Jumpers to look out for at Royal Ascot

Centrepiece of Ascot’s Royal Meeting is the Gold Cup, run over a distance of two miles and four furlongs, so it is no surprise that the race often includes Jumps horses, as they have the stamina to see out the marathon trip.

In the past, we have even seen Ascot Gold Cup contenders feature at Stratford over obstacles. Here is a look at the National Hunt horses involved in the feature race of the royal meeting this year, and their chances of being successful in the fixture’s marquee event.


Irish horse Vauban has run eight times over hurdles, with his most famous victory coming in the Triumph Hurdle at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. He is 9/1 in the Ascot odds 2024 to add the Gold Cup to his record this year, with a repeat visit to Melbourne on his autumn agenda.

Willie Mullins’ runner has been one of the leading Royal Ascot tips this year as he showed last season at the Royal meeting that he can achieve success in major races on the Flat. The six-year-old won the Copper Horse Handicap by over six lengths in a dominant performance.

Since that Royal Ascot triumph, Vauban has had a Group triumph in the Group III Ballyroan Stakes at Naas in Ireland. Connections then took their chance in the Melbourne Cup in Australia, but unfortunately for them, he could only finish 14th of 23 runners.

Although Mullins has yet to rule out a switch back to hurdles for his horse, the Gold Cup has been the priority over the last 12 months. He warmed up for the race with an appearance in the Yorkshire Cup at the Dante Meeting at York. It was another solid effort, as he finished second behind the defending champion Giavellotto.


Two-time hurdles winner Absurde is another Cheltenham Festival winner entered for this year’s Ascot Gold Cup. He won the Country Handicap Hurdle at the biggest meeting in the Jumps racing back in March.

The former French-based horse has shown great durability throughout his career. When he made his debut as a two-year-old in France in 2020, he ran over the distance of 1m on the Flat. He has since appeared in a hurdles race over 2m4f.

Like his stablemate Vauban, Absurde also featured in the 2023 Copper Horse Handicap. He had to settle for the runner-up spot in that race as he proved no match for the former Triumph Hurdle winner.

Absurde did win a big Flat race last summer as he landed the Ebor Handicap at York. He stayed on strongly at the back end of the 1m6f contest under the hands of Frankie Dettori to get the better of his Gold Cup rival Sweet William. 

The Irish St Leger at the Curragh is an option for Mullins’ gelding should he run well at Royal Ascot this year. He may also switch back to hurdles in October for the 2024/25 National Hunt season.

The 2024 Ascot Gold Cup takes place on day three of the royal meeting on Thursday, 20th of June at 16:25, with the final field declared two days earlier on Tuesday, 18th of June.

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