Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot 2023: Everything you need to know in our ultimate guide

Royal Ascot flags
Get set for Royal Ascot 2023 with our ultimate guide

We're just under two weeks away from the start of the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting, so here with his ultimate guide, including day-by-day schedule, major races, ante-post betting, Ascot history and even his favourite horse, is our big racing fan Mike Norman...

  • Day-by-Day schedule to this year's Royal Ascot

  • Links to all ante-post races that are priced up

  • A history of Royal Ascot

  • How to bet, top jockey/trainer advice and favourite horse

  • Check out our 2023 Royal Ascot HUB

2023 Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot 2023 is a five-day horse racing meeting regarded as the highlight and most prestigious meeting in the Flat season calendar for UK and Ireland horse racing.

It takes place annually in June at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire, with this year's Royal Ascot commencing on Tuesday 20 June and lasting for five days up to Saturday 24 June.

There are 35 Royal Ascot races in total with each of the five days consisting of seven races, with the first race on each day starting at 14:30 and the final race due to commence at 18:10.

The main, and most prestigious, races in the Royal Ascot schedule are called Group races, categorised as Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 contests with the former being the most high profile.

The other types of races in the schedule are either Stakes/Listed contests or Handicaps, which are often fiercely competitive affairs with maximum field numbers.

Each race over the five days will finish on the same strip of turf in the home straight, but Ascot has two courses, a straight course and a round course (see below).

All races over 5f, 6f and 7f are contested on the straight course, races over 1m are done on either the straight or round course, and all races beyond 1m are contested on the round course.


The 2023 Royal Ascot HUB

If you're looking for tips for a specific day or to back ante-post, visit our Royal Ascot HUB where you'll find insight, previews, tipping columns and much more in the lead up to, and during Royal Ascot 2023.

Royal Ascot Day-by-Day Schedule

  • Day 1: Tuesday 20 June (click here for Day 1 betting)
  • Day 2: Wednesday 21 June (click here for Day 2 betting)
  • Day 3 : Thursday 22 June (click here for Day 3 betting)
  • Day 4: Friday 23 June (click here for Day 4 betting)
  • Day 5 : Saturday 24 June (click here for Day 5 betting)

Day 1 Royal Ascot Races

*Tuesday's race schedule:

14:30 Queen Anne Stakes - 1m Sportsbook Exchange
15:05 Coventry Stakes - 6f Sportsbook Exchange
15:40 Kings Stand Stakes - 5f Sportsbook Exchange
16:20 St James' Palace Stakes - 1m Sportsbook Exchange
17:00 Ascot Stakes - 2m4f N/A N/A
17:35 Wolferton Stakes - 1m2f N/A N/A
18:10 Copper Horse Handicap - 1m6f N/A N/A

The 2023 Royal Ascot meeting gets off to a bang with a spectacular day one card featurng three Group 1 races and a Group 2 contest.

Multiple Group 1 winner Modern Games is the early favourite to win the Queen Anee Stakes at 14:30 but he is likely to face stiff competiton from top class filly Inspiral who will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing run on British Champions Day late last year.

Watch our Racing... Only Bettor Royal Ascot Preview now...

The Group 2 Coventry Stakes at 15:05 looks set to be a warm order with the early favourites being the unbeaten pair of Asadna and River Tiber, both of who were stunningly impressive on their racecourse debuts.

The Group 1 Kings Stand Stakes at 15:40 is a highly competitive 5f sprint that pits together the best sprinters from around the world, most notably Australia, before the England and Irish 2,000 Guineas winners - Chaldean and Paddington - hopefully lock horns in the Group 1 St James' Palace Stakes at 16:20.

Day 2 Royal Ascot Races

*Wednesday's race schedule:

14:30 Queen Mary Stakes - 5f Sportsbook N/A
15:05 Queen's Vase - 1m6f N/A N/A
15:40 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes - 1m Sportsbook Exchange
16:20 Prince Of Wales' Stakes - 1m2f Sportsbook Exchange
17:00 Royal Hunt Cup - 1m Sportsbook Exchange
17:35 Windosr Castle Stakes - 5f N/A N/A
18:10 Kensington Palace Fillies' Handicap - 1m N/A N/A

The fillies get day two started with the Queen Mary Stakes at 14:30, a race where currently there isn't an oustanding candidate, though watch out for anything American trainer Wesley Ward sends over.

The feature race on day two is the Prince Of Wales' Stakes at 16:20, a 1m2f contests for the best older horses (4yo+) in training, and we look set for a cracker with last year's Derby winner Desert Crown - to be ridden by Frankie Dettori - against the likes of Adayar, Bay Bridge and Luxembourg.

For many though, the best race on Wednesday is the Royal Hunt Cup at 17:00, an ultra-competitive 1m Handicap on the straight course that will feature the maximum field size of 30 runners.

It's often an incredibly tough puzzle to solve where the draw can play an important part in the outcome, with the race often splitting into three groups of runners; far side, near side and down the middle, meaning working out where the pace is likely to be could pay dividends.

Day 3 Royal Ascot Races

*Thursday's race schedule:

14:30 Norfolk Stakes - 5f Sportsbook Exchange
15:05 King George V Stakes - 1m4f N/A N/A
15:40 Ribblesdale Stakes - 1m4f Sportsbook Exchange
16:20 Ascot Gold Cup - 2m4f Sportsbook Exchange
17:00 Britannia Stakes - 1m N/A N/A
17:35 Hampton Court Stakes - 1m2f N/A N/A
18:10 Buckingham Palace Stakes - 7f N/A N/A

Day three at Royal Ascot - also known as Ladies Day, or in some quarters Gold Cup day - commences with another 2yo sprint, the Norfolk Stakes at 14:30 where we look set for an exciting clash between two horses that have shown tremendous speed in their early careers, Elite Status from the UK and American Rascal, representing Wesley Ward from the USA.

The Ribblesdale at 15:40 is an early chances to see Epsom Oaks contenders back in action, and we could get a rematch between the first two home at Epsom, Soul Sister and Savethelastdance.

Don't forget to check out our superb Royal Ascot HUB for tips, previews, insight, odds, podcasts and much more.

But for many, the feature race on day four, and possibly of the whole week, is the Ascot Gold Cup at 16:20, a race that dates back all the way to 1807.

Sadly, last year's winner Kyprios has been ruled out for the season due to injury, meaning we'll have a new name on the famous trophy this year. That name could well be the rapidly improving Coltrane who heads the ante-post betting, but watch out for whatever Aidan O'Brien sends over.

The genius Irish trainer has won the Ascot Gold Cup eight times since 2006 and is likely to have multiple runners this year as he bids to win it for the ninth time in his career.

Day 4 Royal Ascot Races

*Friday's race schedule:

14:30 Albany Stakes - 6f Sportsbook N/A
15:05 King Edward VII Stakes - 1m4f Sportsbook Exchange
15:40 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes - 1m4f N/A N/A
16:20 Commonwealth Cup - 6f Sportsbook Exchange
17:00 Coronation Stakes - 1m Sportsbook Exchange
17:35 Sandringham Stakes - 1m N/A N/A
18:10 Palace Of Holyroad House Stakes - 5f N/A N/A

Epsom Derby winner Auguste Rodin could be back in action on day four of Royal Ascot as he's the ante-post favourite to win the King Edward VII Stakes at 15:05, but all eyes will be on a potential rematch between the first and second in this year's 1,000 Guineas in the Coronation Stakes at 17:00.

Mawj beat Tahiyra at Newmarket, but the pair pulled well clear of the rest suggesting they are two high class fillies. Tahiyra has since won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and is the marginal favourite in the ante-post betting to beat Mawj at Royal Ascot.

The Commonwealth Cup at 16:20 is the highlight of day four, and we have a strong favourite in the form of the Aidan O'Brien trained Little Big Bear. A flop in the 2,000 Guineas, he stepped back to 6f in a Group 2 at Haydock last time to win in the style of a top class sprinter.

Day 5 Royal Ascot Races

*Saturday's race schedule:

14:30 Chesham Stakes - 7f N/A N/A
15:05 Jersey Stakes - 7f N/A N/A
15:40 Hardwicke Stakes - 1m4f Sportsbook Exchange
16:20 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes - 6f Sportsbook Exchange
17:00 Wokingham Stakes - 6f Sportsbook Exchange
17:35 Golden Gates Stakes - 1m2f N/A N/A
18:10 Queen Alexandra Stakes - 2m6f N/A N/A

The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot commences with a couple of 7f races, namely the Chesham Stakes for 2yo's and the Jersey Stakes for 3yo's.

However it's the two 6f races on the card that will capture the attention of most punters with the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at 16:20 preceding the Wokingham at 17:00.

The former is a Group 1 sprint that will feature the best sprinters in UK & Ireland potentially against the fastest horses Australia and USA have to offer.

Read Royal Ascot news, build-up, thoughts on the day's rides, and top tips from our Betfair Ambassador and tipsters Ryan Moore, Tony Calvin, Kevin Blake

And don't forget our newest tipster Daryl Carter who has taken an antepost look at the Royal Ascot favourites here, and a look at the Royal Ascot longshots here.

The Wokingham is one of the biggest handicaps in the calendar for sprinters, and like the Royal Hunt Cup is raced on the straight course with a maximum field of 30 runners, will be ultra-competitive and the runners will be spread right across the track meaning the draw could have a significant say in the outcome.

Royal Ascot 2023 will conclude with the longest race of the whole week,the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is just a few furlongs shy of three miles. Watch out for National Hunt trainers Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson among others, who like to have a runner in the race.

Royal Ascot - A brief history

Regarded as the most prestigious meeting of the Flat season, Royal Ascot is a place where every owner, trainer and jockey wants to have a winner.

Incredibly, Ascot racecourse has been in exsistence since 1711 when Queen Anne declared that the terrain looked ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch. However it wasn't until 1768 that the first Royal Ascot meeting took place.

Jockeys were allowed to wear whatever attire they wanted until in 1783 they were instructed to wear the colours that represented their owners to make knowing the outcome of a race a lot clearer.

The Ascot Gold Cup was first raced in 1807 and was won by a horse called Master Jackey, and just 18 years later the race was successfully defended for the first time when Bizarre won the race for the second consecutive year. The same year, 1825, was the first time a Royal Procession was carried out, ordered by King George IV.

In 1873, aged just 16-years-old, Fred Archer rode his first Royal Ascot winner, though there is no reference to which race he won. Up until his death at the age of just 29, Archer rode 80 Royal Ascot winners and had 2,748 career wins, and has since been described as "the best all-round jockey that the turf has ever seen".

After winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham at the start of 1928, Brown Jack was switched to the Flat and won the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting in the same year. Incredibly, he would then win the next six renewals of the Queen Alexandra Stakes making him the only horse in history to win at seven consecutive Royal Ascot meetings.

In 1952 legandary jockey Lester Piggott won his first ever Royal Ascot race and 41 years later he rode his final Royal Ascot winner. His 116 wins at the meeting is a record that still stands today.

One of the greatest performances by a horse at Royal Ascot was achieved in 2009 when Yeats won the Ascot Gold Cup for the fourth year in succession. To recognise this achievement, Ascot racecourse unveiled a statue of Yeats in 2011 for arguably one of the greatest stayers of all time.

One of Royal Ascot's most abiding memories, even more poignant since her passing in 2022, was when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II won the Ascot Gold Cup with her horse Estimate in 2013. It was the first time in the race's long history that it was won be a serving monarch.

In 2015 Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore created more history by becoming the first jockey to win nine races at a single Royal Ascot meeting, and just last year he won the top rider of the meeting for the ninth time in his career.

*Timeline of significant events

1768 - First ever Royal Ascot four-day race meeting
1783 - Jockeys first instructed to wear colours of their horse's owners
1807 - Inaugural running of the Ascot Gold Cup
1825 - First ever Royal Procession, ordered by King George IV
1840 - An 11-year-old boy rides in the Wokingham Stakes
1873 - First Royal Ascot winner for riding phenomenon Fred Archer
1910 - Black Ascot - all racegoers wear black after death of King Edward VII
1920 - Helen Vernet becomes first female bookmaker at Royal Ascot
1934 - Brown Jack wins at Royal Ascot for the seventh consecutive year
1952 - Legendary jockey Lester Piggott wins his first ever Royal Ascot race
1993 - Piggott rides his 116th and final Royal Ascot winner
2003 - Australian sprinter Choisir wins King's Stand & Golden Jubilee Stakes
2009 - Yeats wins his fourth Ascot Gold Cup in a row
2013 - Queen Elizabeth II wins the Ascot Gold Cup with her horse Estimate
2015 - Ryan Moore rides a record nine winners at a single Royal Ascot
2020 - Meeting staged behind closed doors due to Covid-19 pandemic
2022 - Ryan Moore becomes leading jockey at meeting for ninth time

Betting on the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting

There are many ways you can bet on the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting, either on the Betfair Exchange or on the Betfair Sportsbook, with the most popular and traditional way being to back on individual races via either win or each-way bets.

Many of the 35 Royal Ascot races are now priced up for ante-post purposes, both on the Exchange and Sportsbook.

The 'day of the race' markets typically appear around 48 hours before racing should you want to wait until the final declarations (runners and riders) are known.

Betfair Safer Gambling: A range of tools to help

Betfair is committed to safer gambling and here you can find out about the tools that help you set your budget, keep track of your spend, take a break when you need it, and more. Click here for full details.

And you don't just have to back singles. You can include more than one selection in what is called a multiple.

A selection in two different races combined in a multiple is called a double, three races it's a treble, and four or more races is often referred to as an acca (accumulator).

Closer to the races Betfair will be enhancing odds on certain horses, enhancing the place terms for each-way betting on some races (6 places paid instead of 4 for example), and providing plenty of 'specials' which can include a boosted price for a jockey to ride 2+ winners, or a horse to win by over 5 lengths, among many other specials.

Betfair Sportsbook Specials can be found here, while Exchange Specials can be found here.

Don't forget to head over to our 2023 Royal Ascot HUB for ante-post Royal Ascot betting race tips on some of the feature races.

Betting Guides:

For more on how to bet on the Betfair Exchange, check out our comprehensive Betting Guides:

Beginner or Advanced

Royal Ascot Top Jockey/Trainer Betting

Another popular way to bet on the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting is to have a bet in the Royal Ascot Top Jockey or Top Trainer markets, which will appear on the Exchange and Sportsbook in the days leading up to the meeting commencing.

This can be a fun way of having an interest in all 35 races, cheering on the jockey or trainer you have backed in races where they have rides/runners, and hoping that a potential danger to your bet - a jockey or trainer you haven't backed - doesn't win a race in any contest that your selection isn't involved in.

Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore is likely to be a very popular selection to be the top jockey given that he rides for powerful stables - Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O'Brien - from both England and Ireland, while the likes of William Buick and Oisin Murphy will also attract interest.

And who can ever discount Frankie Dettori, who will be riding at his last ever Royal Ascot and is a jockey who is enjoying a superb swansong season so far.

O'Brien is likely to be a very short favourite to be the top trainer, but you can never rule out Stoute - who has 81 Royal Ascot winners to his name, or stables that usually have plenty or runners at the meeting, like Richard Hannon Jr and Charlie Johnston.

*Royal Ascot leading jockey and no. of wins in last five years:

2022 - Ryan Moore (7)
2021 - Oisin Murphy (5)
2020 - Frankie Dettori (6)
2019 - Frankie Dettori (7)
2018 - Ryan Moore (5)

*Royal Ascot leading trainer and no. of wins in last five years:

2022 - Aidan O'Brien (5)
2021 - John & Thady Gosden (4)
2020 - John Gosden (6)
2019 - Aidan O'Brien (5)
2018 - Aidan O'Brien (4)

Royal Ascot Best Horse

We all have our favourite horses from years gone by, and when it comes to Royal Ascot then it's hard to argue that Yeats - four times winner of the meeting's blue riband race, the Ascot Gold Cup - isn't right at the top of the tree.

But for me it's another Gold Cup-winning horse that I absolutely adored as a big racing fan in my early 20s, the Mark Johnston-trained Double Trigger.

A high class middle-distance performer, and winner of the Italian St Leger, as a 3yo, Double Trigger really made a name for himself when stepped up in trip during his 4yo season.

Winner of the Sagaro Stakes and Henry II Stakes early in the season, Double Trigger went to Royal Ascot at the top of his game. Sent off as the 9/43.25 second favourite he would make all the running under jockey Jason Weaver to storm home well clear of favourite Moonax.

Following his Ascot Gold Cup romp Double Trigger was regarded as one of the best stayers in Europe, and he confirmed his brilliance by completing the Stayers' Triple Crown by winning the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups later in the year.

A five-time Group winner in a single season, he was crowned Top European Stayer of 1995, and his lead-from-the-front tactics, often battling hard to fend of challenger after challenger became the hallmark of Mark Johnston-trained stayers.

Double Trigger may only have won one Ascot Gold Cup, but boy was he some stayer when at the top of his game.

Watch our Racing... Only Bettor Royal Ascot Preview now...

*You can follow me on Twitter @MikkyMo73


    New customers only. Bet £10 on the Betfair Sportsbook at odds of min EVS (2.0) and receive £50 in FREE Bet Builders, Accumulators or Multiples to use on any sport. T&Cs apply.

    Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.