Royal Ascot - At The Races

17:00 Ascot 21 Jun 2017

Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap) (Str) (Class 2) (3YO plus)

Winner £108,938 - 29 ran

5

1m

Good to Firm (Watered)

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Last year’s race

Portage
  • Winner: Portage
  • Jockey: James Doyle
  • Trainer: M Halford
  • Owner: Godolphin
  • Age: 4 Weight: 9st 5lb
  • Starting Price: 10/1
  • Season Form Figures: 1
  • Previous Best: 1st - Silver Stakes (Listed Race), Curragh (June 2016)

Overall this has been a good race for punters as exactly 50% of the last 24 winners could be found in the first four in the betting including Portage last year. No mean feat given that around 30 runners face the starter. Given those SP stats it is no surprise that 14 of the last 18 winners won or finished second earlier in the campaign.

Four and five-year-olds make up the lion's share of runners (usually around 75%) but given that they have won 27 of the last 31 runnings, they have been over-performing so I am more than happy to overlook any horse aged six and upwards as my first starting point. Four-year-olds realised a 1-2-3-4-5-6 last season.

Previous straight-course form at Ascot has proved to be an important factor in recent times and Portage had won over course and distance the previous season. The Victoria Cup at the May Meeting won this season by Fastnet Tempest from George William has provided an ideal springboard for seven of the last 22 Hunt Cup winners. The Britannia Handicap at the previous season’s Royal Ascot also used to be a significant guide but not so much of late though the 2013 Hunt Cup winner, Belgian Bill, had finished placed in the Britannia two years earlier.

Four and five-year-olds make up the lion's share of runners (usually around 75%) but given that they have won 27 of the last 31 runnings, they have been over-performing.

Outside of Ascot form, the Lincoln remains of interest with four of the last 15 winners, G M Hopkins being the latest, having contested the season's traditional first big betting race of the season though only one of that successful quartet ran into a place at Doncaster. Two of the last seven winners ran creditably in the Whitsun Cup at Sandown on their previous start.

As far as weight carried is concerned, a u-turn has occurred in the last decade with regards horses saddled with under or over 9st. Going with the ‘unders’ was a must up until 2008 as just two winners since 1989 carried more than 9st to victory but seven of the last ten winners carried 9st+, though that is now reflective of the fact more horses have carried over 9st than otherwise in recent years.

Although Sir Michael Stoute and Luca Cumani have won this race in the past, it should also be noted that they have saddled nine losing favourites between them in just the last 15 years. Convey was the latest for Stoute last year. James Fanshawe is a trainer to note on the straight-course races at Royal Ascot and his record in this race passes the closest scrutiny having won it twice and he has had five other runners since the turn of the century also make the frame.

With regards to the draw, what happens earlier in the week is often the best guide with regards to the straight course. It would appear, however, that a draw close to either rail is an advantage as 14 of the last 20 winners were drawn no more than six places away from a rail. Two of the last ten winners were wearing blinkers for the first time.

At a glance summary

Positives
Has previous quality straight-track Ascot form (notably the Victoria Cup)
Drawn in highest or lowest six stalls
Ran in the Lincoln 
Carrying over 9st
Respect James Fanshawe
First four in the market
Negatives
Aged 6+
Not finished first or second this season
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute or Luca Cumani

Previous Winners - ROYAL HUNT CUP

YearWinnerTrainerJockeyAge/WtSPRnrs
2016PortageM HalfordJames Doyle4 9-510/128
2015Gm HopkinsJ H M GosdenR L Moore4 9-38/130
2014Field Of DreamJ A OsborneA Kirby7 9-120/128
2013Belgian BillGeorge BakerJames Doyle5 8-1133/128
2012Prince Of JohanneT P TateJ P Fahy6 9-316/130
2011JulienasW R SwinburnE Ahern4 8-812/128
2010Invisible ManS bin SuroorL Dettori4 8-928/129
2009Forgotten VoiceJ NosedaJ Murtagh4 9-14/1f25
2008Mr AviatorR HannonR Hughes4 9-525/129
2007Royal OathJohn GosdenJimmy Fortune 4 9-09/126
2006CesareJ R FanshaweJ P Spencer5 8-814/130
2005New SeekerC CoxP Robinson5 9-011/122
2004MineJ BethellT Quinn6 9-516/131
2003MacadamiaJ FanshaweD O'Neill4 8-138/132
2002NortonT MillsJ Fortune5 8-925/130
2001Surprise EncounterE DunlopL Dettori5 8-98/130
2000Caribbean MonarchSir M StouteK Fallon5 8-1011/232
1999ShowboatB HillsN Pollard (3)5 8-614/132
1998Refuse To LoseJ EustaceJ Tate4 7-1120/132
1997Red RobboR AkehurstO Peslier4 8-616/132
1996YeastW HaggasK Fallon4 8-68/1f31
1995RealitiesG HarwoodM Kinane5 9-011/132
1994Face NorthR AkehurstA Munro6 8-325/132
1993Imperial BalletH CecilPat Eddery4 8-1220/130
1992Colour SergeantLord HuntingdonD Harrison (5)4 7-820/131
1991Eurolink The LadJ DunlopJ Reid4 8-925/129