The racing at Royal Ascot is so fiercely competitive that it might be supposed that any draw bias would be negligible, however the King’s Stand Stakes on the meeting’s first day once again upheld the record of a group of sainted stalls and the Royal Hunt Cup is another race in which the draw can give punting pointers.
Before the 2013 King’s Stand horses berthed in stalls 10 to 15 had won six of the last nine renewals and that trend continued with Sole Power – who broke from 14 – taking glory in the 5f Group 1, with four of the first six home also quartered in the ideal section of the draw.
Mercifully for punters trying to get their head around the 30-runner battle-charge, the Royal Hunt Cup is another race in which the draw has played a part over the last decade. Eight of the last 10 winners and 17 of the last 31 placed horses were drawn in stalls 20 or higher.
In stall 22 high class handicapper Fury must have an excellent chance from 4lbs below his last winning mark. He started last season with a close third in the Lincoln and placed in two more big Saturday mile handicaps (despite his rising handicap mark), before scoring in the listed Hambleton handicap at York off 104.
Usually at his best early in the campaign, his seasonal bow at Windsor last time had the look of a pipe-opener which should bring him on for the experience and his astute handler is applying first time blinkers in a bid to have his charge at his sharpest at Ascot.
Just to make him that bit more appealing he’s better off at the weights with Navajo Chief, 2012 winner Prince Of Johanne, Spa’s Dancer and Excellent Guest despite finishing ahead of them in the Cambridgeshire at the tail end of last season when he was most likely cooked after a long campaign. He’s also 10lbs better off with Captain Bertie and Global Village for a quarter-length second to the former in the 2012 Spring Cup.
Having relished soft going in the past, he could be backed with even more confidence were there a bit of rain overnight, but he’s previously scored on good and good-to-firm and rates a smashing little bet for the each-way thieves at 16/1 – an industry best price at Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.