The Copper Horse Handicap is run over a mile and six furlongs and was first run in 2020. Newmarket runners filled the first three places in the first two years that it was run before David O’Meara struck for the Northern-based stables last year with Get Shirty.
Two of the three previous winners of this race were aged six. Two of the last three winners were proven at the trip or over further prior to winning this. Horses trained at Newmarket have filled the first three places in two of the last three renewals. Two of the last three winners proved to be quite elusive in the market with returning SPs of 16 and 33/1. No favourite has won this race in the last three renewals. You can find all my thoughts and Ascot tips ahead of the final race on day one at Royal Ascot right here.
Vauban is an elite hurdler and was last seen finishing runner-up to State Man in the Punchestown version of the Champion Hurdle. Prior to that run, he had finished in the top four places of his previous three Grade One races including at Cheltenham and Leopardstown. Without a doubt, he will see this trip out in style and he looks to be well-treated compared to some others in this line-up. He looks very much the one to beat for Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore.
Absurde is a relatively new stablemate of Vauban. He made his debut at Kilbeggan in a novice hurdle and ran out a comfortable enough winner over two-and-a-half miles. At this stage, the form really doesn’t amount to much, but all he can do is improve and he has experience of winning handicaps over middle distances on the flat in his native France. Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride so no surprise to see this one possibly go very close.
Ruling Dynasty is unbeaten in his last two starts at Newcastle and more recently Haydock. This is a massive step up in trip for the Charlie Appleby runner and whether he has the stamina for it is open to debate. A six-and-a-half length win last time suggests he is worth a try at it, but the stable is a little too inconsistent for my liking at the moment making him one to avoid here.
Point King was only just touched off on his seasonal reappearance for a very much in-form Joseph O’Brien stable. The yard seemed to have turned a corner in recent weeks and this horse who is proven at listed level could well be open to any amount of improvement. The booking of New Zealander James McDonald certainly catches the eye and they could well cause an upset.
Postileo ran at this meeting a couple of seasons ago in the Ascot Stakes. That was over two-and-a-half miles and since being dropped back down to middle distances, he seems to have found improvement from somewhere to win back-to-back races at Doncaster and Hamilton. He goes well fresh so the fact that he comes here after just 44 days is somewhat of a concern. He also likes a bit of give in the ground to be seen at his best.
Sam Cooke may now be a seven-year-old but the Ralph Beckett-trained runner is so consistent. He has won two of his last three starts and went so close on what was his seasonal reappearance at York over a couple of furlongs shorter just last month. The step back up in trip should assist this ground dependant handicapper who loves nothing more than to hear his hooves rattle on a sound surface. Fully entitled to go well once more.
Scriptwriter is a talented dual-purpose performer who seemingly lost his way after having been beaten by Comfort Zone at Cheltenham racecourse back in January. Prior to that, he proved he retained the ability to win flat handicaps by winning a big prize handicap at Wolverhampton. A return to this sphere could well reignite his interest but he needs to improve beyond all recognition to trouble the best of these.
Copper Horse Handicap Betting Tips
As boring as it sounds it really looks as though this will be a battle between the two Willie Mullins-trained runners. Vauban has a lot in his favour and is a high-class talent but whether he can translate that form to the flat is open to debate. A chance is therefore taken on the more unexposed of the pair and Absurde is taken to run a huge race at a big price. Much of the opposition in this race looks exposed, but the recent French import could well be anything. Frankie Dettori’s booking really does capture the imagination and they are taken to at least place in this race.
Absurde e/w @ 6/1 with Bet365 bonus code
Vauban @ 7/4 with William Hill promo code
Sam Cooke @ 18/1 with BetVictor promo code
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.