Ascot International Stakes 2023: Fresh fancied for repeat success
James Fanshawe’s Fresh is 6/1 with Coral to claim back-to-back victories in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The six-year-old was a short-head winner of the contest last season and is something of a course specialist, having been successful there three times and placed on several occasions.
His last run came in the Wokingham at the Royal meeting in June, a race he finished second in in 2021 and this time was the fifth-placed horse when beaten two lengths in a field of 27.
That run has persuaded connections to bid for an International Stakes title defence after the gelding disappointed when 19th in the Victoria Cup earlier in the season.
“He’s very well, he’s had this race as a target as he likes it there and he ran very well there last time,” said Fanshawe.
“He needs a lot of things to go right but we’ve targeted it and he seems to really love the track there.”
Regarding why Fresh likes the course so much, Fanshawe added: “I don’t know, some horses just really do like the straight track at Ascot and he’s one of them fortunately!
“In the Wokingham, he was just drawn on the inside, he ran really well and was finishing well. He was one that came from a long way back and ran very well.
“He won the International last year so it was the obvious race, the main thing after the Ascot run was that he’d gone well, as he was a bit disappointing the time before. I’m really pleased with him and he seems in good form.”
Biggles next best in early betting
Biggles, who was rewarded for his consistency in landing the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket earlier this month, is a well-backed 5/1 favourite for the 7f contest.
The Ralph Beckett-trained gelding won four times last year on different ground over this specialist trip.
Runner-up in the Victoria Cup at Ascot this term, he returned to the Berkshire track and finished ninth in the Buckingham Palace at the Royal meeting.
With Ryan Moore superb in the saddle, Biggles then secured a convincing victory at HQ on rain-softened ground after hitting the front inside the final furlong.
Beckett said: “He has been a phenomenally consistent horse all his life. The rain really helped and Ryan thought he would win throughout. I’m not sure he needs it soft now, but he is more effective on it.”
Vafortino, first and third in the last two renewals of the Victoria Cup over this course and distance, can be backed at 9/1.
8/1 Spangled Mac
12/1 Northern Express
All odds and markets correct at date of publication