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The ultra-competitive Bunbury Cup is always a tricky race to unravel. Run on the final day of the three-day Newmarket July Festival the seven-furlong race often has a field of twenty plus runners so using several proven past trends is a great way of whittling down the runners. Our Bunbury Cup Tips can help you find the winner of the race.
In recent years the Richard Fahey yard have targeted the race with a fair amount of success – winning the prize in 2011, 2014 and 2015 – so their runners should always be given a second glance, while top jockeys Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori have won the race twice each since 2009.
Horses from a double-figure draw have filled the first three places in 50% of the last sixteen renewals, plus despite the big field it’s generally a contest the punters get right with ten of the last sixteen winners returning between 10/1 and 16/1 in the betting.
To help pin-point the winner of the 2018 Bunbury Cup we are on-hand with some useful key trends and statistics – use these to find the best profiles of past winners.
There are always many trends to apply to each race but to keep things simple we’ve picked out four standout stats and applied these to the main 2018 runners. We hope they help you find the winner!
• 15 of the last 16 winners raced three or more times that season
• 15 of the last 16 winners had won over seven furlongs before
• 12 of the last 16 winners carried 9-3 or less in weight
• 10 of the last 16 winners were aged either 4 or 5 years-old
In the build-up to the Bunbury Cup, the George Scott-trained Gilgamesh has been very popular in the ante-post market. This 4 year-old was last seen running seventh in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot, but how many of our main trends does he fit?
Trends – Key Runners
Spanish City ✅✅✅✅
It’s always worth looking a bit further down the betting but to keep things simple we’ve applied our four ‘standout’ trends to the top six horses in the Bunbury Cup betting.
The George Scott-trained Gilgamesh has been very popular in the ante-post market all week and it’s easy to see why. This four year-old was last seen running in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot and even though at first glance his finishing position (seventh) might look a negative – he was actually only beaten just under three lengths. Not only does he tick ALL of our four main trends listed above but the step up from six furlongs to seven looks another huge plus. He was running on well last time at Ascot and would surely have got closer had he had another furlong to travel over. Prior to that last outing he won at York off just a four pound lower mark and has actually only raced ten times, suggesting he’s also got more improvement in him. Four of his career wins have been over this seven-furlong trip, while he’s fine on this quick ground. Draw thirteen gives him options in the middle of the pack and William Buick, who has won on the horse in the past, is back in the saddle and, of course, the final icing on the cake. He seems to have a lot going for him.
Next up is Mubtasim from the William Haggas stable, who are looking for their first win in this race. This four year-old is a classy sort that has run some solid races in better company of late. However, he had a black mark on three of our four key trends. He fits the main age stat, but having only raced twice this season, plus having never won over seven furlongs are clear negatives. With 9st-8lbs in weight he also falls down on that trend, while in recent years nine of the last sixteen winners have come from a double-figure stall – he’s been handed stall six. His pluses are that leading Irish jockey, Donnacha O’Brien, has been booked to ride, and he should also find this drop in a handicap from Listed and Group company much more to his liking. Fast ground is his preference too but the main negative that his supporters will be hoping he can overturn is that from four runs over this seven-furlong trip he’s yet to win.
Makzeem will have the services of Ryan Moore and when punters see that he’s sure to be popular. This Roger Charlton-trained five year-old is another that is dropping down in grade after last seen running at Listed level. He’s also a proven course and distance winner – one of just three in the race – so that has to count for something, while the stable knows what’s required to take this prize after winning it in 2003 with Patavellian. He’s won over further (one and a quarter miles) but this seven-furlong trip has been responsible for two of his three career wins. That victory over further came on good-to-firm ground but it might pay to know his two wins over this trip were on good-to-soft. His rating of 103 might still give him something to prove though, with his last win coming off a 6lb lower mark. So, with the age and trip trends on his side, plus a jockey that’s ridden the winner of this race in 2009 and 2012 on his back, he’s got a fair amount going for him. Those against him will look to the fact he’s only had two runs this season, plus draw eight and his current handicap mark looking a tad high as factors to overcome.
Mukalal heads into the race with three out of four positive ticks – with only having had one run this season as the only negative. His supporters will lean on the fact at just four years-old he should have more to offer and that he’s got a handy-looking weight of just 8st 13lbs. He will, however, need to bounce back from a below-par run in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot last time (seventh), but in his defence that was his first run back after a wind operation and some horses need a few races to regain their confidence after that surgery. He’s been given stall 4 though, which might not be ideal, while his jockey, Jim Crowley, will be looking for his first win in this race.
The Roger Varian-trained Spanish City is the next one to look at. He scrapes into the race as the final runner but with that he’s only got 8st 7lbs to carry. Draw fifteen also looks like being a bonus with nine of the last sixteen winners hailing from stalls fourteen or higher. He’s a horse that showed plenty of speed a few seasons ago but since being upped to this seven-furlong trip has also shown the required stamina to see the distance out. He’s won twice over this trip and with the last of those coming only a few outings ago (off a three pound lower mark) then there is every reason to feel there’s more to come. He seems to enjoy hearing his hooves rattle on this quick ground and has also tasted the July Course in the past when running a fair fourth here last June. Looking at our four main stats, this five year-old also gets the clean sweep with ticks for them all. With four runs this season he should be at peak fitness, plus, as already mentioned, he’s a proven winner over this trip and also has a very light weight – based on all this then he’s certainly a horse to have on your radar.
Firmament is the final horse to look at. This six year-old has been a bit out-of-sorts so far this season but as a result is slowly slipping down the handicap. In his prime he was rated 109 so being now eight pounds lower gives him an obvious chance. He’s a horse that handles most ground but the main concern with him would be the trip – all four of his career wins have been over a mile. Based on this then, yes, we know he stays further than this seven-furlong trip so if he’s able to keep tabs on the field his proven stamina will help in the closing stages. However, having tried this distance now eleven times without success then the evidence is there for all to see surrounding the trip.
Every race covered live on ITV can be found on our ITV Racing Tips, with runner by runner previews for each contest.