Punters who like a plunge in a handicap will be watching the betting for the Royal Hunt Cup and Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot this Wednesday. These races offer the potential for a decent return on a small stake. The more discerning bettors will focus on the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, where Addeybb could shorten from the current best quote of +1000 with BetOnline. Japan is the odds-on favourite for the race but is drifting and could start at bigger than even money.
The Royal Hunt Cup is a heritage handicap for horses aged three and older. The field is restricted to 24 runners and the favourite is about +700. However, the horse for money in the last few days is Bell Rock, which has been backed from +1000 to a current lowest price of +750. The horse is the leading trends qualifier and has the profile of recent winners, having won over distance, going and class in the past. Fox Champion is shortening and there will be worse each-way bets at +2000.
The Silver Hunt Cup is one of the handicaps that have been added to the programme this year. The money has come for Maydanny, which has also won over the distance and on the going. He has the breeding of a Group horse and is relatively unexposed. Maydanny is trained by Mark Johnson, who knows the time of day with a plot horse when the money is down. His runner could be the race favourite at post time.
The Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes is confined to horses aged three and run over almost one mile and two furlongs. It could now be a key Epsom Derby trial and Russian Emperor is expected to run a big race. The Aidan O’Brien horse was the beaten favourite in a major Epsom Derby trial in Ireland last Tuesday. He could still be the stable’s Derby horse depending on how Mogul performs at Ascot this week. However, the Irish equivalent is the more likely option and Russian Emperor can be backed at +1400 for that race, but those odds go given a good Ascot run.
Japan represents the O’Brien stable in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, which has attracted a small but select field of seven runners. Bangkok and Barney Roy were Classic horses that have something to find on the ratings. Japan won the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York last August, beating Crystal Ocean by a head in what is often ranked as the world’s best Flat race on ratings. The horse had a weight advantage of seven pounds, but it was still smart form.
However, Addeybb has run to a similar level and can be backed at a much bigger price. The horse is three pounds behind Japan on Racing Post Ratings and that is not an insurmountable gap. Addeybb won two Group 1 races in Australia in the spring, impressing in both at a decent pace over 10 furlongs. The form behind Magical in the Champion Stakes compares favourably with anything that Japan has produced. Japan will be a tough nut to crack at Ascot this week, but we expect punters to latch onto the value about Addeybb.