Royal Hunt Cup
Heritage Handicap, Ascot 17:00
£175,000 added,
3yo plus,
1m, Class 2  
Wednesday 17th June 2015

1 GM Hopkins 8/1
2 Temptress 9/1
3 Chil The Kite16/1
4 Balty Boys 25/1
5 Speculative Bid 10/1
30 ran Distances: nk, 1½l, ½l
TIME 1m 40.30s (slow by 1.50s)

GM Hopkins wins the Royal Hunt Cup from Temptress

GM Hopkins
© Racehorse Photos
GM Hopkins

John Gosden's GM Hopkins was a smart winner, held up under Ryan Moore, before staying on steadily to register a neck success over Temptress.

The son of Dubawi's ability to find cover under Moore was seen as the key factor for a horse, who when he hits the front, does not always find a lot. Gosden said: "It was a very high standard race. We didn't think the pace was on our side but it turned out that it was.

"Ryan rode a beautiful race, covered him up well and then said to me he got there too soon but he was following Frankie Dettori and he had to go. It is a big moment to win the Hunt Cup."

The Newmarket handler made reference to the four-year-old's creditable second at Newbury last time which had helped get the gelding primed for today's assignment. He remarked: "He was unlucky at Newbury last time but today things fell right. He ran a super race then and went up six pounds. To win these big handicaps, now you can't be too clever with the weights because you just don't get into the race."

As for the future Gosden added: "I think we will go to France for a Listed race."

It was a first Royal Ascot success for owner Robin Geffen who owns horses on the Flat and over the jumps. Geffen said: "It is just fantastic I have never won a race at Ascot on the Flat or over jumps and it is totally thanks to John we are here. It was a brilliant race.

"This horse had his moments. He was favourite for the Lincoln and it didn't go our way that day as he wasn't right but today he was right and really sharp. He was given a brilliant ride in a race with 30 horses and the field split into two groups. This horse has to come late and it is not an armchair ride. We will find a Listed race and who knows there may be a Group Three in him."

The success of GM Hopkins capped a memorable day for Geffen who had earlier seen Western Hymn finish a good third in the Group One Prince of Wales's Stakes. The owner said: "GM Hopkins and Western Hymn are both fantastic horses, but the one thing you need is a brilliant trainer and I have got the best trainer in the world, I really do.

"Western Hymn ran a blinder on ground on the fast side for him. He was given a brilliant ride by Frankie Dettori and he has improved this year. Many horses don't go on from three to four but having him gelded was the making of him and we have been lucky to have him.

"We have a lot left to look forward to with both these horses and we will be back next year in the Prince of Wales with Western Hymn."

Geffen added: "We have had some fantastic days but to come third in a Group One and win a Royal Hunt Cup, which is probably the most competitive mile handicap of the season, is fantastic."

Moore, gaining his fifth success of Royal Ascot 2015, said: "I was worried where we were drawn because there wasn't a lot of pace. Fortunately, they have led us along nicely and we were always just ahead of the other side.

"My horse has travelled very well and I wanted to wait as long as I could. In the end, I had to go sooner than I would have liked because Frankie (Dettori) was stopping in front of me."


The pleasure of winning one of Royal Ascot's big handicaps is an enduring one for trainer Roger Charlton, and probably heightened after defeat.

His search for the Royal Hunt Cup winner continues after Temptress, who he trains for a syndicate called The Pyoneers, finished a neck second to GM Hopkins. The four-year-old filly was one and a half lengths ahead of Chil The Kite, who was runner-up last year and third today.

Charlton said: "She's run a fantastic race - she was brave and gutsy and came from a long way back. She went up 7lb when winning last time, but she could have gone up 8lb - and she beat Amazing Maria who has won today's Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.

"This is a hard race to win and it would have been a nice race to win. Wokinghams and Hunt Cups are hard to win - if you have the best horse in a Group race it wins if the jockey rides it well and you train it properly, but races like this are a lottery. Are you the right side, are you this, are you that? It's such a great race and it would be marvellous to win it - you don't get many opportunities, especially with a filly. The last to win was Macadamia [in 2003].

"It's quite interesting that in 2005 the bottom weight was 86 and it has crept up, so the average for the last five years has been 94. This filly was on a mark of 98 and only just got in - you used to get in to the Wokingham off a mark in the low 90s, yet Huntsmans Close [who he trains] is on 98 and needs four to come out before he gets in. The quality and competition has gone up and up and more people want to run horses in these races. You need horses that are fully exposed to get in."

Chil The Kite
© Racehorse Photos
Chil The Kite

Chil The Kite ran off a mark 1lb lower than when second last year, but still had to concede 5lb to the winner and 10lb to the runner-up. Trainer Hughie Morrison admitted: "We didn't deserve any less and have proved to be the best horse in the race two years running. We've come third and we cannot complain.

"To be 'well in' you used to need a Listed horse, but now you need a Group Three horse rated 103. We don't have conditions races worth enough money for horses to run in, which is where this horse should be.

"He's in the Bunbury Cup, but we are thinking of trying him at a mile and a quarter because he's settling so well. We bought him for £18,000 and he's been great fun - he's been second and third here, second in Turkey and he's won £300,000."

Royal Hunt Cup Heritage Handicap (Str)
£175,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m, Class 2
30 ran
Going: Good to Firm

  Dr Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (11) Gm Hopkins 8/1 R L Moore
J H M Gosden 4
2nd (19) nk Temptress (IRE) 9/1 James Doyle
R Charlton 4
3rd (10) Chil The Kite 16/1 G Baker
H Morrison 6
4th (21) ½ Balty Boys (IRE) 25/1 S De Sousa
B Ellison 6
5th (14) ½ Speculative Bid (IRE) 10/1 J P Spencer
D R C Elsworth 4
6th (20) ½ American Hope (USA) 20/1 S W Kelly
M Murphy 4
7th (5) ¾ Bronze Angel (IRE) 16/1 Louis Steward (3)
M P Tregoning 6
8th (3) nse Avon Pearl 100/1 P J Dobbs
R Haugen 6
9th (1) ¾ Ayaar (IRE) 7/1f L Dettori
L M Cumani 5
10th (30) Gabrial (IRE) 20/1 T Hamilton
R A Fahey 6
11th (13) ¾ Dark Emerald (IRE) 50/1 F M Berry
B G Powell 5
12th (2) 1 Boomshacker-lacker (IRE) 66/1 P Cosgrave
George Baker 5
13th (7) 1 Tenor (IRE) 66/1 George Buckell (5)
J Ryan 5
14th (23) hd Mondialiste (IRE) 20/1 W Buick
D O'Meara 5
15th (22) Lincoln (IRE) 16/1 R Hughes
M R Channon 4
16th (18) 3 Fort Bastion (IRE) 25/1 Sam James
D O'Meara 6
17th (16) 1 Jack's Revenge (IRE) 50/1 D Sweeney
George Baker 7
18th (6) Sirius Prospect (USA) 66/1 R Winston
D K Ivory 7
19th (17) nk Baraweez (IRE) 22/1 C O'Donoghue
B Ellison 5
20th (33) Bancnuana-heireann (IRE) 66/1 A Mullen
M Appleby 8
21st (31) ½ Don't Be 50/1 L Morris
Sir Mark Prescott 5
22nd (9) Lanceur (FR) 33/1 Jim Crowley
Mrs L Wadham 6
23rd (25) ½ You're Fired (IRE) 12/1 G Lee
K R Burke 4
24th (27) ¾ Piri Wango (IRE) 33/1 C T Keane
G M Lyons 6
25th (28) 4 Lamar (IRE) 33/1 P J Smullen
J Tate 4
26th (26) ¾ Munaaser 16/1 P Hanagan
Sir Michael Stoute 4
27th (24) Coprah 100/1 N De Souza
Ms C Erichsen 7
28th (32) 18 Big Baz (IRE) (ex5) 16/1 M Dwyer
W R Muir 5
29th (4) Field Of Dream 20/1 A Kirby
J A Osborne 8
F (12) Spark Plug (IRE) 10/1 J Fortune
B J Meehan 4