Franie Dettori Day at Ascot!
Enable is the star attraction at Ascot this afternoon and is going to be very hard to beat in her repeat big to land the King George Stakes.
We concentrate on the big handicap of the day which is the International Stakes run at 2:25. There are several familiar names lining up here with the likes of Arbalet, Blue Mist & Spanish City regularly running into the places but failing to win. It is a horse with proven winning form we want on side as there is no hiding place in these heritage handicaps run up the Ascot straight course. The two I finally landed on at the prices are Vale of Kent and Blackheath.
Vale of Kent ran a stormer here in the Royal Hunt Cup over a furlong further when finishing fourth. The first four home pulled clear of the field that day and have franked that form up in grade subsequently. Dark Vision and Monthatham were split by a short head at Sandown in another mile handicap. Dark Vision won a listed race earlier this week. Pogo who finished third in the Royal Hunt cup just ahead of Vale Of Kent has won a listed race and placed at Group 1 level since Ascot. Vale of Kent lead a furlong from home in the Royal Hunt Cup but just failed to see out the trip as strongly as the rest. Dropping to 7 furlongs will suit and he should get an easier time on the front end compared to his run in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket a fortnight ago. Vale of Kent is lumbered with top weight of 9-10 but has proven form off his current rating of 108 and will enjoy the quick ground and 7 furlongs trip at Ascot.
Blackheath is a bit of a shot in the dark but does have course form such as when 9th beaten just 3l by Salute The Soldier over today’s trip last September. Blackheath jumped slowly that day and didn’t get the clearest of passages under Megan Nicholls. I think this horse has improved this season as he ran well on his first run of the season when runner up to Aljady over six furlongs. He backed that run up with a good win at Yarmouth when sent off a well backed favourite over 7 furlongs. We can forgive him his latest run in the Bunbury Cup as he had no luck in running enduring a blocked run blocked twice!. As a result, Blackheath arrives at Ascot a relatively fresh horse with Luke Morris booked to ride. Drawn in stall 15, Blackheath has conditions in his favour off a workable handicap mark of 90 and just 8-6 on his back.
Ascot - 2:25
0.5 Point EACH WAY Vale of Kent (14/1 William Hill, Paddy Power & Skybet, all three paying 6 places)
0.5 Point EACH WAY Blackheath (25/1 William Hill paying 6 places)