Monday, 15th Jun 2020
The big betting race at Royal Ascot on Wednesday is the Royal Hunt Cup run over the straight mile (15:35), and the unexposed Lord Tennyson looks to have plenty going for him following a solid run on seasonal reappearance.
This Godolphin owned four-year-old looked a smart prospect when making his belated racecourse debut a winning one in an eight-runner novice contest at Chelmsford back in February.
After being held-up in touch and taking a keen hold in the hands of Kieran O’Neill, the son of Poet’s Voice was asked to make a move two from home.
The response was immediate and, after taking things up approaching the final furlong, Lord Tennyson readily drew clear to easily beat Pledge Of Honour by 3 1/2 lengths.
Although what he beat is questionable, the manner in which he got the job done was visually impressive and marked him out as one to keep onside.
That view was confirmed at Newmarket 12 days ago when Lord Tennyson ran a fine race to finish second to Marie’s Diamond in the Listed Paradies Stakes over the mile trip of this.
Although no match for the easy 4 1/2 length winner, Lord Tennyson stuck to the task well under Frankie Dettori having again raced too keenly early doors.
He has been allotted an opening handicap mark of 107 on the back of that. It could well underestimate his ability, given that Lord Tennyson is open to any amount of improvement and Marie’s Diamond is now rated 113.
This big field should also enable him to settle better and he looks to have the perfect profile for this test. So, with Dettori once again in the saddle, Lord Tennyson looks a worthy 15/2 favourite with William Hill.
Fox Premier looks on a potentially handy mark and hails from a yard in form, so appeals most from an each-way betting perspective in a typically fierce renewal of the Royal Hunt Cup where 24 are set to go to post.
This Andrew Baling trained four-year-old won his first two starts last season in good style, before running better than the finishing position suggests at this meeting when a 12 1/2 length ninth of 16 to South Pacific in the 1m 4f King George V Stakes.
Fox Premier was making headway three form home only to find himself blocked behind a wall of horses. Silvestre De Sousa was unable to find a way out, so allowed him to come in his own time.
The son of Frankel then rounded off the campaign with a fine second of 11 to Forest Of Dean in a 1m 2f handicap at Glorious Goodwood off a mark of 95.
Fox Power stayed on well to be beaten 2 1/2 lengths and the winner, to whom he was conceding 2lb, went on to follow-up at York off a rating of 100.
That gives the form a solid look and suggests that Fox Premier should be capable of winning races off his current rating of 97.
The Royal Hunt Cup is also traditionally a strongly run affair, so that will bring his stamina into play.
At odds of 14/1 with 888sport, who are paying five places, Fox Premier thus had to feature as the each-way selection.
In the 1m Silver Royal Hunt Cup that gets proceedings underway (13:15), the Richard Hannon trained Brian Epstein looks decent value at 12/1 with Coral.
This four-year-old son of Dark Angel came good at the third time of asking as a juvenile and shaped well on his first start last season when a 3 1/4 lengths fifth of 14 to Aweedram at Newmarket.
Brian Epstein also ran really well in defeat two starts later when going down by just a short-head to Artistic Rifles at Doncaster following a sustained duel throughout the final furlong.
He then bagged a deserved success at Musselburgh when running on strongly to beat King Of Tonga by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 87.
The assessor hit him with an 8lb rise in the weights for that victory, but Brian Epstein ran a cracker off his revised rating of 95 on return to action at Haydock eight days ago when a 1 1/4 lengths runner-up to Cap Francais.
It was a performance which suggested there was better to come and the pair pulled nicely clear of the third home.
The winner, whom he met on level terms, is also a nice type who finished fourth to subsequent Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in a Listed contest at Lingfield last season off an official rating of 103.
That gives the form a solid look. So, off an unchanged mark, Brian Epstein looks weighted to make a bold bid to go one better and bag this valuable prize.
Given that he is a course and distance winner, Zhui Feng looks capable of going well at a big price having dropped down the weights.
That success came in the 2017 Royal Hunt Cup where the Amanda Perrett trained seven-year-old made all on the stands’ side and stayed on gamely to beat Blair House by half-a-length off a mark of 100.
Zhui Feng went on to land a Listed contest at Windsor in June 2018 off an official rating of 108, but has failed to get his head in front since.
However, he did run well to make the frame on a couple of occasions last year – including when a length runner-up over course and distance off a mark of 97.
Zhui Feng is now able to race off a reduced rating of 94, having shaped quite nicely on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket recently when fourth of 10 to Bell Rock.
That should have put him spot on for the Silver Royal Hunt Cup. On the pick of his form, Zhui Feng has a big chance from a handicapping perspective.
He can be backed at a tempting each-way price of 18/1 with Coral who are paying five places.