Big Priced Jallota An Each-Way Cracker
Saturday’s big race may well be the King George VI Stakes, but for those who like a big handicap, then Ascot’s International Stakes at 3.15 is just the race for them.
Not many handicaps go 10/1 the field, but Saturday’s cavalry charge over 7f has in the past produced some juicy winners – 33/1, 33/1, 25/1 and 16/1 in the last four alone – indeed, no favourite won since 1999.
Currently looking to overcome that record is Speculative Bid (10/1), who won the Victoria Cup over C&D in May, prior to a creditable fifth in the Royal Hunt Cup back here (1m, good to firm). Arguably unlucky that day when blocked, Speculative Bid has been left on the same handicap mark and should go close once more, especially as the forecast rain will not inconvenience him (won on heavy).
As a 4yo, Speculative Bid is also from the ideal age-bracket based on recent trends…
Of the last 10 International winners…
10 were 4-5yo’s
10 were non-favourites
10 ran in a Class 2 or 3 event last time
9 ran over 7f/1m last time
9 had 3 runs or more during previous 90 days
9 ran at Ascot 1-4 times previously
9 won over 7f 1-2 times
M Johnston won it three times
Bushcraft On The Winning Trail
Another 4yo heading the right direction is Ed Walker’s Bushcraft (10/1) a winner of his last three handicaps at sprint trips, who takes a step up in both distance and class on Saturday.
His chance is respected, as is Mark Johnston’s 3yo, Enlace (20/1), who progressed to win a couple of 7f handicaps in June. Although unplaced in three outings since, his trainer won the last two renewals of this.
Also amongst the market leaders is Luca Cumani’s Ayaar (16/1) often well backed for these kind of handicaps, but a touch disappointing the last two times, while Ed Dunlop’s Zarwaan (12/1) was seventh behind Speculative Bid in the Victoria Cup here prior to winning a 7f handicap at Newcastle. However, with top-weight to carry, Zarwaan will need a career best.
On the subject of May’s Victoria Cup, Lincoln was beaten only 1/2l by Speculative Bid that day, and enjoys a 3lb pull with that rival on Saturday. He remains in form and may benefit from any forecast rain.
Who Will Want Rain?
Another who won’t mind rain is the Bunbury Cup winner, Rene Mathis, who is actually 5lb lower than when winning at Newmarket if you include his apprentice’s 5lb claim. At 20/1, he rates each-way value.
Elsewhere, Robert Eddery’s 5yo, Donncha (14/1), has won three of his last four races at a lower level and deserves a crack at this prize, while Richard Fahey’s 5yo, Heaven’s Guest (14/1), has been the subject of money this week and runs off the same mark as when beaten just over 1l when in this race 12 months ago.
An absolutely cracking renewal in which any rain could make a big difference.
One who won’t mind softer ground is Jallota, who was fifth in the Bunbury Cup on fast ground, having previously won a decent 7f handicap at York in the mud.
He smacks of each-way value at 20/1.
*Prices correct at time of publication