The focal point of thoroughbred horse racing in Western Australia, Ascot Racecourse is one of Perth's most prestigious and popular sporting venues.
Located on the banks of the Swan River, races have been held at Ascot since way back in 1848. It's no surprise then that Ascot Racecourse is often referred to as the Grand Old Lady of Australian race tracks.
Ascot really comes into its own in late November and early December, for the Perth summer carnival. Group One highlights include the Railway and Winterbottom Stakes, as well as the Kingston Town Classic.
One of the more unique tracks in Australia, Ascot is tri-oval in shape, featuring three turns around its 2,022 metre circumference. The long back straight that borders the Swan provides picturesque viewing for spectators, as the horses and jockeys prepare to turn into the home straight.
It is this home straight of 294 metres that is the most defining aspect of Ascot racecourse. This is because the whole straight is set on an incline, which usually sees the strongest horses succeed in a race.
This is especially true in staying races, where horses need to run up this inclined straight twice, in an energy sapping test of stamina. Because of this key track feature, the 2,400 metre Ascot start is regarded the toughest mile-and-a-half examination for Australian stayers.
Starting Points and Distances
1000m- With only 300m or so before the horses hit the turn into the uphill home straight, horses with a wide draw that have to spend extra petrol around the turn are disadvantaged.
1100m - Offers a greater opportunity for jockeys who are drawn wide to find a decent spot compared to the 1,000-metre start. Inside barriers still have an advantage.
1200m - Barriers play little role with such a long run down the back straight before hitting the home turn.
1400m - Runners start half-way along the turn into the back straight. While starting on a turn doesn't benefit horses with an outside barrier, there is only 50 metres of turning to cover before hitting the long back straight.
1500m - Similar to the conditions for the 1400-metres start, but runners start from a chute 100 metres back.
1600m - Inside barriers have a small advantage here, as runners start from a chute just before the long turn into back straight.
1800m - This start sees a two-hundred metre straight run before hitting the penultimate turn, so only horses drawn in the car park would be disadvantaged.
2200m - Starting on the home straight just before the winning post, horses drawn wide may have to do some extra work as they turn into the side straight.
2400m - With so much distance to be covered, including the two trips up the inclined home straight, barriers don't play a role.
3200m - Like the 2,400-metre start, this is a test of stamina where barriers won't matter.
Group 1 Races at Ascot Racecourse
- Railway Stakes: 1,600 metres
- Winterbottom Stakes: 1,200 metres
- Kingston Town Classic: 1,800 metres
Before you bet at Ascot, learn about the betting promotions available from Australian bookmakers.