Day One of the Royal Ascot Meeting features no less than three Group 1 races, with the top class action underway with the first race of the day in the Queen Anne Stakes. Two more top class races follow in the King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes before the fringe players get an airing in the remaining three races of the day.
RACE 1: GROUP 1 – QUEEN ANNE STAKES
The Queen Anne Stakes is named after the monarch who first brought racing to the Ascot downs in 1711. The Queen Anne Stakes is the second Group One race run on the first day of the Royal Ascot meeting, and is open to 4-year old and older thoroughbreds.
Run over 1 mile on Ascot Racecourse, the Queen Anne Stakes did not always enjoy the status it has today. The race was originally run as a Group 3 race, before being upgraded to Group Two status in 1984 and subsequently to Group One status in 2003.
The Queen Anne Stakes is amongst the initial Group One races run over 1 mile during the flat racing season. This means punters often have to look to the form of runners during the previous season, in order to find clues regarding their prospects for this race.
The scarcity of information on racehorse form makes the Queen Anne Stakes a notoriously tricky race to bet on. Inexperienced punters will benefit from keeping track of betting and odds in the ante-post betting markets, which are opened up several days prior to the race.
The Queen Anne Stakes is one of the few races at the Royal Ascot meeting where punters stand to gain from backing a particular trainer. Sir Michael Stoute and Saeed bin Suroor won the Queen Anne Stakes exclusively between them from 1996 to 2003, which indicates that punters should pay special attention to these trainers’ entries in their betting.
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RACE 2: THE COVENTRY STAKES
The Coventry Stakes is a group 2 flat race run as part of the annual Royal Ascot meeting in June. One of the fastest races run at the Royal Ascot meeting, the Coventry Stakes is run over a distance of 6 furlongs on Ascot Racecourse by 2 year old thoroughbred racehorses.
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RACE 3: GROUP 1 – THE KING’S STAND STAKES
The King’s Stand Stakes is a group one flat race run during the annual Royal Ascot meeting in June. The race is run over a distance of 5 furlongs on Ascot Racecourse, and is regarded as part of the Global Sprint Challenge, along with the Lightning Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes.
Entry to the King’s Stand Stakes is restricted to 3 year old and older racehorses, and is one of the wealthiest races run at the Royal Ascot meeting.
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RACE 4: GROUP 1 – ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES
The St. James Palace stakes is the first of the Group One races run at the Royal Ascot meeting. Named after the royal family’s Tudor residence, the St. James’s Palace Stakes was first run as part of the Royal Ascot meeting in 1834.
The St. James’s Palace Stakes is open only to 3-year old thoroughbred colts. The race is run over the distance of 1 mile, and first attained Group One status in 1988. The race is recognised as one of the most challenging stayer’s races on the flat racing calendar and boasts a purse of £250,000.
The St. James’s Palace Stakes is the betting highlight of the first day of the Royal Ascot meeting. As a feature race, the St. James’s Palace Stakes offers some good ante-post betting opportunities, as well as some big, active betting markets for punters interested in pool betting.
The ante-post odds for the St. James’s Palace stakes are a useful guideline for punters placing bets on this race, however, the accuracy of the betting markets tends to diminish as the more casual racing fans begin putting money into race.
The busy St. James’s Palace Stakes betting markets frequently translate into good betting special offers from some of the United Kingdom’s most reputable bookmakers. Punters will almost always benefit from looking out for bookmakers offering payout on extra places in each way betting.
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RACE 5: THE ASCOT STAKES
The Ascot Stakes is a class 2 handicap flat race run annually at the Royal Ascot meeting in June. Covering a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs, the Ascot Stakes is one of the longest races at the Royal Ascot meeting, and is open to 4 year old and older thoroughbreds.
Pre race odds give little indication of true form in the Ascot Stakes. In fact this is one race to speculate on higher priced runners, as only one racehorse priced under 20/1 has won the Ascot Stakes during the past five years.
Long distance experience is useful for runners participating in the Ascot Stakes, and horses without wins over distances greater than a mile are unlikely to last the distance.
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RACE 6: THE WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES
The Windsor Castle Stakes is a listed race run over a distance of 5 furlongs. The race is run annually at the Royal Ascot meeting in June, with entry restricted to 2 year old thoroughbred racehorses. The Windsor Castle Stakes is known to attract smaller fields than other sprint events at the Royal Ascot meeting.
With the exception of Flashmans Paper’s exceptional remarkable 100/1 win in the 2008 Windsor Castle Stakes, long odds runners tend to perform poorly in the race. Short odds runners consistently show or place in the Windsor Castle Stakes, making place betting a good betting option for the race.
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