2016 Royal Ascot news: Best Of Times a Hunt Cup market mover
David Metcalf | June 6, 2016
Times ticking the right boxes for Royal Hunt Cup punters
Best Of Times is the big market mover in the Royal Hunt Cup, and is now 12/1 second favourite (from 16/1) with Coral for the hot 1m handicap at Royal Ascot on Wednesday, June 15th.
The Godolphin owned colt had some smart form to his name last year, winning three times and finishing an excellent 1 1/2 length runner-up to Storm The Stars in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.
Best Of Times, who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was then off the track for 12 months before putting in an eye-catching return to action at Chester.
Although only ninth of 12 to Sound Advice, the four-year-old was slowly away and constantly denied a clear run up the home straight to be beaten just 4 3/4 lengths.
Best Of Times finished full of running, and it was an effort which suggested the son of Dubawi was ahead of his handicap mark.
Convey is currently 7/1 favourite with Coral for the Royal Hunt Cup, with Irish raider Portage a solid 14/1 shot after making a winning return to action at the Curragh two days ago.
Late call on Cannock Chase target
A decision on which race Cannock Chase will contest at Royal Ascot is expected to be made at the last minute.
The five-year-old currently holds entries in both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (12/1 with Coral), in which he finished seventh last year, and the Hardwicke Stakes for which he is currently 9/2 second favourite.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained colt enjoyed his finest hour last season when landing the Grade 1 Canadian International, and looked as good as ever when making a winning return to action in the the Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester last month under a penalty.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, told At The Races: “The plan is to go to Ascot with Cannock Chase for either the Prince of Wales’s or the Hardwicke, but it is undecided yet.
“Although he had to give a bit of weight away first time out at Chester, we were very keen on him and hopeful he would run a good race, as he had been working exceptionally well.”
The Gurkha 6/4 to land superb St James’s Palace Stakes
Three 2,000 Guineas winners are set to clash in a stellar renewal of the Group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot (Tuesday, June 14th), and The Gurkha is a solid 6/4 favourite with Coral to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with his eighth winner of the race.
This Irish handler saddled Gleneagles to win the race 12 months ago, and The Gurkha justified the decision to supplement him for the French 2,000 Guineas when storming away with the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Deauville last month.
An impressive winner of a Navan maiden just four weeks earlier after being well beaten into third on debut, the son of Galileo continued his dramatic progress by totally destroying the opposition to score by 5 1/2 lengths.
It was arguably one of the most impressive performances by a three-year-old in Europe this season, and connections decide to bypass the Investec Derby to save him for the St James’s Palace as they feel the 1m trip is his optimum.
The Kevin Prendergast trained Awtaad got the better of English 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold when landing the Irish equivalent by 2 1/2 lengths and is 3/1 second favourite with Coral. Galileo Gold is next best in at 7/2, with trainer Hugo Palmer relishing a rematch.
See our special horse racing section for further top tips and previews.