The history of Royal Ascot stretches back centuries but the mastery of Lester Piggott (the leading most jockey all time at the meeting with 177 winners) will do nothing to help us pinpoint who punters should be paying special attention to during the 2016 Festival.
So here are some of the top trainers and jockeys to watch out for this year.
Trainers to watch out for:
- Aidan O’Brien – It is a fairly obvious starting point but the Master of Ballydoyle has also been the Master of Royal Ascot over the course of his career. He has trained 34 winners at the meeting in the last decade alone so it is fairly safe to assume like death and taxes, Royal Ascot winners will be forthcoming once again this year. The Coventry Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes are his most successful contests with 7 career wins in each. In The Gurkha he would appear to have an excellent candidate to land an 8th St Jame’s Palace Stakes.
- Sir Michael Stoute – By his own very high standards, the last few years have been a little quiet both in terms of winners and prize money won. Having topped more than 2.1 million in prize money 11 years in a row from 2000, the yard have topped 1.8 million just once in the last 5. Having started 2016 in rude health the team look set to make an impact at Royal Ascot to try to add to 9 Hardwicke Stakes, 6 King Edward VII’s and 5 Duke Of Edinburgh’s! Runners over 1m4f-2m have a 33% strike rate as do those coming off a run at Goodwood, Epsom or York.
- Wesley Ward – It wouldn’t be Royal Ascot without the American’s presence and he looks set to send his biggest ever team to Berkshire in 2016. He has won with 6 of his 31 runners at the meeting including 5/25 with his 2yo’s and it is the juvenile races where a close eye should be kept on his charges.
- Extra note – Mark Johnston is 10/42 with horses with an official rating of 96-103 in the last decade at the meeting for a level stakes profit of £46 to a £1 stake!
Frankie Dettori by Will Palmer, Flickr
Jockeys to watch out for:
- Ryan Moore – Intrinsically linked with Ballydoyle’s success, Moore set a modern day record with 9 winners at Royal Ascot in 2015. Regarded by many as the best flat jockey in the world, he is going to be nigh on impossible to keep off the scoreboard in the quest to be top jockey at the meeting for the 5th time in the last 6 years!
- Frankie Dettori – More than 50 winners at the Royal meeting over the course of the ebullient Italian’s career so far, he will forever live in Ascot folklore for his “Magnificent 7” at the September meeting in 1996. 6 times he has ridden the winner of the Queen Anne, the race that starts the meeting and the same number of times he has shown his finesse with the fairer sex in the Ribblesdale. His linkup with Al Shaqab has been an Indian Summer for his career so it seems more that likely that we will witness the famous flying dismount at Royal Ascot again this year.
- Jamie Spencer – The ultimate hold up jockey, a master when he gets it right, the piñata of punters frustration when it goes wrong is notably at his best on Ascot’s mile straight course. He is +£39 to a £1 stake on all rides on the straight course so is well worth noting given a suitable ride in one of the handicaps during the week.
- Extra note – Joe Fanning can’t buy a winner on the straight course (0/38) but on the round course in races from 1m2f-2m he has a 20% strike rate (6/30) for a £35 level stakes profit to a £1 bet!
Read the full race preview for all 30 races on our Royal Ascot Betting Tips!