Royal Ascot 2018 Betting
Royal Ascot 2018 is full of some of the season’s biggest betting races, headed by the Wokingham Stakes, a thirty-runner sprint worth over £100,000 in prize money to the winner.
Betting on horse racing can be confusing to the novice, so the betting experts at Timeform have constructed this simple guide to help you back a winner.
The simplest types of bets are win-only bets, these are exactly what the name suggests – your bet will only return money if your selection wins the race. For shorter-priced horses this type of bet can be the best option. Each-way betting is a slightly safer option in that you will still get a return on your money whether your horse wins or places (finishes in the top two, three, or four, depending on the total number of runners in the race). The downside is that your stake will be doubled; one bet is to win, the other to place.
For those serious about picking winners, betting comes down to one simple philosophy: to win in the long run, you must back horses that you think will outrun the odds offered by the bookmaker.
Betting on Course
The main bookmaker stands are located in front of the Grandstand at Ascot, and they operate in much the same way as a typical high-street or online bookmaker would, offering fractional fixed-price odds on boards above their stalls. One thing to note is that many of the bookies will have a minimum bet amount, which for most is £5 these days.
Once you have selected your horse and bet type, you have to let your chosen bookmaker know which horse, your bet type and the amount you want to place. Be sure to use the number of the horse to avoid confusion (which is on the race card and also next to the horses name on the board), so a betting request would go something like this: "Number 5, £10 to win". You will then get a betting slip printed once you’ve successfully made your bet. Be sure to check this is correct before leaving the queue!
After the race if you have been lucky enough to have picked a winner or placed horse, you must return to the same bookmaker that you placed your bet with- the name of the bookmaker will be written on your slip, to make this easier. Remember: do not throw away your betting slip until the result is confirmed and you here the announcement that the jockeys have "weighed in", as even if your horse did not cross the line first, results can be altered after the race in a stewards’ enquiry.
Betting on the Tote
While at Royal Ascot you may notice many Tote betting facilities around the course. These operate under a different system compared with the traditional fixed-odds bookmakers. In a tote system, all bets are put into a ‘pool’. Then, once the result is known, the pool (minus the operator’s takeout) is divided between all winning bets. This means that a bet with the Tote can return a significantly different amount than the same bet with a traditional bookmaker. In general, the punter is usually better off with the bookmaker on favourites and with the Tote on longer-priced horses.
Many people enjoy playing the Tote Placepot, which is a daily prize pool taking place over the first six races of each the day at Royal Ascot. The aim of the Placepot is to pick a horse that finishes in the places (which, as we’ve mentioned already, varies depending on the field size and race type) for the first six races on the card. As with other Tote bets, the total prize pool is divided up between the total number of winning tickets. The pay-out can vary hugely on the Placepot, though at big meetings like Royal Ascot the dividends are normally high: on Ladies’ Day in 2014, for example, it paid £1376 to a £1 stake.
Similar to the Tote Placepot is the Tote Jackpot, which operates in the same format apart from you must find the winner of the first six races, not just placed horses. Naturally this makes it a lot harder to win and so the pay-out is higher than a Placepot. If you like the sound of either type of Tote bet, make sure you pick up a specialised betting slip at one of the Tote facilities on course at Royal Ascot but remember your bet must be placed before the start of the first race.
Ante-Post betting is when you place a bet far in advance of an event occurring. The betting markets for some of the main Royal Ascot races will open up months in advance, allowing punters to take advantage often much bigger prices than will be available on the day.
Although ante-post betting can be high reward, as bets struck when there are more unknowns tend to be more lucrative, it is also one of the riskiest types of bets due to the fact that so much can change in the build up to the race.
Some bookmakers do offer non-runner money back (NRMB) betting markets for some ante-post markets, meaning that if your horse does not show up in the event in question for whatever reason then you will get your money back as a free bet or cash, depending on the specific offer.
Betting on the Exchanges
Online betting exchanges are a system first introduced by Betfair in which you can make a bet against another punter, who "lays" your bet. Although this may sound complicated it is made very simple by the likes of Betfair’s online interface. It is also worth noting that you can often get much better odds on horses when backing them on the exchanges compared with traditional bookies.
Betting exchanges also allow in-running betting, meaning you can bet on a horse during the race, though this takes some experience and it is therefore not normally advised for beginners.
Special bets for Royal Ascot can be found in bookmakers, online or in shops, and offer something a little different to the traditional win and each-way bets. These bets can include things like Top Royal Ascot Trainer, Top Royal Ascot Jockey and even extend to slightly less conventional bets such as the market for what colour the Queen’s hat will be on a given day.