Royal Ascot 2015: Royal Hunt Cup preview (17.00)
The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the big betting races of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting, and American Hope looks decent each-way value in a typically fiercely-competitive renewal of the 1m handicap run over a straight mile.
American Hope had some strong form to his name over course and distance last season, including when sixth of 30 to Born In Bombay in the Britannia Stakes at this meeting.
The Mike Murphy trained gelding kept on well, having raced on the unfavoured far side to be beaten just 2 3/4 lengths, but had no chance with those drawn high.
In the circumstances it was a cracking effort, and American Hope backed it up with an excellent neck second of 11 to Mange All over course and distance when collared in the dying strides.
Those efforts read well in the context of this contest, and American Hope is now running off just 2lb higher.
That makes the four-year-old look nicely treated, and the son of Lemon Drop Kid had shaped really well on his first two starts this season before bombing out in the 7f Victoria Cup at this venue when last seen in action.
However, regular jockey Shane Kelly employed strange tactics on American Hope that day when kicking for him five furlongs out and I am more than prepared to put a line through that effort.
The step back up in trip also looks sure to suit, and if ridden with more restraint American Hope looks weighted to run a huge race.
Trainer John Gosden does well in big handicaps, and his GM Hopkins looks sure to go well.
The gelding had an ultra-progressive profile last season, completing a hat-trick of victories when landing the 22-runner Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in good style.
Although now 12lb higher in the weights, it would be no surprise if the son of Dubawi had more to offer and GM Hopkins hinted that his time was near when an unlucky neck second to Spark Plug at Newbury last month.
Another worthy of consideration is course and distance winner Bronze Angel.
The Marcus Tregoning trained six-year-old has plenty of solid form in big field handicaps, and hinted at a return to form last time out when sixth in the Victoria Cup.
That was a big step back in the right direction, and Bronze Angel is now just 2lb higher than when last successful in the 27-runner Balmoral Handicap over course and distance eight months ago.
Coral betting tip: American Hope represents real each-way value if you fancy a punt!