Victoria Cup Preview – Saturday 12th May
Last updated: May 11, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The big betting race this weekend is the Victoria Cup Handicap at Ascot over seven furlongs.
The race often provides clues to the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and other top mile handicaps. Notable previous winners include Yeast (1996), Mine (2004), Iffraaj (2005) and Flash Fire (2016). Fastnet Tempest won the race last year for William Haggas and Josephine Gordon.
Spencer aboard Victoria Cup favourite
Jamie Spencer struck late to win on Spectacular Bid for David Elsworth in the 2015 Victoria Cup. He rides ante-post favourite Keyser Soze for Richard Spencer on Saturday. He looked set to win the Newbury Spring Cup over a mile when bursting through inside the final furlong, only to be headed in the dying strides. He eventually finished third, beaten only half a length behind Taqdeer. That was his first race for almost a year and the drop back to seven furlongs should be in his favour.
David Barron’s Kynren also returned from a lengthy absence to finish third in the Doncaster Spring Mile. He was in the firing line throughout and was beaten under three lengths by High Acclaim. The handicapper had pushed him up 8lbs for a three lengths victory at Redcar in September. He races off the same mark at Ascot with Ben Curtis booked for the ride.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Silent Attack overcame an absence of 427 days when beating Sea Fox in a Lingfield handicap last month. That was his first success since 2016 and he struggled in Dubai the following year. His victory at Lingfield was not unexpected but he has gone up 7lbs as a result.
Louie De Palma the ante-post gamble
The ante-post gamble of the race is Louie De Palma who has not raced since finishing second in a Group 2 at Goodwood back in 2014. That was high-class juvenile form but it will take a phenomenal piece of training by Clive Cox to have him spot on for this race. A handicap mark of 92 does not look excessive but there does not appear to be much value left at odds of around 8-1.
John Gosden saddles Pouvoir Magique, a four-year-old son of Le Havre. He has been gelded since winning at Newcastle in November when rated 85. He has gone up 3lbs and will be ridden by Kieran O’Neill.
David O’Meara is a dab hand at bringing the best out of horses that have lost their way. He trained Bravery to win last season’s Lincoln on his first run since leaving Aidan O’Brien’s stable. He has another interesting recruit here in Escobar, a one-time Classic hope when trained by Hugo Palmer. Escobar was gelded and tried in various forms of headgear last season without success. He is potentially well treated on a mark of 97.
Richard Hannon stunned punters when saddling 66-1 chance Billesdon Brook to win the 1000 Guineas last weekend. He is represented by Tony Curtis here, well beaten in the Newbury Spring Cup. He may struggle to reverse the form with Keyser Soze.
Via Serendipity should be sharper for his recent third on the all-weather and could go well at long odds. Spanish City overcame a 314-day absence to win at Newcastle earlier this month for Roger Varian. He has gone up 5lbs while course winners Shady McCoy and Raising Sand are others to consider in a wide-open contest.
Victoria Cup Betting Tips
Keyser Soze @7-1 William Hill.
Each-way 1/4 odds, 1,2,3,4,5
The Victoria Cup is due off at 4.00pm on Saturday 12th May and will be screened live on ITV4.