Ascot tips for Saturday: Guest primed for International challenge
David Metcalf | July 22, 2016
Heaven’s Guest can complete International double
Heaven’s Guest has a solid record in big field handicaps and looks decent value to land back-to-backing runnings of the 7f International Stakes at Ascot (15.55).
Trained by Richard Fahey, the six-year-old is a tough and consistent sort who finished a fine fourth in the the 2014 running of the race before showing tremendous battling qualities to land the spoils 12 months ago by a head from Balty Boys off a mark off 103.
Heaven’s Guest is now able to race of just 1lb higher and comes into the contest having returned to form and finished runner-up in his last two starts.
In the last of those, the gelding stayed on strongly to go by a diminishing 3/4 of a length in the valuable 16-runner Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.
It was a cracking effort which showed Heaven’s Guest to be as good as ever and it looks as if Fahey has brought the son of Dark Angel nicely to the boil to be at his peak to defend his crown.
Von Blucher poised to follow-up
Von Blucher looked way ahead of the assessor when scoring last time out and can make light of a rise in the weights to follow-up in the 1m handicap (15.20).
The John Gosden trained colt shaped with promise when fourth on seasonal reappearance in the Esher Cup at Sandown, but looked a totally different proportion after an 11 week break when easily landing a competitive eight-runner handicap at Newmarket by 1 1/2 lengths from Silent Attack.
Von Blucher is a strapping sort and looked stronger both mentally and physically, and after travelling strongly throughout showed a smart turn of foot to score with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
The three-year-old looks the type who should have even more to offer and with Ryan Moore taking over in the saddle a 7lb rise is unlikely to be enough to stop him going in again.
Sakhee’s Return weighted to strike
In the lady amateur riders’ handicap over 7f (17.00), Sakhee’s Return can cash-in on a drop in the weights to land the spoils.
The gelding was a dual scorer over 7f last season and shaped with plenty of promise on return to action when a tenderly handled fifth at Doncaster.
That run should have blow the cobwebs and put the Tim Easterby trained four-year-old spot on for this and having been dropped 1lb he is now able to race off the same mark as when last successful.
Sakhee’s Return also has the services in the saddle Emily Easterby who is terrific value for her 5lb claim and brimming with confidence having won on her last two mounts.
14.10: Dubai Hero
14.45: Seduce Me (E/W)
15.20: Von Blucher (NB)
15.55: Heaven’s Guest (NAP)
16.30: Highland Reel
17.00: Sakhee’s Return
17.35: Imari Kid