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Ascot Tips

How to pick a winner at Royal Ascot

14th - 18th June

Royal Ascot 2017 will take place at the historic Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire, from 20th June to 24th June. It features several of the flat horse racing season’s most important races, including the St James’s Palace Stakes (20th June), Ascot Gold Cup (22nd June) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes (24th June). There are 30 races at the festival, offering plenty of opportunity for punters to get one over the bookies.

As one of the world’s most important horse racing festivals, there will be no end of tips for Royal Ascot 2017. Only the best horses on the flat will take their spots at the festival, with each certainly capable of landing the win. However, there are certain key trends that can point to your Ascot bet selection having success. You should be looking at a variety of factors, including form, trainer, jockey and even the weather.

Below is an explanation of some of the factors you should be looking at before placing a bet on the Royal Ascot races:

Tip 1 - Don’t Dismiss the Form Guide

Form is the most important indicator for your horse’s chances of success. Very rarely do horses succeed at Ascot without having demonstrated some good performances leading up to the festival. Each of one of the feature race winners at the 2016 festival had won at least once in their previous two races. The 2016 Gold Cup Winner, Order of St George, had won his previous four races before triumphing at Ascot last year.

Worth Noting: Royal Ascot is an international event. Tepin, the winner of the 2016 Queen Anne Stakes, had never raced in Europe before that win. He was 6-1 with most bookmakers, but the US version of the tote had him at half those odds. Clearly, those on the other side of the Atlantic knew the class of the horse.

Tip 2 - Good Jockeys are Worth their Weight in Gold

Champion horses are like Formula One cars – you want the best driver in the seat. Ryan Moore was criticised for his positioning in the early part of the week last year. He showed his true class though by riding six winners overall by the end of the festival. Jockeys like Moore and Frankie Dettori have proved time and time again that they can handle the pressure of Royal Ascot. As a consequence, the owners of the best horses will be champing at the bit to get them in the saddle for the big races.

Worth Noting: Moore and Dettori won one third of all races at Royal Ascot between them last year. In 2017 they are likely to get the pick of some of the best rides once again.

Tip 3 - Back a Trainer with that Magic Touch

A winning racehorse is a mixture of nature and nurture. Clearly the horse must have some innate talent to win at Ascot, but the hand of a top trainer will make a good horse a great horse. Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle Racing Stables is a recent example of a trainer delivering big race winners time and time again. His horses won seven of the 30 races at last year’s Royal Ascot, quite the achievement given the opposition at such a prestigious festival.

Worth Noting: Trainers and jockeys often form formidable partnerships. Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore are an example of a partnership with a high strike (win) rate.

Tip 4 - Big Race Records are a Crucial Indicator

Because of the class at Ascot, many of the horses will have contested important races before. Big race pedigree will not only show that your horse has the speed and stamina to beat a stellar field, but also the temperament to handle the occasion. Performing in front of 70,000 fans is different than performing in the training yard, some horses can handle the change of atmosphere better than others.

Worth Noting: The last two winners of the 2000 Guineas (Gleneagles and Galileo Gold) both went on to win the St James’s Palace Stakes in the same year.

Tip 5 - Always Check the Going

The opening day of Royal Ascot last year was marked by heavy rainfall. This clearly would have an impact on the track. Some horses take to the wet and soft ground better than others. Some trainers will remove their horses from a race if they think the ground will hamper their chances of victory. Race cards and full results will always provide information on the going. It is always worth checking how your selection performs on different ground before placing your Ascot bets.

Worth Noting: Tepin had won a Group 1 contest (in the USA) on soft ground before contesting and winning the Queen Anne Stakes 2016.

Tip 6 - Have a Look at the HRI/BHA Rating

If you don’t have time to research every aspect of your selection, don’t worry someone has already done it for you. A race card will provide the horse’s rating. This will come from HRI (Horse Racing Ireland) or BHA (British Horse Racing Authority). These ranking systems take in a number of factors, including wins in major races. If your selection has made steady progress up the rankings, you may be on to a good thing.

Worth Noting: Order of St George and Churchill are both currently ranked in the top five of HRI ratings.

Get all the information you need to bet on Royal Ascot 2017 at William Hill

You can find much of the above information online at William Hill. Each race at Ascot will have a race card, providing a breakdown of the form, jockey, trainer, going and much more. Find tips on your race card from experts at the Racing Post, or share your own tips with other punters on our Tip Advisor service. For a more detailed analysis and race discussion, listen to William Hill Racing Podcasts and Radio. Place your bets on Royal Ascot with the bookmaker that gives you unbeatable racing coverage – William Hill.

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