2024 Royal Ascot Handicaps: How to bet Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes

June 17th, 2024

If you’re a horse player, the best part about Royal Ascot is often the handicaps. With horses generally weighted close to their best form, they are nearly always open affairs, and big prices are common.

So, if you can find a way to see which horses might have beaten the handicapper (who determines the horse’s rating), you could well come out with a very nice payout.

The leading handicap on Day 1 is arguably the Ascot Stakes, over the Gold Cup distance of 2 1/2 miles, with a capacity field of 20.

Royal Ascot Race 5, 12:05 p.m. ET: Ascot Stakes, 2 1/2 miles, handicap, 4-year-olds and up


  • #18 Pledgeofallegiance
  • #10 Zanndabad
  • #3 My Lyka
  • #1 Pied Piper


  • $10 win/$20 show: #18 Pledgeofallegiance
  • $1 trifecta: 10, 18 with 1, 3, 10, 18 with 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 18


At this distance, it’s not a surprise that trainers of jumps horses play a strong hand. Nicky Henderson won the race last year with Ahorsewithnoname, and this year the Irish pair of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have three leading chances.

Mullins’ #3 My Lyka might well start favorite. He finished fourth at Group 2 level in France before joining Mullins and began his Irish career with a narrow defeat over hurdles. Mullins will have him fit, and he’s got Ryan Moore in the saddle.

Elliott’s pair deserve respect as well. #1 Pied Piper has been a very respectable hurdler, but was good enough on the flat to finish second in the Cesarewitch last year. He has to concede weight to all, but he can’t be ruled out. #11 Ndaawi, on the other hand, is trying this distance for the first time; he would need to improve, but Elliott has won in these circumstances before.

When it comes to Ascot handicaps, however, my favorite strategy is to look for young horses on the improve that the handicapper hasn’t caught up with yet. Which is why I’m going for #18 Pledgeofallegiance. He’s improved gradually since being stepped up in distance, and Sir Mark Prescott rounded off his preparation with a victory at Goodwood May 24. Post 1 is a bit of a concern, but if Luke Morris finds a way to challenge, he looks a great chance.

Chester Cup third #10 Zanndabad also looks on the improve and has the services of William Buick to help him, while others to watch include #4 Boher Road and #5 Divine Comedy.