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Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06

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Reappearing Afaak to go one better than last year

WEDNESDAY 5.00 ROYAL HUNT CUP

Kevin Morley

Afaak Tailed off in the Cambridgeshire on his final start last term but seems happier over a mile, as shown when second in this race last year. Same mark again and must have a decent chance if in the same form. Beringer In decent form this year, following up April’s Newmarket win with a fair fifth in a competitive handicap at York the following month. Careerbest needed to land this but that’s far from impossible. Beshaayir Would have a decent chance if trainer decided to come here, but latest Group 2 win at the Curragh suggests the Duke of Cambridge is a more likely destination for her. Blue Mist Good sixth in the Victoria Cup over 7f here on his reappearance. Course-anddistance winner last year so no worries moving back up to a mile. Still unexposed and looks a serious player but will likely need a penalty to make the cut. Bowerman Done little wrong so far, winning three of his five starts, including when a ready winner at Newcastle last time. This will obviously be much tougher and will be by far the biggest field he has faced but shouldn’t be underestimated. Cape Byron Landed the Victoria Cup over 7f on his reappearance here last month. Clearly likes the track but a mile seems to stretch him and was only mid-division last year. 7lb higher this time and others look better treated. Chatez Remains capable despite his advancing years, as shown when winning Newbury’s Spring Cup on his reappearance. Held off his current mark of 104 at Haydock last time and will need soft ground to be competitive. Chief Ironside Well beaten when facing a stiff task on unsuitably soft ground over 1m2½f at Chester on his reappearance. Bulk of his form is over further but unexposed over this trip and the extra stamina he possesses could hold him in good stead. Elector This looked a potential target for him following his reappearance win at Newmarket last month. Will probably need a penalty to make the cut, though, and that looks more difficult now given he was comfortably beaten at Epsom last time. Key Victory Looked promising when winning a 1m2f Newmarket Listed race on his reappearance in 2018 and not disgraced when sixth in last year’s Hampton Court. Struggled in Dubai this winter, though, and comes here with something to prove. King’s Field Shaped nicely when third in a 7f Naas Listed race on his reappearance. Successful over this trip in a Dundalk handicap last year. Needs to improve but still unexposed. Kynren Followed up his Lincoln runner-up reappearance effort with another second in the Victoria Cup here over 7f. Plenty of solid big-field handicaps to his name last season as well. Should be thereabouts but has a habit of finding at least one too good. Lush Life Lightly raced type who looked like he could thrive in a big field when coming from off the pace to win at Sandown last time. Could have done with going up more than 3lb for that neck success and will probably need to win again somewhere to make the cut. Mitchum Swagger Respectable eighth in last year’s Balmoral over course and distance, and also third in this in 2016. However, below par on two starts this term and likely his best chance of winning this has passed him by. Mordin Only twice finished outside the first two in 11 starts and showed a big field suits when second in last year’s Cambridgeshire. Looked an improved performer when winning at Haydock on his reappearance and has to enter calculations. New Graduate Promising in novice contests last year but took his form to a new level when bolting up at Ripon on his handicap debut and reappearance. This will be tougher but looked Patternclass last time and the 15lb rise he earned for that success ensures he makes the cut. Petrus Won his first two starts this term, including Doncaster’s Spring Mile, a Lincoln consolation, on his reappearance and a fair fourth at Newbury last time. Hard to see him stepping up again to win this but has each-way possibilities. Preening Third in a couple of Listed races last term but also had some useful handicap form. Second in a Kempton Listed race on her reappearance and remains open to improvement. Touch and go if she makes the cut but respected if she gets in. Raising Sand Loves the track, as shown when winning the Challenge Cup last October and finishing fourth in the Victoria Cup on his reappearance over 7f. Seventh in this last year and holds eachway claims but seems better over shorter. Red Mist Some useful form to his name last season, in France as well as Britain, and a fair third on his reappearance at Ripon last month. Never faced a field as big as this, though, which is the main question mark. Red Starlight Fair efforts in four defeats this term, although slightly disappointing she couldn’t manage a bit better than third when sent off favourite for a Listed fillies’ race at Musselburgh last time. Could sneak a place if running to her best but needs to find a bit more to win. Red Tea Irish mare who has a big-field handicap win at the Curragh to her name. While she’s competitive in Patternclass races, she’s unlikely to be good enough to win the Duke of Cambridge and is of interest if lining up here instead. Robin Of Navan Group class a few seasons ago. Not as good now but his mark reflects that and didn’t get the best of runs at Newbury last time. Fair third in course-anddistance Listed race before that and could be a dark horse. Seniority Secured a penalty to just make the cut last year and was sent off favourite when running a decent enough race to finish eighth. Struggled in Dubai earlier this year but much better when second in a decent handicap at Epsom last time and could feature. Settle For Bay Shown little in three starts this season but bolted up in this race last season. 6lb higher this time but that wouldn’t have stopped him 12 months ago and would be a major player if back on song. Stylehunter Good chance of making the cut and sixth in last year’s Britannia over course and distance. Bit more needed to feature here but still lightly raced so that’s a possibility. What’s The Story Fourth in this last year and looked a slightly improved performer when landing a competitive handicap at York last month. Only 2lb higher than 12 months ago so has to be seriously considered. Verdict The first two home last year could be the ones to focus on and it’s the second Afaak who can come out on top this time. He remains relatively lightly raced and is well suited by a strongly run mile. It’s hard to forget how easily Settle For Bay won last year and, although he has struggled this term, it’s likely this has been the target. Blue Mist will need a penalty to make the cut but he’ll be a big threat if making the line-up. 1 Afaak 2 Settle For Bay 3 Blue Mist

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