Bunbury Cup Tips: Gosden to strike gold in competitive Newmarket handicap

John Gosden unleashes a sparkling duo at Saturday's Bunbury Cup
John Gosden unleashes a sparkling duo at Saturday's Bunbury Cup

All eyes maybe on the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday afternoon, but the Flat card at HQ provides a bit of everything for the punter and one of the most hotly-anticipated punting races of the day is the Bunbury Cup, which takes place at 15:50 and sees a hugely competitive field go to post. Our man Steve Chambers previews the race here and picks out his best bet for the 7f contest...

Many of the runners taking their chance here were seen competing at Royal Ascot last month, and one that could improve significantly from his run at the Royal meeting is Montassib, who was an eye-catching finisher in the closing stages of the Buckingham Palace Stakes, and the William Haggas-trained raider is currently the 5/1 market leader, at the time of writing for this. Quickening impressively in the closing stages of that 7f event, Montassib was unable to reel in the leaders who had just got away, but off the same mark of 97 on Saturday he could well be a leading challenger for glory here.

John & Thady Gosden's SAMBURU lost his unbeaten record at Royal Ascot when finishing sixth in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes, but he has to be watched now stepping back into handicap company, and if he can produce his best then he could well be the main contender they all have to beat. He just edged right in the closing stages of the Jersey and was rushed out of the first few places, but for a long way he shaped like he could hit the front three, and now lining up here off 97 he has to be respected.  He will be facing some battle-hardened handicappers here, which will be a new experience for him, but he oozes class and from the bottom of the weights could well prevail in fine fashion,

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Eve Johnson Houghton's Jumby produced a fine effort to finish third in the Wokingham last month off a mark of 105 and the four-year-old will line up off the same figure on Saturday. Stepping up to seven furlongs here, Jumby should have no problems with the extra furlong as he has winning form over the trip, so he has to come under consideration.

David O'Meara's Rhoscolyn finished ahead of Montassib at Royal Ascot and that charge will feature here and at double-figured odds looks to be a leading each-way player, while Vafortino, who finished in mid-division in the Buckingham Palace will hope for a clearer run in this contest, as he was hampered in the closing stages last time out, and he's another worthy of a mention.

Not only will Jumby represent his trainer, but the legendary Accidental Agent will look to defy top weight for the Johnson Houghton team, and the former Group 1 winner is the class act of the race, but he's going to find it tough to carry a hefty weight in this event to land the spoils, and is best watched at 18/1.

Of the others, David Simcock's Bless Him will drop back from a mile and is one that is sure to be doing all his best work in the closing stages, and could be one that sneaks into a place late on, while Ropey Guest and Star Of Orion are just another brace of classy performers taking their chance in a race that can go the way of the Gosden operation.

2022 Bunbury Cup
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