Royal Ascot is one of the most iconic events in the British sporting calendar, renowned for its rich history and royal association.

This prestigious horse racing festival was initiated by Queen Anne in 1711 when she discovered an area of open heath, ideal for horse racing, near Windsor Castle.

She organised the event’s first race, known as “Her Majesty’s Plate,” with a purse of 100 guineas, after which the racecourse was formally established and has since evolved into a venue synonymous with excellence in the sport of horse racing.

The event was named “Royal Ascot” because of its establishment by royalty and its ongoing patronage by subsequent monarchs.

Every year, the festival begins with the Royal Procession, where the late Queen and accompanying members of the Royal Family arrived in horse-drawn carriages, a tradition dating back to 1825.

King Charles has since carried on the tradition, attending with Queen Camilla in 2023 as they led the procession on the final day of the festival.

Known for its class of runner, Royal Ascot 2024 is anticipated to be as successful as ever but who will take the biggest prize of them all – the Ascot Gold Cup?

The Ascot Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup may be the biggest prize in jumps racing, but it’s the Ascot Gold Cup that is the pinnacle of the flat.

The Group 1 race is open to horses aged four years or older and is known for its challenging distance, covering about 2 miles and 4 furlongs (4,000 meters), making it one of the longest flat races in British racing.

First run in 1807, it is part of Britain’s Stayers’ Triple Crown, which also includes the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup.

Historically, the race has had several notable winners, including Yeats, trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by Coolmore, who won the Gold Cup four consecutive times from 2006 to 2009.

More recently, in 2023, the Gold Cup was won by Courage Mon Ami under the guidance of legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, his ninth win in the race.

So, who will write themselves into the history books on June 20th, 2024?

Odds For Ascot Gold Cup in 2024

The antepost markets on horse racing betting sites currently have Kyprios from Aidan O’Brien in poll position, despite the fact that the official entries have not yet been made.

Whether or not he goes to Ascot will depend on how he performs in his next race, for which there are three possibilities – the Yorkshire Cup Stakes at York, the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown, and the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Another win in any of those three races, and his odds will shorten even further, largely because of his form but also because he won the Royal Ascot Gold Cup in 2022.

It should also come as no surprise that Courage Mon Ami looks set to return to defend his crown and is the third favourite in the betting markets.

Horse Odds
Kyprios 13/8
Vauban 7/1
Courage Mon Ami 7/1
Continuous 10/1
Trawlerman 12/1
Gregory 14/1
Trueshan 16/1
Coltrane 20/1
Absurde 20/1
Harbour Wind 20/1
Sweet William 25/1
Quickthorn 33/1
Arrest 33/1
Chesspiece 33/1
Waltham 33/1

Royal Ascot Predictions

Kyprios may be the current ante-post-race favourite for the Gold Cup, but his form this season hasn’t been as impressive as when he was racing in 2022.

Interestingly, Vauban is currently second in the odds and though more known for being a decent hurdler, trainer Willie Mullins has recently switched him back to his turf roots, running him in Ascot, Nass and last time out in the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Bookies have him on a par with Courage Mon Ami, which is questionable given that John & Thady Gosden’s horse actually won the race last season.

Trawlerman is another that could be potentially overlooked as a real contender. Also from the Gosdens, he beat Kyprios in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup in October so has plenty of form.

However, the reality is that while we could debate the merits of all the horses, none of them are even guaranteed to get an entry. So until they do, we will have to pause our analysis and return closer to the date when we have a fuller picture.

Aidan O’Brien’s Astounding Record

Acclaimed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has a remarkable record at Royal Ascot, one that underscores his status as one of the best trainers in global thoroughbred racing.

With a record 83 wins at the festival, he saddled his first winner all the way back in 1997 with Harbour Master in the Coventry Stakes and has since gone on to become one of the most successful trainers in the history of the festival.

One of his most famous winners was Yeats, who etched his name into Royal Ascot history by winning the Gold Cup four times, an achievement that has never been replicated.

St Nicholas Abbey won the Coronation Cup three times and clinched victory at Royal Ascot in the 2011 Queen’s Vase and later in the 2013 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

In 2016, O’Brien achieved the notable feat of training the winners of seven races at Royal Ascot, including the Gold Cup with Order of St George.

So, can he replicate his success with Kyprios again in 2024?

Sired by Galileo, Kyprios has an enviable record that includes four Group 1 wins in the Qatar Prix du Cadran, the Irish St. Leger, the Goodwood Cup and the Ascot Gold Cup – all in 2022.

Aidan O’Brien’s achievements at Royal Ascot have earned him numerous accolades and a reputation as a master trainer in the horse racing industry, and one he hopes to maintain in 2024.

How Important Is The Gold Cup?

The significance of the Gold Cup extends beyond the race itself, with winners becoming a part of racing history, making it a revered contest in global horse racing.

In the context of the festival, it is just one of 36 races, including eight Group One races, held over five days at the racecourse.

Also in contention are the much coveted Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes, the King Charles III Stakes, the St James’s Palace Stakes, and the Coronation Stakes.

The late Queen herself has owned several winning horses, including Estimate, which captured the Gold Cup in 2013.

What sets Royal Ascot apart is not just the quality of the racing but also its social significance.

It is a major event in the British social calendar, attracting celebrities, aristocracy, and royalty from around the world.

With its strict dress code and top-tier racing, Royal Ascot is a unique blend of sport, tradition, and spectacle, celebrated not just as a racing competition but also as a cultural event.