Fans of big-fielded flat handicaps certainly get their fix at this time of the year and they get another shot in the arm this Saturday as eighteen horses line-up for the Challenge Cup (Heritage Handicap) at Ascot.
Run over seven furlongs, it’s the last of four LIVE ITV races on the Ascot card so armchair punters will be looking to end the afternoon on a high, but to help whittle down the runners there’s some standout trends to have on side.
There are many Challenge Cup tips to take into account, including, a massive fourteen of the last sixteen winners (88%) having won between two and four races in the past, while, considering the competitive nature of the race, the favourites have a good recent record – winning four of the last sixteen (25%) renewals.
You can get more help finding the winner of the Challenge Cup Handicap on our ITV Tips page
So, to help pin-point the winner of Saturday’s 2018 Challenge Cup Handicap we are on-hand with some key trends and statistics – use these to find the best profiles of past winners.
We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse we’ve not featured below then simply apply these stats to that runner.
- 14 of the last 16 winners had won between two and four races
- 13 of the last 16 winners had won over seven furlongs before
- 11 of the last 16 winners raced within the last thirty days
- 11 of the last 16 winners were aged three or four years-old
- 11 of the last 16 winners had raced at Ascot before
- 10 of the last 16 winners carried 9st 1lb or less in weight
- 7 of the last 10 winners came between stalls eight and thirteen
Trends – Key Runners
Cape Byron ✅✅✅✅✅❌✅
Flaming Spear ❌✅❌❌✅❌❌
Ripp Orf ✅✅✅✅✅✅❌
Il Primo Sole ✅✅❌✅✅✅❌
Cape Byron has been a popular choice with ante-post punters in the build-up to this race and it’s easy to see why. This Roger Varian-trained four-year-old heads here off the back of two excellent seconds in similar races, with the most recent of those coming here at Ascot over this seven-furlong trip. He’s was only half a length behind the winner – Ripp Orf – that day and despite being up another two pounds in the ratings actually has a five pound turn around at the weights this time with Ripp Orf . He’s also run well in the three races since being gelded, but those against him will cling to the fact he’s still winless from his last seven runs. The trends, however, suggest he’s got a big chance with only the weight (9st 3lbs) trend looking a negative, while with seven of the last ten winners coming between stalls seven and ten then draw eight looks ideal.
Age: Four, Weight: 9st 3lbs, Drawn: 8
Flaming Spear is the other horse that’s been at the head of the market in the build-up. This six- year-old represents trainer Dean Ivory and owner Tony Bloom, who have history in this race after winning this prize in 2016 with Librisa Breeze. It’s also worth noting that Flaming Spear ran in the contest twelve months ago, when trained by Kevin Ryan, but could only manage fourteenth and is now actually rated three pounds higher. He does, however, head here in winning form after beating Cape Byron in a competitive seventeen-runner handicap at Goodwood at the end of August. The runner-up does have a three-pound weight pull this time though. The trends suggest he’s got a bit to prove though as he falls down on five of our seven key stats.
Age: Six, Weight: 9st 10lbs, Drawn: 16
Ripp Orf has already had a cracking season in these big -field handicaps and if the trends are anything to go by then he’s certainly a horse to have on side. This David Elsworth-trained four-year-old ticks six of our seven main stats and looks sure to be involved – with only his draw (eighteen) being a possible negative. He’s a consistent sort that has finished in the top four in all-bar-one of his seventeen career starts, so, based on that, will be an each-way punters dream. Don’t expect to see him until late on in the race as he’s a horse that likes to come off the pace with a strong finish, and the stiff Ascot track will certainly help with those tactics. His three runs at the Berkshire course read 1-3-1! The icing on the cake is the talented apprentice Jason Watson, who has ridden him on his last three starts, taking off a valuable three pounds from the saddle.
Age: Four, Weight: 8st 11lbs, Drawn: 18
Gilgamesh has been a regular in races like this over the course of the season and is another that ticks more of our trends than most. Having five career wins sees him fall down on our first trend that’s seen fourteen of the last sixteen winners having tasted victory between two and four times, but he gets a thumbs-up for the draw, age and weight stats to certainly make him interesting. A recent second at Newmarket sees him head here in form too and he had Ripp Orf back in fourth that day. He has to give three pounds more away to that rival this time so on paper there should be very little between them. However, if there is a concern it would be his form at the track – so far, he’s raced here three times, finishing 7th, 7th and 11th.
Age: Four, Weight: 8st 11lbs, Drawn: 10
Il Primo Sole will be looking to follow-up trainer John Gosden’s 2012 win in this race and if running to the level that saw him finish a close fifth in the Britannia Stakes here at the Royal Meeting then he’d be a big player. Yes, he’s since flopped at the track in the Gigaset International Stakes but he sweated up a lot before that contest so did have an excuse. With only seven career starts (two wins) he’s one of the lesser exposed runners and has most of our key trends on his side. He does, however, fall down on not having run in the last thirty days, with his last outing coming at the end of July (seventy days ago). Having said that, those of you looking for a bit of forgiveness in this stat will be pleased to know he’s a horse that does go well fresh though – he won on his seasonal reappearance this season after just under six months off.
Age: Three, Weight: 9st 1lb, Drawn: 3
Every Ascot race covered live on ITV can be found on our Ascot Racing Tips page, with runner by runner previews for each contest.