Looking ahead to Royal Ascot 2024

Horse Racing Thursday May 2, 2024 By: Harry Howes

The flat racing season is up and running and with less than two months until Royal Ascot, the anticipation is building. The best horses and jockeys from across the planet are set to go head-to-head in a festival packed full of world class racing.

If you’re joining us in our hospitality areas and are thinking about putting on an early bet or two, we’ve got you covered – here are the early favourites for all the key races at Royal Ascot 2024.

When is Royal Ascot?

It’s almost time for the classiest horse racing festival of the calendar. Royal Ascot gets underway on Tuesday 18th June, with punters dressing to impress while hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal family.

With five days of spectacular horse racing action to look forward to, you can enjoy it in style with our exclusive hospitality packages.

Day 1 – Tuesday 18th June
Day 2 – Wednesday 19th June
Day 3 – Thursday 20th June
Day 4 – Friday 21st June
Day 5 – Saturday 22nd June

Who are the favourites for the big races?

Queen Anne Stakes

The Queen Anne Stakes is a Group 1 race and traditionally gets the festival underway. Triple Time rode to glory last summer but don’t expect that to happen again – there hasn’t been a repeat winner in this particular contest since Dean Swift completed a double in 1907.

The early favourite is Big Rock, who has been ridden by Aurelien Lemaitre in each of his last eight races. He’s yet to run this year but he came out on top in his debut Ascot appearance last October, triumphing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Elsewhere, a Frankie Dettori favourite could do well. Frankel sire Inspiral has been paired with the legendary jockey for all but one of her career races. She’s won her last three, which included beating Big Rock by 1 ¼ lengths at Deauville last August.

Prince of Wales’s Stakes

With £1,000,000 in prize money, the Prince of Wales’s Stake is the most valuable race of the festival. The winning slice last year went to the team of Mostahdaf, who raced home first thanks to the guidance of Jim Crowley.

King of Steel leads the early betting after impressing as he won the 2023 Champion Stakes in Dettori’s triumphant final race on UK soil. Despite King of Steel’s pedigree, he came fifth in his final race of last year, with fellow Prince of Wales contender Auguste Rodin taking the glory.

In fact, Auguste Rodin has come out on top on four separate occasions when facing King of Steel. All eyes will be on their battle as they continue their competitive rivalry at Ascot. Elsewhere, Al Riffa is set to make his UK debut in the race, having come fourth in his season opener last weekend.

Ascot Gold Cup

One of the most iconic races in world horse racing returns to Ascot this year, and with it so does a former champion. Courage Mon Ami raced to glory a year ago and is looking to do so again this time around.

The last repeat winner of the Gold Cup was Stradivarius, who completed three in a row back in 2020. Like Stradivarius, Courage Mon Ami was ridden to glory by Dettori. But with the Italian now enjoying life across the pond, the John and Thady Gosden star will have a new rider.

Courage Mon Ami last ran at York back in August and is likely to come up against stablemate Gregory at Ascot, who won the Queen’s Vase at the festival in 2023 before coming third in the St Leger at Doncaster.

While there’s a long way to go before the race, the current market favourite is Kyprios, who won the Gold Cup in 2022. He made a winning return at Queenstown last weekend and is expected to go well this year.

Kyprios only raced twice in 2023 but enjoyed great success the year before. He won all six of his races with Ryan Moore, including the Ascot Gold Cup, as well the Goodwood Cup, where he saw off the challenge of four-time winner Stradivarius.

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes

Khaadem stole the spoils in this race last time out. Looking to claim the crown for the first time is Chain of Lightning, who leads the betting having won two of her four outings so far this year.

Dettori rode Kinross to seventh in this contest last year, having come eighth in 2022. The gelding will be looking to challenge this time and may see his fortunes change under new stewardship.

Meanwhile, Art Power will also be competing in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. He won the British Champions Sprint Stakes last time out, edging rival Kinross by a neck – he’ll be looking to continue his fine form here.

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