Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 14th June 2014

Racing UK

Five principles to follow during Royal Ascot

This will be Racing UK’s first Royal Ascot, and no doubt everyone is excited.  What a dream team line-up to bring you all the news, views and features across the five days and don’t forget to check out the website daily for pointers. 

The remit for this posting is to formulate five golden principles of betting at the Royal meeting. 

Principle one:

The punting landscape has changed so much across the 25 years that I have been legally allowed to have a bet. Progress and technology has provided us with much more choice, yet at times there very little discrepancy in prices, if at all. It’s at these times that perhaps its best to exercise patience, a bit of discipline and wait for each day in turn when the multitude of offers will be available from the Racing UK partners.

These offers are all generally drawn up to lure us in, but there will be some gems. It’s crucial to pinpoint the all-important beneficial place terms as there will be big-field handicaps where the first five places ought to be on offer, while on some of the big-field two-year-old races you could find the first four places on offer. It is imperative to keep an eye out.

Principle two:

Much of the last few weeks have been dusting off the stats for Royal Ascot, updating them with the 2014 equine competitors and their previous races. For instance, runners who took part in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury have a great record in the Queen Anne Stakes, the opening race of the meeting. 

A run in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, or a Group One performance just before the King’s Stand often lead to success. A win in the Guineas at Newmarket or the Curragh is almost mandatory if you want to land the St James’s Palace StakesDerby runners are best ignored in the King Edward VII Stakes, while the same applies for the Epsom Oaks in the Ribblesdale Stakes, even though I’m tempted to back Inchila, who was fifth at Epsom, even though the statistics are against her. 

Principle Three:

Trends are particularly strong at Royal Ascot, assisted by the fact the best horses all converge for the best meeting. Overseas raiders must be given the utmost respect, quite simply they travel across the globe because they are the best.  

In 2012 overseas raiders won 11 of the 30 races, last year they may have only plundered eight but other than Animal Kingdom’s disappointment this was probably more than expected.  Obviously Treve in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday is the headline act this year, but don’t ignore Miss France if she turns up in the Coronation Stakes on Friday, Vazira in the Ribblesdale on Thursday and even Altano, who is almost trading at single figures for the Ascot Gold Cup on the same day. Wesley Ward now targets this meeting, and has brought six juveniles from America, while South African Mike De Kock with run two. 

Principle Four:

Favourites have had a torrid time in the juvenile races over the past two seasons.  

In 2012 and 2013 not one favourite won a two-year-old race at Royal Ascot, yet prior to that favourites were a staple diet in the Coventry Stakes

It’s in the Group One events where it is prudent not to stray outside the first three in the betting.  Six of the last 14 favourites have won the Group One races at Royal Ascot. 

It is important to focus on horses with no worse than a third placed finish last time out and in the Group One races there is a need to have won or at least performed at that level previously. 

All will be revealed in my daily stats but to give you a head start it’s those key factors which are best to focus on. 

Principle five:

Trainers and jockeys. This year it could well prove profitable to follow Sir Michael Stoute. He is the currently the winning-most trainer at the meeting with 68. 

He has Abseil in the Royal Hunt Cup, Arab Spring engaged with Telescope in the Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday, Cannock Chase in the Tercentenary Stakes, Radiator in the Sandringham Handicap or Coronation Stakes. With Gospel Choir also a possible for the Hardwicke and Top Tug in the King George V Handicap there is indication enough that the 7-1 the master of Freemason Lodge to be top trainer is rather large. With Richard Hannon and/or John Gosden likely to land a win early doors on Tuesday, however, it may be best to wait until after the first few races and then pitch in as Stoute could be trading at double figures by then. Another to keep an eye on is Dermot Weld - there have been gambles landed on his horses in recent years and maybe Flying Jib in the Sandringham fits the bill, but he also has four in the Ribblesdale! 

As for a jockey to look out for, James Doyle made Royal Ascot his own on Wednesday last year with a treble. He is now boosted by the fact he will be riding for Khalid Abdullah, which means he’ll ride Abseil, Radiator and Kingman in the St James’s Palace Stakes to name a few. The 20-1 with William Hill seems huge.

As I fancy Sir Michael Stoute to have a good meeting it would be folly to ignore Ryan Moore, prior to Johnny Murtagh’s win last year he had been top jockey at the meeting three years on the bounce.

With 30 races across the five days it really isn’t necessary to bet on every race – that’s what the Placepot is for.

My only proper bet at this stage is Cannock Chase, but I’ll be dabbling on many others throughout the week so don’t forget to check out the website here every day from Monday. 

I spent a glorious Friday at Lord’s. Joe Root raised his bat in acknowledgement to the Mound, Edrich, Grandstand and the pavilion thanks to a double century. The first Test at Lords is an indication enough that summer is here.  And the immense sporting action is relentless. 

Currently I’m immersed in Test cricket, US Open Golf and the World Cup from Brazil - example enough that you can be drawn into too much without concentrating on any one sport properly. That is a sure-fire rocky road to betting oblivion! Racing needs to realise the battle it faces when taking on such heavyweight attractions within the sporting world. 

I was sat at Lord’s all day but I could have done with soaking myself with more sun cream.  Vast quantities of after sun have been purchased subsequently. I’ll be at Lord’s again on Saturday, and will be anticipating the strange looks when producing the Weekender, Racing Post and now my iPad from my backpack.  All tools of the trade in order to research facts and figures for Royal Ascot.

Have a good weekend and I’ll be back on Monday.