Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Each-Way Tips: Mark Milligan siding with two in Hunt Cup

Royal Ascot
Mark Milligan is going into the Hunt Cup two-handed

Mark Milligan previews Wednesday's Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, and has selections at 14/1 and 8/1...

  • Mark Milligan previews ultra-competitive Hunt Cup with Betfair paying six places rather than four

  • Awaal strong fancy if back to Lincoln form

  • Astro King can't be ignored after unlucky York run


Royal Ascot - 17:00 - Back Awaal E/W, 6 places @ 14/115.00

Wednesday's Royal Hunt Cup (17:00) is always one of the most fiercely contested handicaps of the flat season and this year's renewal is no exception, where it's no stretch to say cases can be made for many of the 30-strong field, but at least we have six places available on the Sportsbook.

We also have to factor in the draw, which is very difficult to predict beforehand, and often the race can be shaped by where the main pace is. With that in mind, I'm going to go in two-handed and am picking one from each side in the hope that we can negate any negative draw effects.

Having done a pace map for the race, It looks to me as though the main bulk of the pace will be towards the high numbers, particularly with Point Lynas and Quantico on that side, so I'm going to side with Awaal from stall 29.

Simon & Ed Crisford's runner is making just his seventh start and proved very progressive as a 3-y-o, winning a novice at Lingfield and signing off with an impressive win in handicap company at Redcar in October.

On the back of his good 2022 form, Awaal was sent off just 9/2 for the Lincoln at Doncaster in April, where he travelled like the best horse at the weights only to be run out of things by proper soft-ground specialist Migration late in the day.

I'm prepared to overlook his disappointing run in a small-field listed contest in France last time, where he clearly wasn't right for whatever reason and it's highly likely the circumstances of that race simply didn't play to his strengths.

If he was coming into this straight off that excellent Lincoln effort, I've no doubt he'd be trading shorter than the current 14/1, and that Doncaster run is much more reflective of his chances in here than that France debacle.

William Buick is an excellent jockey booking and the strong-travelling Awaal should get a good tow into the race with plenty of pace around him.

Back Awaal E/W, 6 places @ 14/115.00

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Back Astro King each-way, 6 places @ 8/19.00

If I had a gun to my head, I'd be more inclined to say this will favour high numbers over low, but I can't let Astro King go unbacked from stall 12 having been with him at York last time, where things just didn't pan out well.

He'd have gone very close to winning that contest with a better run through and looks to have sound claims if able to replicate that effort.

That was Astro King's first run for Daniel & Claire Kubler, who have an excellent record with new acquisitions and, having been in the frame twice previously in this race for Sir Michael Stoute, it would be no surprise to see him go close once more.

The son of Kingman was second off a mark of 98 in 2021, before finishing fourth off 102 last season and his current mark of 99 clearly still has some mileage in it.

It's possible he ends up on the wrong side, but the draw is simply a guessing game at this stage and at least we have the insurance of also having a runner on the opposite side of the track.

What isn't in doubt is that Astro King looks every bit as good as ever based on that York run and, if he comes into this race in the same sort of nick as the last two years, he'll likely go close again granted a level playing field.

Back Astro King E/W, 6 places @ 8/19.00

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Mark's P/L (Not incl. Tues)

Staked: 397 Returns: 487.10 P/L: +90.10

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