Hopkins In Hunt For Royal Cup Heroics
For those punters who look forward to the big-field handicaps, then Wednesday provides a mouth-watering puzzle to solve in the Royal Hunt Cup over 1m (5.00).
With over 30 runners set to line-up, it could be worth checking out past trends by way of whittling down the field, as follows…
Of the last 10 Royal Hunt Cup winners…
10 were 4-7yo’s
10 carried 8st8lb to 9st5lb
10 were officially rated 93 to 102
10 were drawn in stall 6 or higher
10 won a handicap – others were 0-57
10 ran in a handicap last time – others were 0-63
9 were non-favourites
9 ran in a Class 2/Class 3 race last time
9 were non-winners last time
Conditions To Suit Ayaar
Clearly, those in the bottom half of the handicap did well here, and one who fits that profile is Ayaar (10/1). Luca Cumani’s 5yo, was an unlucky fifth in the race 12 month ago when blocked, but gained compensation on his reappearance in April, landing Newbury’s valuable Spring Cup (1m, good to firm). A straight mile on a gallop clearly brings out the best in Ayaar, who is still improving and should go close.
Hopkins Has Big One In Him
Also at the right half of the weights is John Gosden’s, Gm Hopkins (10/1), who won last year’s Silver Cambridgeshire and almost added another decent handicap at Newbury last month (1m, good) finishing strongly into second behind Spark Plug (12/1).
Gm Hopkins may have won that day had his run started earlier, and there is every chance he can reverse form with the winner on 1lb better terms.
But what of last year’s Hunt Cup winner, Field Of Dream (20/1), who returns off a 6lb higher mark having not been seen so far this season? While he loves this venue, he faces a tough task, while another up in the weights is Speculative Bid (10/1).
Speculative Bids For More Ascot Glory
David Elsworth’s 4yo has come alive this spring, winning three handicaps on the bounce, including the valuable Victoria Cup over 7f here last month (good to firm); Lincoln was 1/2l away in second (3lb better). Delivered late by Jamie Spencer to win with some authority, Speculative Bid returns off a 10lb higher mark with Spencer aboard once more.
Another improving 4yo is Roger Charlton’s, Temptress (14/1), who lurks dangerously near the bottom of the weights, and arrives having won a decent C&D handicap last month. Only 7lb higher than that comfortable victory, and with a career record of 3-6, he has more to come.
Of those who have been there and done it, then dual Cambridgeshire winner, Bronze Angel (20/1), is respected having added a valuable C&D handicap in October, and is just 2lb higher now.
Punters have a number of choices in this fantastic handicap, a number of whom are improving and in-form, though Gm Hopkins has the look of a future Group performer who has long suggested a big handicap was in him.
*Prices correct at time of publication.