The 4 Biggest Betting Upsets in Royal Ascot Group 1 History

Date IconLast Updated: 28 Sep 2022
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The 4 Biggest Betting Upsets in Royal Ascot Group 1 History
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Ever wondered is it worth betting your £1 each-way on a Royal Ascot betting outsider? Well, we can't tell you for certain, but what we do know is that these four long-shots defied the odds to win some of the most prestigious races on Ascot's Royal cards.

In the history of big-odds shocks at Royal Ascot – we discussed 10 of longest odds winners – handicaps and two-year-old races feature the most. They've got big fields, horses improving at alarmingly different rates, and sometimes just one run in public to go on. You can see why a horse would fall under the radar.

But has a 33/1 shot, for example, ever shocked the horse racing betting world by winning a Group 1 at Royal Ascot? The answer is yes.

These might not look like big odds, but 33/1 in a Group 1, which often has a small field and a big favourite, is huge. There won't be many horses running in Group 1s at this year's Royal Ascot who have odds greater than that.

Longest Odds Winners in Royal Ascot Group 1 Races

Winning HorseOddsJockeyYear
Accidental Agents33/1Charles Bishop2018
Les Arcs33/1John Egan2006
Don’t Worry Me33/1Oliver Peslier1997
Bob Back33/1Bruce Raymond1985
  • Accidental Agent – 2018 Queen Anne Stakes

    None of the fancied runners got into this Queen Anne Stakes. It was a wide-open renewal of the 1m test, the Dubai Turf hero Benbatl favourite at 11/4, Rhododendron next at 100/30.

    Her Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemate Deauville set a slow pace early, leaving a huge bunch to sprint the final two furlongs. The 33/1 chance Accidental Agent and 20/1 shot Lord Glitters fared best, powering from the back of the pack to be first and second but, less than two lengths covered the first six home.

    So far, the 33/1 victory has proven a fluke for Eve Johnson Houghton's son of Delegator, with Benbatl, 10/1 third Lightning Spear, 11/1 fifth Yoshida, and 6/1 seventh Recoletos winning Group 1s since, but there's still time.

  • Les Arcs – 2006 Diamond Jubilee Stakes

    From moderate handicapper to Group 1 winner, Les Arcs' tale of greatness began when he moved south from the Yorkshire yard of Richard Guest to Tim Pitt's Shropshire operation at the end of 2005.

    Owned by Willie McKay, the son of US-bred stallion Arch was turning six and had recently been dropping back to trial sprinting distances, having won low-grade handicaps over 7f and 1m. It was the making of him, connections left ruing why they hadn't thought of it sooner as he racked up five wins in a row, including a Listed race at Redcar.

    Beaten a short-head in the same company at Newmarket, Les Arcs was now rated 111 – 21lbs higher than when his sprint campaign began – and ready for the step up to Group races. At that level, he found 5f too short and was well-beaten twice before the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

    Given that extra furlong, and perhaps the warm-up of the King's Stand Stakes four days ago, Les Arcs won his Group 1 by a neck at odds of 33/1, beating 50/1 chance Balthazaar's Gift. A couple of weeks later he followed up by a head in the Group 1 July Cup, sealing his most fantastic seven months. He ran four more times in his life, finishing almost last in each.

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  • Don’t Worry Me – 1997 King's Stand Stakes

    Just like Les Arcs, Don't Worry Me's journey to Royal Ascot victory began with a change of home. In 1996 she left England to be trained in France by Guy Henrot for new owner Jean-Francois Gribomont.

    She had won two 5f races by wide margins and been beaten just a head in Epsom's Dash on Derby weekend, showing glimmers of what was to come. Henrot recognised this and quickly upgraded to Group company. By the end of the first year with him, she had won her first Group 3, so the bar was raised in 1997.

    After a low-key start to the season at home, the five-year-old lined up for her Royal Ascot debut priced at odds of 33/1 for the then Group 2 King's Stand Stakes. Ridden by French Champion jockey Olivier Peslier, she was settled on the stands' rail and when they finally found a gap in the final furlong, she burst through to win by a neck, going away.

    She went on to win a second Group 2 that year and was retired to Gribomont's breeding sheds.

  • Bob Back – 1985 Prince Of Wales's Stakes

    Only four runners lined up for the 1985 Prince Of Wales's Stakes. It was a Group 2 back then, but the elite quartet included Classic heroine Pebbles, who would become that year's European Champion, Timeform and British Horse of the Year, and US Champion Female Turf horse.

    Aged four now, she had won her first run at Sandown and would line up a worthy favourite, alongside St Leger winner Commanche Run. It was billed as a match between these stars, Costly Lesson, a half-brother to Coronation Stakes winner Chalon, and 33/1 shot Bob Back, just making up the (very skinny) numbers.

    Trained in Newmarket by Michael Jarvis, Bob Back had won a Group 1 in Italy that season, jockey Bruce Raymond getting as good a tune from the US-bred there as he did at Royal Ascot.

    Held up in last place early, Bob Back began to close a quarter of a mile out, his huge stride taking time to unravel, but once it did, the huge three-year-old powered down the outside to win well over Commanche Run and Pebbles.

    That was Pebbles's only defeat in her defining season, and Bob Back went on to be a prolific jumps racing sire, producing the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth and the dams of Grand National heroes Synchronised and Many Clouds.