Royal Ascot 2018
Posted on: 13th Jul 2018
ROYAL HUNT CUP
ANYONE backing David Marnane’s Settle For Bay in the Royal Hunt Cup had few worries from two furlongs out. Not only was he still travelling powerfully for Billy Lee towards the middle of the track but his bright green colours were unmistakable.
This was a well-executed triumph in one of the hottest handicaps of the year. Successful in three races at Dundalk late in 2017, Settle For Bay, 16/1, had been rested until reappearing at Leopardstown last month, where he stayed on quietly into fourth in a good handicap. He raced off the same mark of 99 here and was simply too good, racing in the main group towards the stands’ side and hitting the front before the furlong marker.
Afaak, impressive at York, tried to challenge but went down by over two lengths, with Circus Couture and What’s The Story next.
“It’s one thing to have a bit of class, which he has, but another to get him here,” an emotional Marnane said. “He broke his pelvis last year but the vets did a remarkable job. We knew he was a group horse and we’ve had this race in mind for a long time. When you train only 20 horses and you win a Wokingham (Dandy Boy 2012) and a Hunt Cup, it’s special.”
Making the most of his stay, Lee was off around the M25 to ride at Chelmsford’s evening meeting. “I was probably in front plenty early enough but I had them stretched and I knew he’d stay,” he said. “Ýou wouldn’t see a horse win a big, competitive handicap like that any easier.”