Some love them; some hate them, but working out one of Royal Ascot’s fiendishly difficult handicap puzzles rewards punters like nothing else.
The Royal Hunt Cup (Wednesday 5.00pm) is possibly the biggest lottery of them all, especially when the ground is soft and the effects of the draw unclear.
Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore team up with Convey who is almost certain to go off favourite.
The four-year-old was only just touched off in the Group Three Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock last time over seven furlongs.
He has an obvious chance, but I would never back any horse at single figures in a Hunt Cup and I’m happy to leave him alone at 7/1 with Coral.
Portage is available at 12/1 and I find it harder to leave him out of the portfolio. He won over course and distance on soft ground last July and his form since then has been very solid.
I can see a big gamble on him, but I’d rather stick with a couple of bigger-priced contenders in a race like this.
My first selection is LIBRISA BREEZE on just his second start for Dean Ivory at a general 20/1.
This grey gelding landed a couple of races last year when trained by Jeremy Noseda and produced a taking performance to win on his debut for Ivory at Wolverhampton at April.
The form of that race has been franked by the second and fourth, while Ivory’s horses have really clicked into gear over the past couple of weeks.
Librisa Breeze stays further than a mile which is important at Ascot on soft ground and his draw in 26 could be ideal.
It’s always good to have one on each side of the track and I’m also interested in GLORY AWAITS for David Simcock and Jamie Spencer from stall nine.
Glory Awaits has run in the Queen Anne at this meeting for the past two years and it’s easy to forget that he was second to Dawn Approach three years ago in the 2000 Guineas when trained by Kevin Ryan.
This six-year-old is now down to a mark in the nineties for the first time since that run in the Guineas and he looks worth supporting at 33/1 following a decent fourth in the Hambleton at York last time.
Mr Owen is another horse that has been plying his trade in better company and will be trying to give France a historic win in this race. He can outrun his 25/1 odds.
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Librisa Breeze e/w, 5.00pm, Royal Ascot
Glory Awaits e/w, 5.00pm, Royal Ascot