The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the biggest betting minefields across the five days of Royal Ascot, with 33 runners bounding down the 1m straight course in Berkshire.
For those having difficulty unpicking the locks imprisoning which of this year’s entrants are handicapped best, maybe a trends perspective will make the process of finding the winner easier?
The King of Stats has run the rule over the race in recent years and discovered which trends are most common among winners. Read on to find which horse ticks the most boxes this time:
13 of the last 14 winners had won over at least a mile before
This immediately rules out four of this year’s giant field, including expected favourite Convey, who has not won over a distance further than 7f to date.
Neither has Emell, while both Battle Of Marathon and Bossy Guest have yet to show the stamina to win over a trip beyond 6f.
Nine of the last 10 winners broke from a double-figure stall
High-number stalls have dominated recent renewals, with the horse drawn closest to the rail in 33 taking three of the last seven renewals. Convey has this position this year.
The unfortunate ones drawn on the opposite side of the track are Balty Boys (1), Secret Brief (3), Portage (4), Earth Drummer (5), Hors De Combat (6), Early Morning (7), Hasanour (8) and Glory Awaits (9).
Six of the last nine winners were aged exactly four
Last year’s winner Gm Hopkins was among this successful age group and is now obviously aged five alongside Basem, Spark Plug, Master Of The World, Spirit Raiser, Donncha, Man Of Harlech, Instant Attraction, Can’t Change It and Lat Hawill.
Others that are also removed from the shortlist for being too old are Boomshackerlacker (6), Captain Cat, Solar Deity and Balmoral Castle (all 7) and Belgian Bill (8).
11 of the 14 winners carried 9-1 or less to victory
Runners towards the foot of the weights have tasted the most success this century and those seemingly on marks too high this time are Mr Owen (9-9), Mitchum Swagger (9-8) and both Algaith and Carry On Deryck (9-6).
These four trends have already narrowed the Royal Hunt Cup field down to two runners – Azraff and Librisa Breeze.
Both arrive at Ascot off the back of victories on their most recent starts, with Librisa Breeze up 5lb for a last-to-first victory on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, while Azraff has been hiked 4lb for a similar handicap success at Newbury last month.
The form of the latter’s performance looks far stronger and he also fits two other key Royal Hunt Cup trends that Librisa Breeze doesn’t. These are that 10 of the last 14 winners had run either twice or three times previously in the same season and that over half of the latest 14 victors had previous experience of Ascot.
It will take a personal best for Azraff to win this, but at least the statistics indicate Marco Botti’s handicapper is best equipped to do so .
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.