Royal Hunt Cup Betting

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Conducted on Day Two of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting each June, the Royal Hunt Cup is a mile-long handicap that is scheduled in the middle of one of the British flat racing season’s most exciting race cards. It includes the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes over ten furlongs, the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for the best up and coming two-year-old fillies, the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes for older female milers and the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs.

Open to Thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards, the Royal Hunt Cup carries a total prize purse of £100,000 and takes place on the straight turf of the Ascot Racecourse. When the event was inaugurated in 1843, it was run on the right-handed turf here over a distance of seven furlongs and 166 yards. In 1930, the length was shortened by eleven yards, and the current distance was introduced in 1956.

One special aspect of the Royal Hunt Cup is its perpetual trophy, which is one of just three awarded at the Royal Ascot meeting. The other two are the Gold Cup and the Queen’s Vase. All three of these prizes are reproduced each year so that the winning owners may keep them permanently.

Despite its long history, the Royal Hunt Cup has featured only one repeat victor. That distinction goes to Master Vote, the winner of back-to-back editions in 1947 and 1948. One of the most notable horses to win here in recent years was Mine in 2004, paying 16/1. The underrated bay stallion went on to become the only three-time winner of the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket’s July Festival, with successes in 2002, 2005 and 2006.

Two jockeys share the honour of having four victories each in the Royal Hunt Cup. First to accomplish the deed was Charles Wood, whose triumphs came aboard Thuringian Prince in 1875, The Mandarin in 1879, Elzevir in 1883 and Gay Hermit in 1887. Nearly a century later, Lester Piggott repeated the feat in the saddle with Spaniard’s Close in 1963, Casabianca in 1965, Kamundu in 1969 and Jumping Hill in 1976.

Elzevir’s trainer James Jewitt leads all others here with five victories. He got his first with Sweetbread (1882), and he followed up by schooling Shillelagh (1888), Suspender (1892 and Knight of the Thistle (1897. More recently, the only trainer to achieve multiple wins has been James Fanshawe, succeeding with Macadamia in 2003 and Cesare in 2006.

Four- and five-year-olds have dominated this event for the past three decades. There have been no three-year-old winner an only three successful six-year-olds since 1980, Mine being the recent one. Indeed, the ages of winners seem to be defined in streaks, as five-year-olds won six of the eight installments between 1999 and 2006, while the four-year-olds captured all five editions from 2007 through 2011.

Only three favourites have gone on to victory in the Royal Hunt Cup since 1980. They include True Panache at 5/1 in 1989, Yeast at 8/1 in 1996 and Forgotten Voice at 4/1 in 2009. Other recent winners at single digits were Macadamia at 8/1 and Royal Oath at 9/1 in 2007.

Payouts at double digits are much more common in this highly contested mile, which attracts fields of 25 to 32 starters. In 1990, Pontenuovo delivered at 50/1, setting the high mark for long odds success. Since the turn of the new millennium, two winners have delivered at 25/1 odds—Norton in 2002 and Mr Aviator in 2008. Providing an even bigger payout was Invisible Man in 2010, worth 28/1 to the chestnut stallion’s backers.

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