Anne Stakes to the Gold Cup.
A safer alternative to just betting on the potential winner is to place an each-way bet, where you’ll get a return if your chosen horse either wins OR places in a certain position.
To Place Only
Rather than betting on a horse to win, this market lets you play things much safer by predicting whether a horse will place second, third or fourth (the options will vary depending on the race).
This is a fascinating market where you’ll have to guess which two horses will come first and second (forecast bet) or which three horses will come first, second and third (tricast bet). They have to be in the right order, so it’s a real test of both luck and knowledge.
This market focuses on just two horses out of all the runners – you’ll bet on which of the pair will do better than the other, regardless of anything else that happens in the race.
What if the favourite was removed from the equation? That’s what happens in this market, where you’ll be considered a winner if your chosen horse ends up coming second to the favourite.
The Queen’s Hat
No, this isn’t some bizarrely named racing bet. Many bookies really will take bets on what colour hat the Queen will wear on a given day at Royal Ascot. It’s a reminder of just how flamboyant this event is.
Whether you call it in-running betting or just live betting, this is a thrilling way to wager on the races at Royal Ascot. Simply put, it means putting down money after the horses have already begun charging around the course. As you might imagine, it’s a pretty volatile market that requires split-second judgment calls.
In-running betting can bring certain benefits – say you want to put money on a certain horse, but are concerned about its reputation for missing the break. Well, with the in-running option you can wait and see if it does get off to a satisfying start before you bet (though the odds will then obviously get shorter). Alternatively, if a favourite starts to flag mid-race, its odds may lengthen – meaning that a bet at this point would give you a bigger return if it speeds up and ultimately wins.
Put an each-way bet a horse that looks increasingly certain to neither win or place in the top three? Well, with the cash out option you can salvage the situation. By cashing out, you’ll be drawing whatever winnings are available based on the odds at that moment, even before the outcome is certain. Think of it as a way of cutting your losses. Equally, you could cash out if your runner is ahead, but you suspect it might get overtaken in the seconds to come.
Like the thought of increasing potential returns on lower-risk bets? Then you’ll want to look into accumulator, or acca, bets. With these, you’ll be stacking together different selections on the same slip. The odds will be multiplied if they all come good, which makes accas a more lucrative way to bet on favourites which have short odds during Royal Ascot week.
The thing you have to bear in mind is that one losing selection will likely render the whole acca void. But, on the plus side, top UK bookies can offer acca insurance, meaning you’ll get your stake returned as free bets if you do miss out on the win.
Grab a Bankroll Boost
Welcome bonuses are a hugely important consideration for many punters. Among the popular sign-up incentives offered by UK betting sites are:
- Matched deposit bonuses, where a percentage of your first deposit will be matched by the bookie up to a maximum cap (for example, “100% up to £150”)
- Free bets, where placing the first bet at qualifying odds will unlock an amount in free bet credits (for example, “£30 in free bets if you bet £10”)
With any kind of welcome bonus, you should always take the time to check the small print, as there may be wagering requirements, minimum odds requirements, and set timeframes which you have to bet the bonus funds by.
Bet With the Hottest New Promos
The world of UK betting sites is so competitive that the top bookies will regularly roll out promotions to keep their customers loyal. Here are some you can take advantage of:
- Money-back offers, where – if you make a losing bet – you’ll have some or all of your stake given back as free bets
- Enhanced odds, where the bookie will boost certain odds in your favour for a short time, making it suddenly far more lucrative to bet on favourites to win
The process of paying into your account is simple, as the top UK betting sites will ensure all the main methods are supported. These include:
- Visa and Mastercard debit cards
- Bank transfer
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Bet From the Palm of Your Hand
Royal Ascot is an epic meeting spanning several action-packed days. Luckily, you won’t have to stay glued to your computer to place bets on various races. Instead, you can just navigate onto your betting site using your mobile device’s web browser, sign in and bet whenever you like. Or, if your site has one available, you can download its native app onto your phone or table. With this, you can tap and have a flutter with minimum fuss, and you’ll also be given push notifications alerting you to the latest promotions.
Royal Ascot Betting Tips
There’s a lot going on at Royal Ascot, so planning ahead is key. Look at the various races and form a strategy on how much you’re willing to bet across how many races. Some, like the Gold Cup, hog a lot of the hype, but there are plenty of other races for you to research. Look into the runners – their ages, recent form in other races, and also their track form. Are they Ascot veterans, and if so, do they have an affinity for the course, or does it not suit their style? You’ll also want to be wary of getting swept up in the hype over superstar jockeys and highly-touted horses, and instead, research which runners have up-and-coming trainers and ambitious young jockeys – these could represent longshots worth betting on. Keep a cool head, keep an eye on the stats, and you’ll be in a great position to bet during the frenzy of Royal Ascot.
Other Major Horse Racing Events
Royal Ascot may be one of the jewels of the sporting calendar, but there are some other big, lavish horse racing events to look forward to every year. These include:
- The Grand National (Aintree, April)
- The Cheltenham Festival (Cheltenham Racecourse, March)
- Glorious Goodwood (Goodwood, July)
- The Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs, May)
- The Melbourne Cup (Flemington, November)
The History of Royal Ascot
Ascot is a long-cherished British institution. The racecourse itself was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, who – as the story goes – was out riding one day when she happened to spot the ideal site for “horses to gallop at full stretch”. Over the generations, Royal Ascot has hosted some true legends of the sport, both of the human and equine variety. The great jockey Lester Piggott holds the stunning record of 116 victories at Royal Ascot, while the Irish Thoroughbred Yeats boasts the record for most Ascot Gold Cup wins in succession (four).
Of course, Royal Ascot has also seen its share of dramatic upsets which would have had lucky punters punching the air with glee. Take the shocking victory of Nando Parrado in 2020’s Coventry Stakes. The 150/1 longshot would have provided a stunning windfall for anyone lucky enough to have bet on him, being one of the biggest-priced winners in the history of Royal Ascot.
All Set to Bet on Royal Ascot?
With such a large number of races to tempt you, Royal Ascot is a feast for anyone who fancies a flutter. Check out the list of the UK’s best Royal Ascot bookies, selected by our team of industry experts, and sign up now!
Frequently Asked Questions
This famed event unfolds in June each year.
It is safe, as long as you wager with betting sites licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. These are the only kinds of bookies we’ll ever recommend, so you can be sure you’ll be dealing with operators that abide by fair play practices and keep customer details secure.
Betting tips are everywhere online, and it can be tempting to believe over-inflated claims of clairvoyance. But always take them with a big pinch of salts – tips are at best a good research tool, and not a magical guarantee of gambling success.