SATURDAY’S Gigaset International Stakes promises to be a cracking contest run over a fast seven furlongs at Ascot. Last year’s winner HEAVEN’S GUEST is among the market principles as he bids to retain the crown he won 12 months ago in a typically tight finish when edging out Balty Boys. And with 47 entries to sift through at time of writing, the 2016 renewal promises to be just as competitive as ever. Let’s get to it…
No better place to start than last year’s winner. As mentioned above, HEAVEN’S GUEST came out on top in a thrilling finish when besting Balty Boys by a head. Richard Fahey’s likeable six-year-old relishes these big field handicaps and has run into some very nice form with two big efforts of late. His Bunbury Cup second behind Golden Steps will have put him bang on the money for a tilt at this pot and he’s always likely to be thereabouts at the business end. Quotes of 12/1 seem fair enough at this stage but the handicapper rightly affords him plenty of respect and he may just be vulnerable to an improver or two around him.
GLEN MOSS will attract plenty of support with the booking of Ryan Moore catching the eye. He bolted up over six furlongs at Haydock the other week, but that was a four runner race in which he was granted a soft lead and allowed to dominate all too easily. This will be a far different test and he will need all of Moore’s talent from the plate to get his head in front. Definitely has a leading chance on the form of that Haydock win, but easy enough to look elsewhere.
LIBRISA BREEZE ran a huge race in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot last month and deservedly takes his place at the head of the market here on that basis of that run. He’s done a ton of improving for Dean Ivory during the last 12 months and he just failed to reel in the smart looking Portage that day at the Royal meeting – a repeat of that kind of form is bound to put him on the scene here. He clearly has the ability for this kind of big field handicap and with only eight career starts to his name, there is plenty of improvement to come.
SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR is getting plenty of respect at the head of the market, but for a horse who hasn’t won in two years, it’s tough to see why. He did put in a much improved effort in the Silver Bunbury Cup last time out when fitted with a first time tongue tie, and it’s possible we’ll see that progress continuing here. But he’ll have to keep taking giant steps forward from where he’s been to challenge for this prize and I’m amazed to see quotes as short as 7/1 in places. Simply not value at that kind of price.
MUTAWATHEA, on the other hand, represents the value play of the race. His solid third in the Bunbury Cup stands up well in this context and he just failed to see it out that day after trying to blast from the front. What catches my eye is the booking of seven pound claimer George Wood and I think connections are going to have a real go here and give the horse every chance. At 14/1 there is plenty of juice in his price and I really rate Simon Crisford as a trainer to look out for, so this is my idea of the bet to be had.
Elsewhere, rapid improver CAN’T CHANGE IT merits our respect. Two good wins were followed by a flop on the all weather at Newcastle, but he’s far more likely to be at home back on this rattling surface and couldn’t have a better pilot than Jamie Spencer, who will be ice cool in this big field handicap. Definitely one worth watching and at 14/1 will have his supporters for sure.
VERDICT: A wide open race and cases can be made for so many among the field. But my idea of value at this stage has to be Simon Crisford’s MUTAWATHEA. The 7lbs claim of George Wood could just prove key here and he’s a solid handicapper who deserves to get his head in front in this type of race. At 14/1 he’s worth a play.
Stake: 0.5pts each way : 14/1 (various)