Brazos makes e/w appeal in the International
LONGINES INTERNATIONAL STAKES (Heritage Handicap) (7f)
With 29 runners going to post for this season’s International Stakes at Ascot, it is get your pin out time to decipher a winner in the minefield 7f contest won last year by 33/1 shot Galician.
Horsted Keynes is the current market leader following a fast finishing runner-up performance behind today’s rival Louis The Pious in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot last time. A winner of four of his seven starts to date, Roger Varian’s gelding still has room for a little more improvement and if kept a little closer to the pace, does look the one to beat. The softening ground is a little worrying though, so 8/1 looks a little small in a field of this nature where traffic trouble is inevitable.
The lightly raced Watchable was only 3/4 lengths behind the current market leader in the Buckingham and lining up here 2lbs better off, will have a big chance of reversing the form for the red-hot David O’Meara stable. Belgian Bill looked all over the winner in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last time but met with traffic trouble in the closing stages before finishing full of running. A similar effort with a clear run will see him at the business end again.
It always pays to find a bit of e/w value in these types of races however and I think I may have found one way down in the market at a whopping price of 50/1. BRAZOS, trained by Clive Brittain, finished last of thirteen in the Coral Challenge at Sandown last time but I think he can be forgiven that run on ground that was too fast and over a trip a little too far for his liking.
The 3yo was a fine winner of the Paddy Power Handicap over course and distance on just his 3rd start this year in May, before running a big race when a badly hampered 6th in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting the following month. He obviously seems to like it at this track, the slight softening of the ground will be a help and he has strong e/w claims if back to his best.
Of the others at a big price that may reward e/w backers, 2012 winner Field Of Dream (25/1) bounced back to his best with a fantastic victory in the Royal Hunt Cup on his seasonal reappearance and if arriving here in the same form has solid claims, although giving weight away to all but one will be no easy task.
One time Group 1 performer Dont Bother Me (18/1) is surely now running off of a very workable mark of 98 but it is still hard to trust a horse that has only tasted victory once in 16 starts. He does always run a game race however and having ran well enough in the Wokingham last time, is another e/w candidate.
For those of you looking for even bigger value than my suggestion, you could do worse than lay your pennies down on Brian Ellison’s Pacific Heights (66/1). The 5yo drops markedly in trip following a decent effort in the John Smith’s Cup at York last time but two of his four victories have come over this 7f trip and most notably on good to soft ground. The rain will have helped and you will see worse 66/1 shots this season.
By Kevin Walsh /Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
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