Ascot is a popular racetrack which is located in Western Australia. It is situated close to Perth central business district. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Australian racing scene, and it is famed for its tough incline, which provides an extremely tough test for horses on the home straight. It is one of two tracks which are currently operated by Perth Racing, with its sister track Belmont tending to stage racing during the winter months.
The track is 2km (2,022 meters) and is extremely well-drained. The steep incline covers the final 300 meters. Horses run anti-clockwise around the course. Races can range from 900 meters to 3,200 meters.
The track has been hosting racing for over 150 years and is one of the most recognizable names in Australian racing.
Known Track Bias
Ascot is famed for its tough uphill finish, and its straight is also one of the shortest in the country. Measuring just 290metres, it provides a real challenge for horses coming from off-the-pace. This doesn’t mean that frontrunners win an inordinate amount of races, but fast finishers will require plenty of stamina in order to achieve success at this unique venue.
The general consensus is that the inside draw is beneficial, and many horses will win from this post. It is advantageous to be handed this draw over all distances apart from 3,200m, which is the longest trip at Ascot.
Wide runners will have a clear disadvantage over the shorter trip, with races 900m/1000m showing a higher number of inside runners succeeding.
In races over the 1,400 and 1,500 metres, outside runners often struggle to gain a position, as there is only around 300metres until the first couple of turns. This sometimes allows horses to be trapped on the outside and being forced to take the longer trip.
3,200 meters runners will have double the distance to take up a decent position, and this allows a more even spread of winners overall. This distance is used in the Perth Cup, a race in which there has been no notable overall bias in recent years.
Post Position Statistics
As detailed in the known track bias section, the inside stalls have a definite advantage at this summer track.
Statistics which cover races at all distances show that 10.5% of all winners come from the inside draw. Stalls 2 and 3 have fared slightly better with 11.2 and 11.4% respectively. Stalls 4-6 are all operating at above 10% with every other position yielding single-figure percentages.
Stall 10 has shown one of the poorest returns with just 8% of all runners winning from this post (from a sample of over 2,500 runners) while stall 13 seen just 5.5% of its 924 runners enter the winner’s enclosure.
These stats don’t aren’t much different when focusing solely on sprint trips. Once again, the inside draws are more profitable with 11.7% of all winners being drawn in 3. The inside draw has produced 10.5% of winners while 10.6% have been drawn in stall 4.
It’s a mixed bag for the outside positions with stall 13 seeing a measly 4.4% of winners while only 4.4% of the 130 runners who have drawn widest of all (stall 15) have managed to overcome this poor position.
The inside stall was actually weaker over middle distances, producing just 8.8% of winners while stalls 4 and 5 were the positions to follow, and were responsible for a combined total of 22%. Stall 6 also got into double figures, producing 10.3% of winners over these trips.
Stall 1 dominated once more when it came to longer trips, producing 12.1% of winners. Only stall 5 has a greater strike rate over the staying distances (12.7%). Stall 3 was slightly down over this trip with just 9% of winners being positioned here. Stall 8 was also one to watch with 11.4% of winners being drawn in this wider position.
Top Jockeys at Ascot
There are a number of riders who have spent a number of years racing in Perth. They know every inch of the Ascot turf and have been responsible for a number of winners over the last decade.
These stats are based on the 2018-19 season:
Brodie Kirby (32% Strike Rate)
William Pike (23% Strike Rate)
Mitchell Pateman (19% Strike Rate)
Shaun McGruddy (12% Strike Rate)
Chris Parnham (12% Strike Rate)
Jarrad Noske (11% Strike Rate)
Daniel Staeck (10% Strike Rate)
Top Trainers at Ascot
Ascot attracts some pretty high profile trainers, and a number of top handlers regularly test their stable stars at this unique track. There are some very savvy operators who specialize in producing winners at the Perth course.
These stats are based on the 2018-19 season:
Darren McAuliffe (26% Strike Rate)
Simon A Miller (23% Strike Rate)
Tiarnna Robertson (23% Strike Rate)
Grant and Alana Williams (22% Strike Rate)
Daniel and Ben Pearce (19% Strike Rate)
Colin Webster (18% Strike Rate)
Robert and Todd Harvey (18% Strike Rate)
The history of Ascot racetrack snakes back to 1848 when racing was held on a farm owned by J.W Hardey. After initial success, this venue was selected for a permanent course, and was officially named ‘Ascot.’ It is one of the oldest sporting venues in the southern hemisphere and has always been associated with glamour and elegance.
There was a railway running to the course between 1897 and 1957, but this fell into disrepair and was subsequently removed.
In 2015, Ascot received some additional funding, and purse money was increased across the board. It also allowed the launch of the inaugural Tabtouch Masters which offers three consecutive $1,000,000 Group 1 races. This typically takes place in late November.
Key Races at Ascot
Racing takes place throughout the summer months, and there are a number of prestigious contests taking place from October onwards. The Perth Cup is the standout contest on the calendar and is held on New Year’s Day. It is contested over 2,400 meters and carries a prize of $500,000.
Other group races include:
Kingston Town Classic, Railway Stakes, Winterbottom Stakes, C B Cox Plate, KarraKatta Plate, Lee Steere Stakes, WATC Derby, WA Guineas, A J Scahill Stakes, Asian Beau Stakes, Colonel Reeves Stakes, Lee Steere Classic, Prince of Wales Stakes, R J Peters Stakes, WA Champion Fillies Stakes, WA Oaks, WATC Sires Produce.
The majority of these contests are open to 3-year-olds and above, while the WATC Sires Produce is exclusively contested between 2-year-old thoroughbreds. The WA Champion Fillies Stakes and WA Oaks are only open to the fillies.
Ascot Racetrack Address
Lee-Steere House, 70 Grandstand Rd, Ascot WA 6104, Australia