Cunard Handicap betting tips: Gilgamesh the answer to Ascot puzzle

Horsebetting.com experts give their 2018 Cunard Handicap betting tips from Ascot. Gilgamesh has a terrific record under Jamie Spencer, so looks worth a bet to land a fierce renewal of this 7f handicap on Saturday, 8 September. The Roger Varian trained Cape Byron has been knocking on the door of late in similar big fields affairs and rates the main danger.  Last year’s third Raising Sand looks weighted to run another big race, so appeals as the each-way value. For full details, read our in-depth 2018 Cunard Handicap betting tips preview.

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Odds
7/1
Selection
Gilgamesh
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Paddy Power logo
Odds
7/1
Danger
Cape Byron
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Odds
14/1
E/W
Raising Sand
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Gilgamesh can deliver under Spencer in Cunard Handicap

Gilgamesh looks worth a bet to land a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of the 7f Cunard Handicap at Ascot on Saturday (14:45) now reunited with in-form jockey Jamie Spencer, who rides the straight track at the Berkshire venue better than anyone and has a 75 per cent strike rate on the George Scott trained gelding.

Spencer has partnered the four-year-old on four occasions and steered him to a hat-trick of successes at the beginning of last season. He’s now aboard for the first time since the last of those victories at Redcar in May 2017, so that suggests connections mean business.

The son of Foxwedge is also a progressive sort who has won five of his 12 career starts and looked as good as ever in some hot handicap this season. He got back on the scoresheet when beating So Beloved by a short-head in an 11-runner affair at York in May off a mark of 96, but was value for more than the winning margin as he hit the front too early and idled.

Connections then decided to drop him back to 6f and have a crack at the valuable Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot, and he ran an excellent race to finish a 2 3/4 lengths seventh of 28 to Bacchus off a rating of 100 – staying in strongly to be nearest at the finish. Although then not so good when 10th of 18 to Burnt Sugar in the Bunbury Cup over 7f at Newmarket when sent off the 5/1 favourite, he caught the eye last time out when a tenderly handled seventh of 15 to Cenotaph at Chelmsford.

Gilgamesh has since been dropped 1lb and is now able to race in this off 98 – that is just 2lb higher than when last successful, so gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective. He is also four from nine over the 7f trip of this and has his ideal underfoot conditions.

This race is also sure to be run at a strong gallop and that will play to his strengths as he needs to be delivered as late as possible. Spencer is the ideal pilot for those tactics, so everything looks in place for a huge run and thus Gilgamesh had to be the main selection in our 2018 Cunard Handicap betting tips.

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In-form Cape Byron a major player

There are plenty of potential dangers in a race in which a case can be made for many, but Cape Byron looks the obvious danger to Gilgamesh as he posted four solid efforts this season and deserves to bag a big prize like this.

This Roger Varian trained four-year-old, who landed a handicap here over a mile 12 months ago, ran a screamer from an unfavourable wide draw when a length fourth of 17 to Senority in the Golden Mile at Goodwood two starts back. After being dropped in at the rear, the son of Shamardal made good headway two from home and kept on strongly to be gaining all the way to the line off a mark of 98.

Cape Byron backed that up with a similar effort at the same venue off 2lb higher when a keeping on 1 3/4 lengths second of 17 to Flaming Spear in another ultra-competitive affair over 7f. He has been raised another 1lb for that and now has to race off a career-high rating of 101.

That is not ideal, but he looks the type who should have more to offer, so it shouldn’t prove beyond him. The fact he has has proven course form is also a plus and Cape Byron is also versatile as regards ground. Granted luck in-running, he looks sure to be right in the thick of things at the business end of affairs, so we had no hesitation including Cape Byron among our potential punts for this.

Raising Sand odds appeal each-way

Of those at bigger odds, Raising Sand looks a lively outsider and makes plenty of each-way appeal. Trained by Jamie Osborne, the six-year-old’s last success came at this venue over a mile and he also ran a cracker in this 12 months ago when a fast-finishing 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 17 to Remarkable off a mark of 98 having forfeited vital ground when dwelling at the start.

Raising Sand went on to round off the campaign with a solid 1 1/4 lengths third of 18 over course and distance to subsequent Group 1 winner Accidental Agent. As a result, he started off this season on a rating of 100 and has failed to trouble the judge in three outings.

However, he was far from disgraced when keeping on to finish a never nearer four-length seventh of 30 to handicap blot Settle For Bay in the Royal Hunt Cup over 1m here back in June and is now able to race off 2lb lower. A revised rating off 98 is the same as when arguably an unlucky loser in last year’s renewal and makes Raising Sand look weighted to run a huge race at a track which clearly plays to his strengths.

So, taking all that into account and at the odds on offer, Raising Sand looks cracking value. He therefore features as the each-way punt among our 2018 Cunard Handicap betting tips in what a typically competitive renewal of this supporting event to the Lavazza Stakes.

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