A virtual hint based data cache way prediction scheme, and applications thereof. In an embodiment, a processor retrieves data from a data cache based on a virtual hint value or an alias way prediction value and forwards the data to dependent instructions before a physical address for the data is available. After the physical address is available, the physical address is compared to a physical address tag value for the forwarded data to verify that the forwarded data is the correct data. If the forwarded data is the correct data, a hit signal is generated. If the forwarded data is not the correct data, a miss signal is generated. Any instructions that operate on incorrect data are invalidated and/or replayed.