BALMORAL HANDICAP SPONSORED BY QIPCO
Total prize money £250,000
Prize money breakdown: 1st £155,625; 2nd £46,600; 3rd £23,300; 4th £11,650; 5th £5,825; 6th £2,925
Conditions: 1 mile, Royal Hunt Cup course. 3YO+
Past Winners of the Balmoral Handicap Sponsored by QIPCO
|2014||108||Bronze Angel||Louis Steward||Marcus Tregoning|
|2015||102||Musaddas||Eddie Greatrex||Saeed bin Suroor|
October 2016: BENTLEY HOPING MORANDO CAN STRIKE IN BALMORAL HANDICAP
The third running of the £250,000 Balmoral Handicap (sponsored by QIPCO), Europe’s richest mile handicap, will be contested by a maximum field of 20, with the three reserves being Silent Attack, Dutch Law and Dinkum Diamond.
GM Hopkins, winner of the 2015 Royal Hunt Cup and runner-up in last year’s Balmoral, and Tullius, a four-time Group winner, head the weights. Bronze Angel, who landed the race two years ago and is a dual Cambridgeshire winner, and the first two home in last year’s Cambridgeshire – Third Time Lucky and Master The World, will also go to post, while Sea Wolf, this year’s Irish Cambridgeshire winner, will join them.
One of the most intriguing runners is the Roger Varian-trained Morando, who was unraced as a two-year-old but has been rapidly progressive this term. Well beaten on his debut in April, he has since reeled off a hat-trick of victories at Windsor, Chester and Ayr.
The colt won off a mark of 86 at Chester and defied a 10lb rise with something to spare at Ayr last time. He now has to cope with a rating of 104 but Harry Bentley, his jockey, is hopeful he will be up to the task.
“I like the horse, he has impressed me each time,” Bentley said. “He saves his best for the races and I’m hoping he will come on again. He needs a bit of persuasion to go through the gears but once he gets there and is really stretching, he seems to find it quite easy. It’s a tough handicap with a lot of runners and factors to consider, but I expect him to run a big race.”
History of the Race
Named after the castle in Scotland that has belonged to the British Royal Family since it was purchased by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, in 1852, the Balmoral Handicap was inaugurated in 2014.
A race known as the Balmoral Handicap had previously been staged over five furlongs at the Royal Meeting, discontinued in 2004 in favour of the new Windsor Forest Stakes for fillies and mares.
The Ascot Executive always intended to bring the name back when the appropriate opportunity arose, and Her Majesty The Queen graciously consented to it being re-introduced on QIPCO British Champions Day.
The new Balmoral Handicap Sponsored by QIPCO, with its £250,000 race value, is the richest one-mile (1,600 metre) handicap in Europe.
In its inaugural running, the race could not have had a more popular winner than Marcus Tregoning’s Bronze Angel, who had built up a legion of fans via his two triumphs, in 2012 and 2014, in another of Britain’s most prestigious handicaps, the Betfred Cambridgeshire. His victory also showcased an exciting new riding talent in the shape of 20-year-old Louis Steward.
Last year, although open to all jockeys, it was another apprentice who stole the show when 17-year-old Eddy Greatrex scored aboard Musaddas for Godolphin.