3 to follow in Ascot’s International Stakes handicap


With £150,000 guaranteed in the prize pot, the International Stakes handicap at Ascot is one of the more appealing 7f sprints of horse racing’s Flat season.

It is currently 10/1 the field for the contest and here are three horses that are worthy of inclusion in any betting portfolio:

Speculative Bid @ 10/1

Two starts ago Speculative Bid finished strongly to win the Victoria Cup despite finding some trouble in running.

He was upped 10lb when finishing fifth in the Royal Hunt Cup last time and again found his chances hampered by traffic problems at Ascot, albeit to a far greater level and over an increased 1m trip.

Speculative Bid has triumphed on his last three starts over 7f and retains the type of finishing kick that is useful in a race like this.

David Elsworth’s four-year-old is a worthy challenger at the head of the betting.

Mister Universe @ 12/1

Mark Johnson has trained three of the last seven winners, including Galician and Heavy Metal in the last two years, who both landed the spoils at 33/1.

Johnson has two entries in 2015, with Mister Universe seemingly having far stronger claims than Enlace.

Mister Universe retains the same mark as when second over this distance last time and he is a former course winner.

Sir Robert Cheval @ 25/1

Seven of the last 10 winners of the International Stakes have been aged four, while the weight bracket between 8st 7lb and 8st 13lb has provided half of the winners in the last decade.

Not many entrants fulfil both pieces of criteria this year, but Sir Robert Cheval is one who does and Marco Botti’s horse will also be one of the few that will appreciate the rain forecast to fall at Ascot later in the week.

He ran more than creditably when fourth in another handicap last time on ground that was far too fast for him and retains the same mark here.

On a softer surface, he must pose a much greater threat.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.