The Peroni Nastro Azzurro Victoria Cup is a handicap run over 7 furlongs and has a first prize of over £50,000. It usually attracts a large field and this year looks to be no exception. The race is open to both sexes and takes around a minute and a half to complete. Four-year-olds have taken six of the last seven renewals and it often pays to be drawn medium to high in sprints where from a sample of nearly 500 sprint races, 66% of winners were drawn here. The remaining 34% of winners were drawn low.
Below, I have listed the runners for this year’s renewal along with a brief assessment of their chances. Plus, my top Victoria Cup tips to win as well as the places. But, here are the here are the previous winners and their times.
|2012||Global Village||7||8-05||Tadgh O’Shea||Brian Ellison||1:30.30|
|2013||Excellent Guest||6||8-10||Tom Queally||George Margarson||1:28.26|
|2014||Gabriel’s Lad||5||9-08||George Baker||Denis Coakley||1:29.78|
|2015||Speculative Bid||4||8-09||Jamie Spencer||David Elsworth||1:26.46|
|2016||Flash Fire||4||9-06||Adam Kirby||Charlie Appleby||1:25.35|
|2017||Fastnet Tempest||4||8-05||Josephine Gordon||William Haggas||1:27.14|
|2018||Ripp Orf||4||8-01||Hayley Turner||David Elsworth||1:25.40|
|2019||Cape Byron||5||9-03||Andrea Atzeni||Roger Varian||1:27.35|
|2020||No race due to the pandemic|
|2021||River Nymph||4||9-00||Adam Kirby||Clive Cox||1:30.95|
|2022||Vafortino||4||8-07||Benoit De La Sayette||Kevin Philippart De Foy||1:27.18|
Trainer: Karl Burke
Jockey: Pierre-Louis Jamin
Made a winning reappearance in a conditions race at Thirsk following a 301-day break. He finished eighth in the Jersey Stakes (Group 3) over this course and distance last summer in a big field. Was subsequently placed in a Group 2 over six furlongs at York. His Weight suggests that he will struggle to get home and won’t find it easy conceding it to younger and quicker rivals from a low draw.
Trainer: Kevin Phillipart De Foy
Jockey: Benoit De La Sayette
Comes back to defend the crown that he won last year and carried on for Kevin Phillipart De Foy where he left off with previous trainer Joseph O’Brien. He is six pounds higher this time round but he comes here in very good form having had a couple of prep runs at Kempton and Newmarket. Regular pilot Benoit De La Sayette is back in the saddle and is likely to be hard to keep out of the frame particularly given his favourable draw.
Trainer: Eve Johnson Houghton
Jockey: Georgia Dobie
Warmed up for this with his seasonal reappearance just eight days ago at Newmarket in a race won by The Gatekeeper over the same trip. He has dropped in the ratings some six pounds from when he finished runner-up to Vafortino in this race last year. Georgia Dobie continues to claim three pounds from her mount and with a high draw the pair have to be respected once more. He will need to leave that last run well behind though.
Trainer: David Menusier
Jockey: Cristian Demuro
Has looked completely out of his depth since making the move from Yann Barberot to David Menusier. His two runs so far this year have come when there has been plenty of rain around. This looks no different and despite a falling handicap mark and with Cristian Demuro riding for the first time since last May, he looks one to avoid.
Trainer: James Fanshawe
Jockey: Danny Tudhope
The biggest success in his career to date came when landing two decent handicaps over this course and distance last year. The six-year-old son of Bated Breath remains on a career-high mark and may well struggle to figure here as a result. He was beaten all too easily on his comeback run at Kempton last month and will need to improve significantly for it. He also wouldn’t want the ground as bad as this. Others are preferred.
Trainer: Clive Cox
Jockey: Kieran Shoemark
Has been making a real impression on the all-weather tracks this winter and comes here in search of a four-timer. Whilst he showed literally nothing over this trip in two maidens last season, the four-year-old has seen his rating rise by over a stone in two months. He is clearly still on the upgrade and given that horses his age have such a fantastic record in this race, he commands respect from a useful draw.
Trainer: George Boughey
Jockey: Billy Loughnane
He needs this trip as a bare minimum and won a fifteen-runner handicap at Doncaster last Autumn under a good ride from Ryan Moore. He made a fair start to his campaign this season when a close seventh in the Irish Lincolnshire at The Curragh. He is fully entitled to come on for that run and with the ground turning in his favour he should give a bold account. Billy Loughnane is riding well at the minute and takes off a useful three pounds and is not ruled out.
Trainer: Clive Cox
Jockey: Adam Kirby
Tends to give his all at this track and that paid off when he won this race off a one-pound higher mark in 2021. Adam Kirby was the jockey on that occasion too, but the pair had a far more favourable draw on similar ground. He is more than likely to need this run back despite the ground seemingly being in their favour. Others look to have better chances.
Trainer: Ralph Beckett
Jockey: Hector Crouch
Ought to enjoy this bottomless ground and his high draw will be the envy of many. The six-year-old is a specialist at this trip and has won two of his last four races at venues including Newbury and Chepstow. His comeback run behind Rainbow Fire at Haydock left a little for Ralph Beckett to work on and given that he should come on for that run, he could well prove to be the one to beat and looks overpriced on that basis.
Trainer: David O’Meara
Jockey: Mark Winn
Needs to improve on his seventh-placed finish in what was his seasonal reappearance behind Rainbow Fire. His two most recent wins have come when the ground has been like a road. Conditions do not look set to suit him on that basis and his run last time indicated that he could do with some much-needed relief from the handicapper. Mark Winn takes a useful five pounds off, but even that may not be enough.
Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey: Neil Callan
Has not finished out of the frame in any of his last six starts. He is another who is a seven-furlong specialist and has done all of his winning on a sounder surface. If he takes to the softer ground he could well play a leading role given his three career wins to date have come at Newbury, Newmarket and Haydock. Extremely lightly raced and he may not have stopped improving just yet. Likely to be there or thereabouts.
Trainer: John Butler
Jockey: Gerard Mosse
Seems to be that his best days are now behind him. He was a fair second at Haydock last time when chasing home Imperial Sands over a mile. He has not won at this trip in almost four years and he has had easier opportunities than this. He gives all of his better efforts on a sounder surface so there have to be question marks given the deteriorating ground. Despite dropping down the weights like a stone through water, others seem more convincing.
Trainer: David O’Meara
Jockey: Cieren Fallon
Needs to do better than when chasing home the re-opposing Rainbow Fire at Haydock last month where he finished eighth. Has been punished continuously by the handicapper for a run of three straight wins around two years ago and is very much in need of forgiveness. He has no problems on soft ground but has lucked out with an unlucky-looking draw. One to watch for the future though if his mark continues to nosedive.
Trainer: Roger Varian
Jockey: David Egan
His last win came when trained by Marcus Tregoning a couple of years ago and now his handicap mark is two pounds below that. Connections will be hoping that the change of scenery from Tregoning to Roger Varian has an instant impact on his fortunes. All of his previous wins have come on a sounder surface though so he could well prove to be one for the future. This is his first run since finishing mid-division over a mile here at Ascot races back in October. He makes limited appeal today.
Trainer: John Quinn
Jockey: Jason Hart
His winless streak stretches as far back as June 2021 when he got up to win by a comfortable couple of lengths at Chester. He is a former listed and Group winner in his prime and this return to seven furlongs looks sure to be in his favour given his good run at Thirsk last time out. Will appreciate any further rain as he acts well on this type of ground and his draw is a massive positive. If on a going day, he could well prove too strong.
Trainer: George Boughey
Jockey: Kevin Stott
Made a decent reappearance at Doncaster last month when beaten by Migration in the Lincoln. The form of the race has started to work out with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Bopedro and Al Mubhir all coming out to win subsequently. The draw has done him no favours here however and he could well prove to be vulnerable. He will like the ground though having won under similar conditions at Doncaster last November. Looks a little too short in the market given his draw.
Trainer: Archie Watson
Jockey: Taylor Fisher
An up-and-coming four-year-old who left his rivals trailing in his wake when last seen out at Leicester around a month ago. That was his first ever appearance under such testing conditions but he smashed his rivals by almost a dozen lengths. Archie Watson has deservedly set this one’s sights a lot higher and with the ground seemingly in his favour once more, he could well make an impact. A high draw gives him possibilities and Taylor Fisher offsets some of the nine pounds he has been hit with since that last win. An interesting prospect.
Trainer: Amanda Perrett
Jockey: Jim Crowley
Dropping back to seven furlongs clearly worked the oracle for this Amanda Perrett-trained five-year-old. He had spent a while in the wilderness having raced a handful of times over a mile last season. He has only been raised two pounds for a half-length win over the re-opposing Vafortino and could well struggle to confirm that form with a less favourable draw here.
Call Me Ginger
Trainer: Jim Goldie
Jockey: Amie Waugh
Call Me Ginger tends to always need at least one run back so that he can achieve peak fitness. This is his first race since last October and the seven-year-old seems to need good ground which looks far from being certain here. He isn’t getting any younger and he has been beaten off lower marks than this on multiple occasions. Amie Waugh did finish second on him the last time she rode him at Doncaster but this looks tougher still.
Trainer: Richard Fahey
Jockey: Callum Hutchinson
Has been done no favours by the handicapper as his turf mark is now some twelve pounds higher than for his last win under similar conditions at Doncaster last November. Whilst there is no doubt that he will handle the testing ground, the seven-year-old son of Kyllachy, he is coming to the very end of a full campaign. Others will be fresher and look better treated despite the low weight and Callum Hutchinson taking off a further three pounds. He looks to have the worst of the draw too.
Trainer: George Margarson
Jockey: John Egan
Just two wins in thirty-three starts for this six-year-old, but the handicapper has given him a chance. He is now rated two pounds inferior to his previous win which came at Yarmouth in September 2021. He was a solid fifth in this race though last year but has fared no better with the draw this time around. Likely to run a solid race but likely to find others getting in his way.
Trainer: Richard Fahey
Jockey: Barry McHugh
Completely unproven over seven furlongs and looks likely to struggle here. His two runs already this term suggest that he requires yet more assistance from the handicapper. The ground should prove fair for him but he has been beaten all too easily at Newmarket on his last couple of runs to suggest he is primed for taking this. Others look far more likely to go better.
Trainer: David O’Meara
Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
To lose a maiden in a race like this would be quite an achievement. He has run well enough in the past but has yet to trouble the judge in ten previous runs. He sneaks in off bottom-weight here but having been beaten in much lesser company, his chances of success look incredibly slim. His chances also look to be spoiled from a rotten draw and he will have better opportunities in easier races down the line.
Antepost Betting – All odds are correct at the time of publication with Bet365.
Kingdom Come 7/1, Totally Charming 7/1, Baradar 7/1, Fresh 8/1, Vafortino 10/1, River Nymph 10/1, Rainbow Fire 12/1, Spycatcher 14/1, Biggles 14/1, Perotto 14/1, Rebel Territory 14/1, Safe Voyage 16/1, Ropey Guest 20/1, Admiral D 20/1, Accidental Agent 25/1, Orbaan 25/1, Rhoscolyn 25/1, Tylos 25/1, Zip 28/1, Sir Dancealot 33/1, Call Me Ginger 33/1, Darkness 33/1 Toimy Son 40/1.
The Tote Victoria Cup Betting Tips
Biggles could well prove the answer to this cavalry charge. The six-year-old seems to be peaking just at the right time and should enjoy the testing ground. He looks certain to benefit from the draw in stall 23 and Pat Dobbs who rides him for the first time could enjoy a charmed late run. There was no disgrace in finishing third to Rainbow Fire at Thirsk on his seasonal reappearance and he can reverse the form now that he has a run under his belt. He gets in here off the same mark as last time and he can make an impact in a race where many will be found out by the testing ground.
Safe Voyage has everything in place for a big run and the former Group race winner will relish these conditions. Rainbow Fire looks set to go well whilst Kingdom Come also warrants consideration.
- BIGGLES E/W
- SAFE VOYAGE
- RAINBOW FIRE
- KINGDOM COME