Victoria Cup Tips, Betting Offers and Odds
Late April/early May of each year sees the valuable Victoria Cup run at Ascot, home to the Royal Ascot Festival. Here we bring together the best odds, free bets and racing betting offers surrounding the race and also provide our betting tips for the contest.
First run at Ascot in 1988, this 7f Class 2 Heritage Handicap is open to runners aged four and older, with total prize money in excess of £100,000 up for grabs.
Victoria Cup Tips
The highlight handicap event this weekend is Saturday’s Victoria Cup which takes place at Ascot. As is normal for this race, there is a very large field competing in this year’s renewal, with 29 runners on the race card. The class 2 heritage handicap is run over a distance of seven furlongs and has in recent years tended to prefer hold-up horses rather than front runners.
Predominance’s impressive victory at Haydock over seven furlongs last month has helped him establish himself as the slight race favourite here. The decision was made to run the four year old in cheekpieces for the first time and it was a moved that paid off as he clinched a one length victory. He runs just a pound heavier this time and whilst he certainly does offer a good deal of appeal, at odds of 8/1 with Totesport, this price is a little too skinny in such a difficult race.
Hold Tight at 10/1 (Sky Bet) is another who appears quite attractive one the face of things. Although he has not featured in four months, his three career starts which include two wins and a second place finish, give you plenty of reason to like the look of this talented chestnut gelding. His lack of turf racing is a bit of a concern though, he has only featured once on grass and that was on good to soft going during a win Leicester last October. The good to firm conditions which are due at Ascot may take some getting used to so he’s certain a gamble at his current price.
With no horse without some sort of fault here, the pick of the bunch looks like being Mullionheir given his generous price of 20/1 with Totesport. He made a poor start to his racing career but made such huge improvements last season, winning five of his seven starts. Jockey Kieren Fox has helped get the best out of John Best’s five year old and with his services booked once again for this big race, he could well start this season as well as he finished the last.
In such a big field, each way bets should be strongly considered especially as we’ve had two 25/1 winners in the past seven years. At 20/1 with Sky Bet, Valley Of Fire makes for a good each way option this race. He began his competitive career with a win at York on good to firm going. Since making the step up in class he’s yet to triumph but has not been too far from the lead in a couple of Class 2 races so should stand a good chance of placing. He’s not ran since July so it’s tricky to know what to expect from here but his low handicap may help him be a surprise package.
Victoria Cup Previous Winners
- 2015 – Speculative Bid – jockey Jamie Spencer, trainer David Elsworth
- 2014 – Gabriel’s Lad – jockey George Baker, trainer Denis Coakley
- 2013 – Excellent Guest – jockey Tom Queally, trainer George Margarson
- 2012 – Global Village – jockey Tadgh O’Shea, trainer Brian Ellison
- 2011 – Hawkeyethenoo – jockey Gary Bartley, trainer Jim Goldie
- 2010 – Dandy Boy – jockey Colm O’Donoghue, trainer David Marnane
- 2009 – Swift Gift – jockey Martin Dwyer, trainer Brian Meehan
- 2008 – Zaahid – jockey Richard Hills, trainer Barry Hills
- 2007 – Wise Dennis – jockey Hugh Bowman, trainer Alan Jarvis
- 2006 – Partners In Jazz – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer David Barron
Victoria Cup History
Having only been with us since 1988 this Heritage Handicap may not be as steeped in history as others in the racing year, but has nevertheless developed into a much sought after prize. The contest resembles something of a cavalry charge with 25+ runners regularly lining up to tackle the straight seven furlongs of this beautiful Berkshire track.
As well as being one of the top handicap targets of the season, particularly over this specialist’s distance of 7f, the contest also serves as a useful trial for the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot. That prestigious event is run over a furlong further, but Face North in 1994, Yeast in 1996 and Mine in 2004 have all achieved the Victoria Cup, Royal Hunt Cup double.
The stats suggest this is a contest which favours the younger runners. 21 of the first 26 winners were aged four or five, leaving only five wins for those older than this. This trend has shown signs of changing however, as with demand for places in the race becoming greater, it makes it tougher for four year olds lower down the handicap to gain a place in the line-up. It certainly seems unlikely we will see any future winner saddled with as little as 7st 7lb as was the case with Tender Moment in 1993 and Face North in 1994. That said there are always one or two likely to be lurking on favourable marks in these valuable handicaps and only six of the first 21 winners carried over 9st here.
The classiest winner of this handicap to date is 2005 scorer Iffraaj, although the race actually took place at Lingfield in the year of his success as Ascot was undergoing renovation works. The Godolphin colt turned out be pretty smart, going on to land three Group 2 events after his victory here.
Iffraaj certainly fared better than Wing Park, Top Dream, Lomax, Tender Moment, Tregaron, and Zaahid, all of whom failed to win another race in their careers following their success here.
Richard Quinn’s three wins for three different trainers between 1992 and 2004 put him out in front amongst the jockeys. Pat Eddery is the only other jockey to win the race more than once as of 2015.
Top of the tree as far as the trainers are concerned is Reg Akehurst who recorded his three wins in the 1990s. Clive Brittain and Michael Jarvis share second place with two wins apiece.