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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

3:20 Ascot, Saturday, July 23rd

The Gigaset International Stakes, a Class 2 handicap run over 7 furlongs at Ascot, is our race of choice this week. No favourite has won the race in the last 10 years and eight of winners in that period were sent off at double-figure prices, so our search for value may not be entirely in vain.

The first one that takes our eye is Scottish Glen (50/1) who, despite being in the veteran stage of his career, enjoyed an excellent campaign in 2015.He won three times, including over course and distance in July, and finished second twice from five starts, officially improving 16lb in the process. His form this term hasn’t been at quite the same level, but he was only beaten a neck and a short head in a 0-95 contest on the July Course at Newmarket last month and looks far from impossibly handicapped off a 2lb higher mark. All three wins last season were recorded on good to firm going, which he’s likely to encounter for the first time this season, so some further improvement is by no means out of the question.

B Fifty Two (66/1) is hardly prolific, but is capable of decent form and usually pops up at least once a year. Charles Hills’ 7-year-old is probably better known as a sprinter, but has won over 7 furlongs and is just 4lb higher than when last winning a handicap. He has won on firm, good to firm, good and good to soft, so should run his race whatever the weather in Berkshire between now and Saturday afternoon and would have a squeak if back to his very best. That is quite a big ‘if’, because he’s finished nearer last than first on his last two starts, but the handicapper has finally relented, to the tune of 2lb, and he’s never been easy to predict.

Mullionheir (33/1) made giant strides last season, winning five times and going up 36lb in the weights in the process, so it was disappointing that he could only finish eleventh of 13, beaten 10½ lengths, behind Clear Spring on his reappearance at Newbury in May. He remains on a career-high mark, has yet to win on going faster than good and returns from a 71-day break, but wouldn’t be without a chance if able to resume his progress. John Best’s 4-year-old has had just 13 career starts so could, easily, have more to offer this season.

Selections: Ascot 3.20 Scottish Glen (50/1), B Fifty Two (66/1), Mullionheir (33/1)

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