George Scott’s useful handicapper Gilgamesh, currently 6/1 favourite with Sun Bets for Saturday’s bet365 Bunbury Cup Handicap at Newmarket (1.40), will be partnered by top jockey William Buick in the seven furlong cavalry charge.
The young star rider, contracted to ride for Sheikh Mohammed’s powerful Godolphin whenever they have runners and winner of this year’s Investec Derby on Masar for Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby (pictured above), became available with his main patron not intending to saddle anything in the historic £120,000 event, meaning that Buick, who has ridden the son of Foxwedge only once before – when winning his maiden as a juvenile at Nottingham in 2016 – has been called on to take the mount.
Gilgamesh landed a good handicap at York on his penultimate start before finishing a very respectable seventh over just six furlongs in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot last month, staying on well in the closing stages and confirming that the Bunbury Cup trip really does appear to be his optimum.
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“He was very unlucky in the Victoria Cup earlier in the season,” explained Newmarket-based Scott. “Four-year-olds have a good record in the bet365 Bunbury Cup and I feel that he is the kind of horse that has plenty more progression in him, so there is a lot in his favour.
“William Buick is going to ride. He rode him in his last piece of work before Ascot, when he was only claimed by Godolphin at the last minute, and he’s a fantastic rider who is on the crest of a wave at the moment. That said, Eddie [Greatrex, who has ridden him on his last two starts] has done nothing wrong on him and I’m sure he will get plenty more chances in the future.”
Gilgamesh, who runs off a mark of 100 (the same as at Ascot last time out), is the only horse currently in single figures in the market for Saturday’s race. Next in the list are William Haggas’ Mubtasim, a top priced 12/1 with Sky Bet, and Marcus Tregoning’s Mukalal, who faded only late in the day over a mile in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out and is another expected to be ideally suited by seven furlongs. He is a 14/1 shot with Betfred, and it’s 16/1 bar.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.