Settle for Bay Aiming to Double Up in the Hunt Cup

Settle for Bay Aiming to Double Up in the Hunt Cup

Very few races at Royal Ascot turn into a procession, with narrow victories and photo finishes commonplace at the Berkshire track. However, Settle for Bay was one of the most convincing winners at last year’s royal meeting, finishing two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Afaak in the 2018 Royal Hunt Cup. Despite following up his victory with a number of underwhelming performances, Settle for Bay looks primed for another big run at this year’s festival.

There has only been one back-to-back winner of the Royal Hunt Cup with Master Vote securing top honours in successive renewals back in the 1940s. Trainer David Marnane is hoping that his talented five-year old can follow in the footsteps of Herbert Blagrave’s charge, although another hugely competitive field awaits.

Settle for Bay quickened impressively over the mile to help Marnane secure his second festival winner, landing the spoils at odds of 16/1. The French-bred performer had previously done the majority of his best work on the all-weather track at Dundalk, and has subsequently disappointed his backers at Meydan, Naas and Leopardstown. The five-year old’s warm up race in the Glencairn Stakes saw him finish five-and-a-half lengths behind Flight Risk. After having a wind operation in January, Settle for Bay may have benefited from that recent run at Leopardstown, and he could also benefit from a return to the Berkshire track.

He has been described as “quite lazy at home” by his trainer, and Marnane admitted that he desperately needed the run at Naas back in May. He should strip fitter for his latest outing, and has already proven relatively popular in the ante-post betting markets.

All of the Ascot horse racing markets have been priced up ahead of the five-day festival, and the Royal Hunt Cup looks set to be one of the most competitive renewals on the card. Settle for Bay is currently 10/1 second favourite with Paddy Power, but he has been backed in from 16/1 following his appearance at Leopardstown. James Tate’s New Graduate is at the head of the market, and can be backed at 8/1. The four-year-old has had just four career runs, and was last seen winning a class 3 handicap at Ripon by an impressive five lengths.

Roger Charlton’s Blue Mist is another lightly raced sort, but disappointed on his last visit to the track. He finished sixth in the Victoria Cup, and may benefit from the extra yardage here. Bowerman is another horse towards the top of the betting, although all three of his victories have come on all-weather tracks, and he could only finish third on sole turf appearance. Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp is the highest-rated horse in the field, but will be saddled with top weight on June 19th.

Settle for Bay is flying the flag for Ireland once again, and is racing off just 6lbs higher than when hacking up 12 months ago. Connections appear to be confident of another big run from the talented five-year-old, who will be looking to get back on track following a disappointing spell. There has been plenty of money for the five-year-old in recent weeks, and he could take all the beating over the mile once again.

Leave a comment