Newmarket preview: Bunbury Cup (15.10)
Bronze Angel has shaped as if coming to the boil in his last two starts and can bag another big handicap success by landing a typically wide-open renewal of the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket (15.45).
The Marcus Tregoning trained gelding is a tough and genuine sort and is a dual winner at the venue on the Rowly Mile course.
One of those successes came in the ultra-competitive 31-runner Cambridgeshire last year where the six-year-old ran on strongly to beat Niceofyoutotellme by 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 99.
Bronze Angel followed that up with victory in a valuable 27-runner affair at Ascot off 105, before finishing a fine third to the classy French Navy in a Listed contest at off an official rating of 111.
The six-year-old is now able to race off 107, just 2lb higher than when last successful, and comes into the contest on the back of a brace of solid efforts.
In the first of those, Bronze Angel came from off the pace and ran on strongly to finish a never nearer sixth of 26 to Speculative Bid in the 7f Victoria Cup at Ascot.
The son of Dark Angel backed that up with a fine four length seventh of 30 to GM Hopkins in the Hunt Cup over 1m at Royal Ascot, faring best of those that raced up with the pace and travelling powerfully until weakening when being headed deep inside the last.
Those efforts suggest Bronze Angel is ready to go in again, and with underfoot conditions ideal everything points to a huge run in a race which will be run to suit.
Chill The Kite and Balty Boys finished in front of Bronze Angel in the Hunt Cup when third and fourth respectively and command plenty of respect, as does last year’s winner Heaven’s Guest.
Heaven’s Guest is trained by Richard Fahey and has an excellent record in big field handicaps.
The five-year-old ran on strongly from off the pace to beat Absolutely So by 1/2 a length in this 12 months ago off a mark of 101, and is now able to race off just 2lb higher.
That gives the gelding every chance from a handicapping perspective, especially as Heaven’s Guest landed a Listed contest at Naas on his penultimate start off an official rating of 105.
Heaven’s Guest also has the services of Jack Garrity in the saddle who is good value for his 3lb claim, and taking it into account is effectively 1lb lower than when triumphing in the race last year and weighted to make a bold bid to retain his crown.