The penultimate race on the second day at Royal Ascot, the Royal Hunt Cup is a handicap race that offers jockeys the chance to win one of three perpetual trophies on offer at the event every year.

Key information

The Royal Hunt Cup is a flat race run over 1 mile (1,609 metres), which typically attracts a large number of participants – over 30 in fact.

While other races on the day impose more stringent age caps, horses who are three or older can enter, with both six and seven-year-olds having won the prestigious event in the past.

Typically starting at 17:00, it’s a quick dash to see which horse and jockey combo can clinch victory, with the prize of over £108,000 awaiting the winner at the finish. This generous prize fund is the second largest of the day, dwarfed only by that of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Ascot Royal Hunt Cup horses

The history of the Royal Hunt Cup

The Royal Hunt Cup is an oldie, that’s for sure, established way back in 1843. The distance has been tweaked and changed over the years, too, originally contested over 7 furlongs and 166 yards. Shortened to 7 furlongs and 155 yards in 1930, it was extended to its current length in 1956.

Race records

The Royal Hunt Cup is widely regarded as one of the most difficult races run over the entire five days of Royal Ascot, with only one horse winning the event on more than one occasion.

Master Vote was ridden to victory in both 1947 and 1948, and is also currently the only horse to have ever won the race in consecutive years.

Back in 2010, the familiar face of Frankie Dettori – who once sat opposite Ally McCoist as team captain on A Question of Sport – clocked the fastest time in recorded history.

Riding Invisible Man to victory in 2010, he nodded past the finishing line in a time of 1:37:16, which was doubly impressive considering the pair were outsiders at 28/1.

The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the true staples of Royal Ascot, and always attracts a bumper crowd both on track and in the stands. With such a large field, anything can happen, which makes the race all the more exciting for those who fancy backing an outsider to victory.