Royal Ascot Ante-Post Selections - Royal Hunt Cup

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Ghaly 12/1

The first selection in the 2023 Royal Hunt Cup is the Godolphin owned Ghaly who has not yet been seen this season but from his form to date could take all the beating off 102.

Sent to Hamilton in June last year for his first run of the season he finished a half length second behind Austrian Theory who was seen winning a valuable handicap at Epsom at the weekend off a mark of 91.

Ghaly was then sent to York in a Class 3 Handicap off 93 and beat the talented Blue For You who is now rated 6lb higher than that mark.

Last seen at Newmarket in October running off 1lb higher, he was giving 9lb to the Godolphin owned King's Conquest and went on to beat him comfortably.

King's Conquest has been one of the most progressive horses this season winning all three of his events in Bahrain, at Newmarket in the Suffolk Stakes and last time out when beating Francesco Clemente in the Listed Festival Stakes at Goodwood.

Ghaly's form is extremely strong and although 8lb higher for this race he could be highly progressive and currently at 12/1 its a big enough price to find out just how good he could be.

Orbaan 20/1

At a bigger price for David O'Meara is the talented Orbaan who may be eight years of age now but last season showed himself to be in the form of his life and although taking some time this season to get back to that, his latest run at Epsom showed us the fire still burns.

A winner at Glorious Goodwood in the 18 runner Golden Mile Handicap off a mark of 87 on good to firm ground, he then dropped to 7f at Ascot off a mark of 95 and made it back to back wins in a competitive event.

Sent to York off 4lb higher in the Clipper Logisitics Handicap at the Ebor meeting, he ran another stormer to finish a solid fourth to a well handicapped stablemate in Blue For You.

He finished off last season with two more solid runs off 99 at Goodwood when second behind the progressive I'm A Gambler at Goodwood who won off a mark of 110 and then fifth at Ascot in the 20 runner Balmoral Handicap off 1lb higher.

O'Meara is a target trainer especially in the big fielded handicaps at Royal Ascot seeing plenty of success over the years and this season it looks as though Orbaan's mark has been set up for this race all term.

His first two runs of the season of 100 and 99 were below par efforts in decent events at Haydock and Ascot, but when last seen at the weekend at Epsom, off a mark of 97 he finished a close fourth over 8.5f in the competitive Racehorse Lotto Handicap.

That race showed he still has plenty to give event at the age of eight and having already won at Ascot, his price of 20/1 could be big for him to hit the frame.