International Stakes preview: Arbalet the answer to Ascot handicap puzzle

Published on: July 26, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 International Stakes preview from Ascot includes Arbalet

Having dropped to a handy mark, Arbalet looks decent value at 11/1 with BetVictor to land a typically fierce renewal of the 7f International Stakes at Ascot on Saturday (15:00).

This Hugo Palmer trained four-year-old colt was last success at Carlisle 14 months ago when scoring easily by 3 1/4 lengths off an official rating of 100.

He was then stepped up in class and ran very well when finishing a six-length fifth of 21 to Expert Eye in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Arbalet backed that up with a cracking three-quarters of a length second of 27 to Burnt Sugar in this contest off a mark of 104.

The son of Dark Angel went on to round off the campaign with a fine 2 1/2 lengths third to old rival Expert Eye in a Group 3 at York off 106.

Although yet to trouble the judge in four starts this season, they have all been in Listed company.

Arbalet caught the eye last time out at Windsor when a keeping on never nearer four-length fourth to Matterhorn. That was a step back in the right direction.

Now eased a further pound in the weights, Arbalet is able to race back in handicap company off 101.

It gives him major claims at the weights on the pick of his form for a yard in good nick and operating at a strike rate of 27 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing.

With the trip and ground also ideal, and James Doyle in the saddle, everything looks in place for a huge run.

Ripp Orf weighted to go well in International Stakes

Ripp Orf has an excellent record at the track and looks a massive player in the hands of Hayley Turner.

Trained by David Elsworth, this five-year-old has won twice and been placed on two other occasions from five starts over course and distance.

The son of Rip Van Winkle was beaten only a length into third in this 12 months ago off a mark of 92.

He went on to land the valuable Cunard Handicap here two starts later when beating the now very smart Cape Byron by half-a-length off 93.

Ripp Orf also ran very well at this venue on his penultimate outing last season when finding only Raising Sand two lengths too good in the 15-runner Challenge Cup off a rating of 97.

He is now able to race of a reduced rating of 93 and that gives him a huge shout from a handicapping perspective.

Ripp Orf also comes into the contest on the back of a fine effort when sixth of 17 to Vale Of Kent in the 7f Bunbury Cup at Newmarket, where he finished off with a rattle to be nearest at the finish and beaten just two lengths.

The first three home that day were all drawn high, so Ripp Orf did extremely well to get so close from stall five. It was a performance which can be upgraded.

Other pluses are that Ripp Orf has a 50 per cent strike rate on the forecast fast ground and goes well for Turner, who has won once and been placed three times in eight starts on him.

So, at 9/1 with William Hill who are paying six places, Ripp Orf looks a solid each-way betting proposition.

Spanish City holds solid claims

Given that he finished in front of Ripp Orf when fourth in the Bunbury Cup, the Roger Varian trained Spanish City is another well worth considering each-way at 14/1 with Coral.

It’s not the first time that the pair have clashed as the six-year-old ran a stormer to finish a 1 1/4 lengths sixth of 27 to Elsworth’s charge in the valuable Victoria Cup over course and distance last season when not getting the clearest of runs

After being switched right at the start and being held-up, Spanish City found himself behind a wall of horses a furlong from home.

He then flew home when eventually getting in the clear to be gaining hand over fist at the finish.

Spanish City looked an unlucky loser as he did in last year’s Bunbury Cup when collared close home and beaten half-a-length by Burnt Sugar when hitting the front too soon.

The son of Exceed And Excel undoubtedly has a big pot like this in him and he showed last time out that his current mark of 96 should not be beyond him.

Given that he is a hold-up performer, Spanish City does need the cards to drop right and will need luck in-running in this huge 29-runner field.

However, he has an in-form pilot in the saddle in the shape of Andrea Atzeni. It’s also very interesting the connections are now fitting him with blinkers for the first time.

If the new headgear has the desired effect, Spanish City looks sure to be in the thick of things and will be hard to keep out of the frame at least.

Mubhij another in International Stakes with an each-way shout

In a race in which a case can be made for plenty, the progressive Mubhij is another well worth considering each-way at the 16/1 on offer with BetVictor who are paying five places.

This four-year-old, who also hails from the powerful Newmarket yard of Varian, scored in good style on season reappearance at Yarmouth before finding only Beauty Filly 2 1/4 lengths too good at Goodwood.

He was attempting to give the winner 1lb that day, so given that Beauty Fill has since landed a Listed contest off a rating of 96 it gives the form a rock solid look.

Mubhij has since got back to winning ways with a ready success at Newcastle and, although a 7lb rise for that asks a big question, he is lightly-raced and going the right way.

Indeed, on his run behind Beauty Filly a revised rating of 98 may well not be beyond Mubhij. Hence he features as another potential each-way punt and thus completes this International Stakes Ipreview.