Bunbury Cup Preview – Saturday 14th July
Last updated: July 13, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The big betting race this weekend is the £120,000 Bet365 Bunbury Cup Handicap over seven furlongs at Newmarket.
The race was won three times by Mine between 2002 and 2006, trained by James Bethell. Trainer Richard Fahey won the Bunbury Cup three times in five years with Brae Hill (2011), Heaven’s Guest (2014) and Rene Mathis (2015). There have only been two successful favourites within the last fourteen years, both ridden by Frankie Dettori. St Moritz was clear favourite when winning in 2010 and Golden Steps started joint-favourite in 2016.
Gilgamesh ante-post favourite for Bunbury Cup
The early favourite is Gilgamesh, trained by George Scott for the Niarchos family. He won narrowly at York in May when beating So Beloved by a short-head. The gelding was quietly fancied for the Wokingham Handicap over six furlongs at Royal Ascot next time. He ran on steadily without ever threatening the leaders, eventually finishing seventh to Bacchus. He now steps back up to his optimum trip.
Mubtasim is a high class gelding trained by William Haggas. He missed some tempting engagements at Royal Ascot and must be respected on his last outing at Haydock. He was beaten three-quarters of a length by Tabarrak over this distance.
Mukalal is a four-year-old trained by Marcus Tregoning in the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum. He was having his first run for 257 days when finishing down the field in the Royal Hunt Cup. The mile was probably stretching his stamina that day and he has winning form at this distance.
Ryan Moore booked for Makzeem
Roger Charlton has booked Ryan Moore to partner Makzeem, a five-year-old gelding by Makfi. He has plenty to prove after finishing last in both races this season at Haydock and Windsor. He was well adrift of Mubtasim at Haydock but Charlton’s horses are in much better form of late.
Gerald Mosse rides top weight Speculative Bid for David Elsworth. The seven-year-old won the Victoria Cup at Ascot in 2015 and came back from a two-year absence last season. He was rated 105 when winning at Doncaster in November and is 3lbs higher this weekend.
David O’Meara’s Firmament was not disgraced in the Hunt Cup when finishing in midfield. He did not enjoy the clearest of runs and has dropped a few pounds in the handicap since the start of the season. Muntadab ran a good race under a big weight at York last time behind Above The Rest. The winner has since followed up in a Group 3 race at Newcastle so the form looks solid. He should confirm that form with Spanish City and Shady McCoy, fourth and sixth respectively.
Mark Johnston has three entries for this race including Masham Star, a winner at Windsor last month. He then finished fourth at Sandown Park off a 4lbs higher mark. Von Blucher is talented but seems to have lost his way this season. He has beaten only one horse in his last four races since winning at Newcastle in January.
Mubtasim @6-1 Bet365
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4
The Bunbury Cup is due off at 1.40 at Newmarket on Saturday 14th July and will be televised live on ITV.