The Tom Tate-trained Prince Of Johanne can emulate Master Vote, who was the last horse to win back-to-back Royal Hunt Cup’s in 1947-1948, by taking today’s ultra-competitive handicap over Ascot’s straight mile in the hands of last year’s winning pilot John Fahy. The 7-year-old runs off the same mark as when successful in 2012 and is now better off at the weights with Don’t Call Me and Field Of Dream who finished third and fourth behind the grey son of Johannesburg in last year’s contest.
After several below-par efforts Prince Of Johanne came right back to his best at York last month when going down by a length and a half to fellow rival Navajo Chief although Kieren Fallon’s mount is now 4lb worse off with the selection who has his ideal conditions on this occasion, unlike on the Knavesmire when the ground was a little on the dead side.
As short as 10-1 with several bookmakers Prince Of Johanne can be backed at a standout 14-1 with Sportingbet and looks sure to once again run a massive race for his connections who have obviously had the race in mind for the gelding for some time.
There are obviously a host of possible dangers in the traditional cavalry charge with Excellent Guest and Global Village the two that are feared the most. The former won Ascot’s Victoria Cup last month and despite a 5lb rise in the weights is sure to be there at the finish providing his number one draw doesn’t prove to be a disadvantage. The latter is certainly capable of winning a big handicap one day and has some cracking efforts to his name including the International at Ascot last July, a short head second in this year’s Lincoln and most recently a close fourth in Newbury’s Spring Cup.
In such an open contest the advice is to back last year’s winner at 14-1 with a saver on Global Village at the 25-1 available with Betvictor.