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Royal Hunt Cup Ante-Post Preview

Forgotten Voice in 2009 is the only favourite to have won The Royal Hunt Cup in the last sixteen years. Trainer James Fanshawe has been successful twice through Macadamia (2003) and Cesare (2006).

Prince Of Johanne is 4lb worse off with George Margarson’s Excellent Guest on last year’s running. The grey looked to be running into form nicely when second at York’s Dante meeting and should again make his presence felt.

Victory at the Knavesmire went to Navajo Chief but many observers felt that the one for the notebook was Dance And Dance. Ed Vaughan’s seven-year-old was tenderly handled in fifth place there, indicating that a return to form could be imminent.

He was runner-up to Julienas in 2011 and was second in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom last year. He has since slid down the handicap and is among the early market leaders.

Excellent Guest sprang a 25-1 surprise when winning the Victoria Cup over seven furlongs here first time out and has been put up 5lbs for that success. William Haggas will be represented by Fury who is handicapped to beat Prince Of Johanne on last season’s York form.

There has also been significant each-way support for Andrew Balding’s Stirring Ballad. The four-year-old runs in the famous colours of George Strawbridge and finished close up in a Listed race at Goodwood in May.

Trade Commissioner lost his way last season after winning well at Sandown in July. If John Gosden decides to start him off here it would be no surprise to see him run a big race. It is unusual for the stable to keep a five-year-old in training so he is obviously thought capable of more than he achieved to date.

There are also a couple of intriguing overseas challengers in David Livingston and Elusive Time. The former was with Aidan O’Brien last season and has now joined Mike de Kock whilst Elusive Time has been racing in Scandinavia and is difficult to assess.