The Bunbury Cup is a flat race open to horses aged three years or older. It is run on the July Course at Newmarket racecourse over a distance of 7 furlongs (1,408 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in July.
The event is named in honour of Sir Charles Bunbury (1740–1821), who served as the Senior Steward of the Jockey Club. He introduced both of the Classics held at Newmarket, the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas.
The Bunbury Cup is contested on the final day of Newmarket’s three-day July Festival meeting. The leading trainer in the Bunbury Cup over the last 20 renewals is Richard Fahey who has won the race 3 times. Those 3 winners came from Brae Hill (2011), Heavens Guest (2014) & Rene Mathis (2015). Another trainer who has recorded multiple wins in the Bunbury Cup is Richard Hannon (2 wins).
Let’s take a look at a dozen individuals who are engaged in the race at this point and who the betting markets consider to be leading contenders offering the best horse racing odds from those still engaged. I shall assess their chances individually with now less than a fortnight to go.
Audience @ 7/1
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Made a pleasing seasonal reappearance over the course and distance when getting a charmed run on the far side rail under an enterprising ride by Rab Havlin just last weekend. Needs genuine good ground or better to be seen at his absolute best and has only finished outside of the first three places once in eight starts and he has to be of obvious interest. With Frankie Dettori suspended for the meeting, Havlin will likely come in for the ride once more. They are likely to pose a live threat despite carrying a penalty.
Awaal @ 8/1
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford
Has been placed in both the Lincoln and the Royal Hunt Cup on his last two starts so is well used to these big fields. Having had a two-month break prior to Royal Ascot, the four-year-old son of Lope De Vega finished four lengths behind Jimi Hendrix on his latest run. He is fully entitled to come on for that run and no surprise to see him right in the mix here particularly if the rains were to fall.
Bless Him @ 10/1
Trainer: David Simcock
Won this race last year and now comes back to defend his crown. Having tackled the Royal Hunt Cup last time around, this step back to seven furlongs should be far more appealing. He loves to hear his hooves rattle off the lightning-fast ground, so the quicker the going, the better are his chances. His form coming into the race last year seemed a bit better though and he may have to settle for a more minor role this time.
Tiber Flow @ 10/1
Trainer: William Haggas
Took the Group Three Chipchase Stakes over six furlongs at Newcastle racecourse just the other day. All of his four wins over this extra furlong have come on artificial surfaces such as Southwell and Newcastle, so the fact that this is on turf is an obvious concern. His only previous attempt at this trip on turf proved to be bitterly disappointing. Clearly in good form, but his stamina may be stretched.
Spycatcher @ 12/1
Trainer: Karl Burke
Seems to prefer a rain-softened surface these days as he proved when beating Mount Athos on his seasonal reappearance at Thirsk back in April. He again ran well at Ascot in the Victoria Cup on similar ground before dropping in trip to be placed in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle over a furlong shorter. With only one win in eight previous attempts at this distance, others are preferred.
Wild Lion @ 12/1
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor
Has stamina for this trip and beyond and made the most of a near six-month break to win on his most recent appearance in the Sky Bet Handicap at York. He has still only had a handful of runs and remains unexposed. So far the form of that last race has not really worked out though and this is a notable step up in class. Every right to improve again, but he will need to.
Croupier @ 14/1
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford
Has won at this trip once in the past but is more renowned for winning over a mile. His last three victories have come at that trip. He was a little unlucky when beaten by Witch Hunter in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. He was interfered with by the winner but also caused interference himself. Would not want much rain to fall between now and race day.
Orazio @ 14/1
Trainer: Charlie Hills
Was far from disgraced when beaten only two-and-a-half lengths at Ascot in the Wokingham Stakes. He is untested at seven furlongs but he was staying on all the way to the line in that last race when chasing home Saint Lawrence. He loves to get his toe in so connections will be doing a little bit of a rain dance prior to the meeting. A few ifs and buts about him, but he could go well.
Montassib @ 14/1
Trainer: William Haggas
Looked to have a very hard race in the Buckingham Palace Stakes where he finished right in the mid-pack. He did win over this course and distance prior to that last run, but maybe he is just now in the grip of the handicapper. He wouldn’t want the ground to be too quick and may well be suited by a smaller field. He has not won in a race with more than eleven runners in it which is slightly off-putting.
Jumby @ 16/1
Trainer: Eve Johnson Houghton
Looks set to carry top weight as he is set to take a drop in class from his most recent appearance in the Criterion Stakes where he lost out to Audience by two lengths. He will be hoping that the rain stays away as all of his best form has come on a good to firm surface. This is a career-high mark that he is trying to win off which may make his life a little bit more difficult here.
Kingdom Come @ 16/1
Trainer: Clive Cox
Ran an absolutely lifeless race at Royal Ascot when beating only five home in a similar handicap. Has work to do in order to reverse form with a few of these including Croupier and Montassib. Although still thoroughly unexposed, he needs to be fully over those exertions from last time and hard to be convinced that he will be given the quick turnaround.
Mums Tipple @ 16/1
Trainer: Richard Hannon
It seems that seven furlongs on turf just seems to ebb away at his stamina. He ran a massive race at Royal Ascot in the Wokingham Stakes in fairness, but that was over a furlong shorter. He has maintained his form well again this season but this may well be a bit much. Ideally wants good ground or better.
Bunbury Cup Ante-Post Betting Tips
At this stage, Awaal looks like the one that they all have to beat in this exciting renewal. There will be a maximum field of twenty runners most likely, but he has a rating that will ensure that he gets into the race at least. He was given a short break of two months prior to Royal Ascot where he put in a storming run when finishing third to Jimi Hendrix.
He will now be fully entitled to improve for that appearance and he still remains completely unexposed after only a handful of starts. He seems pretty versatile in relation to the ground and has gone well on a variety of surfaces in the past. His only disappointing run came when he travelled over to France last season, but back on home soil he should be capable of much better.
There does seem to be a bit of rain around in the forecast for next week which will suit him well and no surprise if he were to run a huge race for Simon and Ed Crisford.
All odds are correct at the time of writing and can be found with Bet365.