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The Long Ranger: Royal Ascot 2018 handicaps

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The Long Ranger picks out his best bets in some of the handicaps at Royal Ascot 2018.

Royal Hunt Cup

Finding a horse that’s likely to excel in a strongly-run, large-field scenario can be half the battle in a race such as the Hunt Cup (acknowledging that draw can scupper even the best-laid plans), and Mubtasim ticks plenty of boxes as a horse that may well come into his own under such circumstances. He’s without a win since his two-year-old season and yet to even run in a handicap, but there are a few reasons for thinking that a race such as this could be the making of him.

Firstly, arguably the best effort of his career to date was achieved at this track, when third in last season’s Jersey. Mubtasim was dropped out and nearest at the finish that day, shaping as though sure to be at least as effective over a mile, but has still to be tried at the trip, finding six furlongs inadequate on his reappearance this time round before again leaving the impression a mile was likely to suit when a running-on second to the smart Tabarrak in a seven-furlong listed event at Haydock last month. Strictly from a handicapping angle, it’s hard to make a case for Mubtasim being necessarily well treated, but it’s more the expectation that he’ll thrive in the Hunt Cup scenario that makes him interesting, likely to be dropped out before hopefully weaving his way through late.

Wokingham

Unexposed horses find it harder to get into high-end handicaps these days, a BHA mark of around 99 the bare minimum required to get into the Wokingham in recent years, and that’s one of the reasons why the unbeaten and highly-promising Dreamfield is at such odds for the 2018 renewal. At the time of writing he’s a general 4/1 shot and, whilst fully accepting that a mark of 103 could underplay his ability by some way (he holds entries in the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup), it’s very hard to recommend backing a horse in the Wokingham at such a price.

So, we’ll try a couple at longer odds. Gilgamesh and Growl have very different profiles but, all things being equal, are well enough treated to be thereabouts at the very least should things drop right. Gilgamesh is still lightly raced for a four-year-old and, on the evidence this season, still on the up, faring best of those who raced on the ‘wrong’ side when seventh in the Victoria Cup here before scrambling home in a handicap at York. Both those races were over seven furlongs, but Gilgamesh has an impressive cruising speed that suggests he could be even more effective back at a strongly-run six. It’s the same scenario that brings out the very best in Growl, too, the minimum trip no use to him behind Kachy at Chester on his first run back last month. That should have put him spot on for this and there’s no denying he’s back to a good mark now, 7 lb lower than when beaten less than a length in the Stewards’ Cup last year. Growl has put up some of his very best efforts at this course, including when runner-up to The Tin Man in the Champions Sprint a few years back, and Out Do showed last season that age is no barrier to success in handicaps such as the Wokingham these days.

Recommended Bets:

1 pt – Mubtasim, Royal Hunt Cup, Royal Ascot - 20th June

25/1 general    

0.5 pt each – Gilgamesh & Growl, Wokingham Handicap, Royal Ascot - 23rd June

16/1 & 20/1 general

 

Already Recommended:

1 point win Recoletos,Queen Anne Stakes, Royal Ascot – 19th June

10/1 bet365, Ladbrokes, Boylesports, Betway, 9/1 Coral, some smaller firms

2 points win Sioux Nation, Commonwealth Cup, Royal Ascot – 22nd June

6/1 bet365, Skybet, Ladbrokes, Coral, 5/1 general

1 point each-way City Light, Diamond Jubilee, Royal Ascot – 23rd June

16/1 general, 20/1 bet365, Boylesports

 

 

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3rd Richard Kingscote silk ns 5. ISLAND OF LIFE (USA) 5/42.25f
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3rd Rossa Ryan silk 4. BERLUSCA (IRE) 11/112
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1st Brian Hughes silk 6. THE TRIGGER (IRE) 5/16
2nd Sam Coltherd silk 4. BUDARRI 9/25.5
3rd Grant Cockburn silk ¾ 9. KARINGO 18/119
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