Royal Hunt Cup Betting Tips: Firmament holds solid each-way claims

Royal Hunt Cup betting tips from Horsebetting.com include stable companions Firmament and Escobar. Both look lively outsiders and each-way bets in the 1m handicap at Royal Ascot on Wednesday, 20 June. Afaak is another worth considering in a typically fierce renewal. Read 2018 Royal Hunt Cup betting tips preview to discover why.

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Odds
20/1
Selection
Firmament
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16/1
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Escobar
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12/1
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Afaak
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Firmament weighted to go well in Royal Hunt Cup

Firmament has become well-treated and looks decent each-way value in the big betting 1m handicap on day two of Royal Ascot, the Royal Hunt Cup (17:00).

The David O’Meara trained six-year-old is on a long losing run having not scored since capturing a competitive 20-runner affair at York back in August 2016 off a mark of 96.

However, that does not tell the whole story as he has posted some solid efforts in defeat including at this venue.

They include a good third to Tabarrak in a Listed contest off an official rating of 109 and a two-length fifth of 17 to Remarkable on the same mark in the Cunard Handicap.

Firmament also ran very well on his final start last season here when a five-length eighth of 20 to Lord Glitters in the Balmoral off 109.

Although he failed to cut any ice on his first two starts of this campaign, those runs came on unsuitable soft ground. There was much more to like about his recent effort when a close up ninth of 27 to Tipp Orf the the Victoria Cup over 7f at Ascot.

Firmament has since been eased further in the weights, so is now able to race off a reduced rating of 100 – 1lb lower than when last victorious.

That should enable him to be very competitive, while the step back up to 1m is another plus as all four of his career successes have come over the trip.

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Other O’Meara entrant Escobar also worth considering

Yorkshire-based handler O’Meara also saddles Escobar and he also looks a big each-way player for the yard.

The gelding has some smart form as a juvenile when in the care of Hugo Palmer, winning twice and finishing third in a Group 3.

Escobar subsequently failed to live up to expectations last season, with his form tailing off after a decent second in a Listed contest at Sandown first time up.

However, O’Meara appears to have found the key to him as Escobar could not have been more impressive when coming from off the pace and quickening smartly to score easily by two lengths at Haydock six days ago.

Although now 4lb higher in the weights, he’s been rated as high as 106 in the past, so a current mark of 99 shouldn’t be beyond him.

The win will also have done his confidence the world of good and Escobar’s running style should suit this 1m cavalry charge.

Afaak favourite and a key player

The ante post betting is headed by Afaak, who is a progressive sort and looks sure to go well.

Trained by John Hills, the four-year-old has won three of his nine starts and ran very well in last year’s Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket when he was half-a-length second of 16 to the classy Addeybb.

Afaak has had just two starts this season, finding soft ground against him when 12th of 22 in the Spring Mile at Newbury before landing a 10-runner contest at York in good style.

The gelding travelled well throughout before asserting close home to beat Love Dreams by 1 1/2 lengths.

He was value for more than the winning margin, so a 6lb rise in the weights looks fair.
Afaak also has underfoot conditions that he relishes and ran well at this meeting 12 months from a poor draw when seventh of 29 to Bless Him in the Britannia Stakes.

With further improvement also likely, Afaak looks to have the ideal profile for the Royal Hunt Cup and appeals as a solid each-way contender.

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