Jim Crowley “Afaak has a great chance in the Royal Hunt Cup”
3.40 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – Desert Encounter
I’ve picked up a nice spare on Desert Encounter, in what promises to be one of the races of the week. He is a Group One winner, in last year’s Canadian International, this is over two furlongs shorter, but he’s a hold up horse so hopefully he might be able to pick up the pieces and pick up some prize money, although this is a big step up for him.
There’s no doubt it is a hot race, and I’d find it hard to split the big three at the head of the betting. Crystal Ocean is a tough, battle-hardened horse, and this may be his chance to win that first Group One, while Magical comes here off the back of three wins this season. By contrast, Sea Of Class has the best form in the book having finished second in the Arc, but this is a big ask first time up, although William Haggas wouldn’t be running her here if he wasn’t 100% happy with her, he could have gone down the Hardwicke route as they have with Masar.
5.00 Royal Hunt Cup – Afaak
Afaak was second in this race last year, and I think he’s got another great chance here. We’re better off at the weights with last year’s winner, Settle For Bay, he runs well fresh so we’ve come straight here, and we should be drawn well, in 21, so on the stands side.
Obviously in these big field handicaps you need a bit of luck in running, but he showed last year he can cope with it, he’s in good form, Charlie [Hills] has trained him for this, so it really wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run a big race here.