Victoria Cup runner by runner guide
Spycatcher is a promising horse with a convincing performance in a conditions event at Thirsk, but he will need a career-best performance to defy top weight on his rare handicap start.
Vafortino, who won this race 12 months ago and added to his tally at Goodwood, has had a couple of good placed efforts this spring and is a consistent sort who is likely to be on the premises again.
Accidental Agent, a former Queen Anne winner, has shown that he is still capable of really smart handicap performances and should strip fitter for his last week’s Newmarket reappearance, although he faces a 6 lb lower weight than 12 months ago.
Toimy Son won a a listed race in France for trainer Yann Barberot in the spring of 2022. However, in his two starts this spring for his current yard, he has not shown enough to suggest that he will be a major contender in his upcoming race. It is possible that he may need more time to acclimate to his new surroundings and regain his winning form.
Fresh Trained by John Fanshawe Very good Ascot record, winning 2 races last summer. Ended 2022 on a low note but ran with promise when fifth on last month’s AW reappearance. Likely this has been the target.
Kingdom Come has looked highly progressive when racking up a 7f Kempton AW hat-trick this year and beat the reopposing Rainbow Fire last time, but the unknown factor is whether he can cope with the very different conditions he’ll face in this race.
Totally Charming, one of the most progressive handicappers around last season, shapes well to think he may have even more to offer in 2023, and his seventh-place finish in Irish Lincoln on reappearance suggests that he is back in form, with a drop back to 7f ideal.
River Nymph has won this race on soft ground in 2021 and finished third to Vafortino in the same race last year. He also has two good performances over this course and distance last autumn. River Nymph can’t be left out of calculations for this year’s race.
Biggles Ran well on seasonal reappearance this year at Haydock, tends to just fall short though at this level and will need to improve despite the 4lb lower mark.
Orbaan is a consistent sort who gained deserved big-handicap success when taking Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood before following up in a C&D classified event, and he should be back closer to form now after his recent reappearance run behind Rainbow Fire at Haydock.
Rainbow Fire, who accounted for Biggles and nine others at Haydock, raced only on good to firm on turf so the unknown is how he’ll handle this deeper ground.
Sir Dancelot was a smart horse earlier in his career and still very useful, as evidenced by his creditable second-place finish of 5 at Kempton over 1m, 33 days ago. However, given the competitive nature of this race and the presence of younger horses, there is a suspicion that he might be vulnerable to those with fresher legs.
Rhoscolyn is a smart handicapper who has been without a win for a while, but he posted several good efforts in competitive events in 2022, including a third-place finish in the Buckingham Palace over C&D. Like stablemate Orbaan, he probably needed the outing when below par behind Rainbow Fire on his recent Haydock reappearance.
Perotto has switched to the Roger Varian yard and last seasons Britannia winner is back down to a handy mark if recapturing his best.
Safe Voyage, a veteran, should be all the better for his reappearance when he finished third in the Thirsk Hunt Cup last weekend. Baradar, who won a 7f Doncaster handicap (heavy) last November and was third of 22 in Lincoln there on 1m reappearance, is back to form and equipped with a first-time tongue tie.
Baradar is back in form. Winning on heavy ground last November shows that he can handle testing conditions. His third-place finish in a big field at Doncaster is also a promising run, and dropping back to 7f could suit him well. The addition of a first-time tongue tie is another positive sign. All of these factors suggest that Baradar could be a big player in this race.
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Tylos won easily at Leicester (7f, heavy) last month, posting a career-best performance. However, the field only consisted of 4 runners and he faces a much deeper field in this race. He also has to carry 7 lb more than his last race, which could make his task even harder.
Rebel Territory, who made a winning reappearance in a 7f Newmarket handicap last month, should remain competitive after just a 2 lb nudge.
Call Me Ginger won a 5f course handicap in July and was awarded the Portland at Doncaster in September. However, he has mainly raced at 5f/6f, and given the testing ground and the fact that he has been off for 8 months, the step up to this 7f race may prove challenging.
Zip won a heavy ground race over 7f at Doncaster at the end of last season and continued to perform well on the all-weather, winning 7f handicaps at Newcastle and Southwell. He finished third of 14 in his latest race at Southwell and is expected to give a good performance, but it’s difficult to argue that he has much room to improve off his current mark.
Ropey Guest is a consistent performer who was runner-up in the Buckingham Palace over C&D and the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last summer. He finished fifth in this race on his 2022 reappearance and is expected to run well, but he may find a few others too strong for him.
Admiral D was mostly consistent in 2022 but failed to win a race. He finished a creditable fifth on his reappearance at Newmarket but was not in the same form when he raced there last weekend over 6f. A return to 7f may suit him, and there is a feeling that he could perform well in a race like this at some point.
Darkness won three times in France but has yet to win for his current stable. He has been performing respectably this season with three runs under his belt, but he is not seen as a likely contender for a high-class handicap like this.
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