Ayaar and Dettori fancied for Royal Hunt Cup
The Royal Hunt Cup at 5.00 on Wednesday is one of the big betting handicaps of the week at Royal Ascot.
Veteran Trainer David Elsworth saddles one of the leading fancies in Victoria Cup winner Speculative Bid, a four-year-old by Excellent Art.
He made winning reappearance at Kempton in March off a handicap rating of 82 and has not looked back since. He followed up at the same course when just getting the better of Outback Traveller by a head off a 9lbs higher mark.
He was well fancied for the Victoria Cup here over seven furlongs last month and overcame traffic problems to sweep through the field late on and beat Lincoln by half a length. The burst of acceleration that he produced that day marked him out as a possible Group horse but the handicapper has put him up a further 10lbs.
Another horse with the potential to move out of handicap company is Luca Cumani’s Ayaar, winner of the Spring Cup at Newbury. He is only 6lbs higher than when beating 21 rivals in April. That was his first win since Newmarket in 2013 but he was a close fifth in this race last year off a 5lbs lower mark. He would certainly have been in the first three but for suffering interference in that race. Frankie Dettori rides this one in the colours of Al Shaqab Racing.
The Brian Meehan-trained Spark Plug was runner-up to Ayaar at Newbury and is now 1lb worse off after winning his next start. That was when foiling a gamble on John Gosden’s Gm Hopkins by a neck last month at the Berkshire track. The runner-up is 1lb better off and Ryan Moore has been booked for the ride.
It is hard to ignore the chances of Lincoln after his fine run behind Speculative Bid. He finished strongly and has a 3lbs pull for half a length for Mick Channon and Richard Hughes. Temptress is up 7lbs for her two-length victory over Solar Magic over course and distance last month. The fourth horse won next time out but the runner-up was bitterly disappointing at Nottingham.
Fort Bastion won well at Ayr last time out but does not help himself by pulling hard in his races. He may get more chance to settle in this huge field with a fast pace guaranteed. Well weighted recent winners Musaddas and Fiftyshadesofgrey look unlikely to make the cut while connections of the unbeaten Lightning Spear also face an anxious wait.
Ayaar – Royal Hunt Cup (Royal Ascot 5.00 Wednesday) @11.0 Bet365