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How to Survive Ascot Posted:
6th Jun 2020

Cheltenham and Royal Ascot are racing’s jewels in the crown. Both showcase the very best of the sport – champions take on champions and reputations are won or lost. Then there are handicaps – large fields, hidden talents hiding behind often uninspiring form-figures. Months and, in some cases, years of careful planning, plotting and dreaming can be destroyed in moments, or else can be rewarded with glory. The appeal of these showcase meetings is that the racing public gets to see the best horses competing against each other – and these are the races everybody wants to win. And, increasingly at Ascot there is an international dimension, which Cheltenham, despite the intensity of the Anglo-Irish rivalry, cannot boast.

Last year, for instance, no fewer than nine countries were represented over the five days of the Royal Meeting. Since 2000, Irish-trained horses have won a remarkable 110 races at the meeting - that’s over 20% of the total number of races, the lion’s share going the way of Aidan O’Brien. Another 40 races have fallen to horses trained outside the UK and Ireland, with France (20 wins) leading the way. There have been 11 American-trained successes, six from Australia, two from Hong Kong and one from Germany.

The cosmopolitan nature of the meeting has also seen the best Australian, American, Japanese and European jockeys battling with the best of the British and Irish talent.

This year, of course, things will be different. The meeting will be run behind closed doors, and at the time of writing, the possibility of an overseas challenge remains open to question. If it does go ahead, the meeting will be slotted between the rescheduled Guineas Meeting and Epsom’s Derby weekend, meaning that a different emphasis will be placed on races such as the King Edward VII Stakes and the Ribblesdale Stakes, which traditionally attract horses that contested the Derby and Oaks. This year, however, they will be trials for those races. Often trial races are cagey affairs, but it’s difficult to envisage anything but full-blooded contests given the status of the meeting.

The handicaps, always tricky propositions, will be even harder to unravel this year as there will be little recent evidence of form to assist the punter. Never has the need for a more disciplined approach to betting been greater. The urge to have a punt once things start to get back to some semblance of normality will be immense. That’s understandable but, in a way, it will be like starting over again. Gather as much support as possible to assist you in your quest for winners. This is a time to track and analyse your betting performance because it’s so easy to lose control, and the best guide for online betting I have found is Bookmakers hate disciplined punters. That’s why they offer so many enticements to act as distractions, whether online or in betting shops.