The Gigaset International Stakes is a 7f race held at Ascot at 3.00 on Saturday, July 28th. Here we look at the main contenders and pick two against the field.

Makzeem

The market is led by Makzeem, who earlier in the week was confirmed by trainer Roger Charlton as an intended runner in the Gigaset International.

4th over course and distance in the hotly contested Challenge Cup last October, a race from which the first two home have since filled those same positions in the Group 1 Queen Anne stakes at the Royal meeting in June, Makzeem obviously holds strong form claims.

His first two outings this season were poor to say the least as he trailed in last of small, though quality fields at both Haydock and Windsor. He did however show up very well in the Bunbury Cup earlier this month when re united with Ryan Moore, for whom he has two wins and a 2nd from five rides. The Makfi gelding clearly seems better suited by the specific demands of these big field cavalry charges and must come in for serious consideration here. Moore again takes the ride and with the stable in flying form, Makzeem will have his supporters.

Flaming Spear

Challenging for favouritism at this stage is the Tony Bloom owned Flaming Spear.

The Dean Ivory (ex Kevin Ryan) trained son of Lope De Vega travelled notably well when running a blinder for 5th in the Hunt Cup last month, a run that would give him a big chance here. Not to mention the fact that the feared Bloom/Ivory combination won the Gigaset International Stakes in 2016 with Librisa Breeze and Bloom owned horses have already landed two big Saturday handicaps in recent weeks courtesy of Withold and Stratum. However, Ivory is quoted as saying the horse will only run if Ascot gets rain and that looks less than certain at this stage. Flaming Spear might also have reliability questions to answer as evidenced by previous flops at this course and others.

Ripp Orf

Ripp Orf was an impressive winner of the Victoria Cup over course and distance last May. The David Elsworth trained gelding is re-united with Hayley Turner and must have a big chance as he clearly thrives under the unique demands of 20+ runners over a straight track. Since his Victoria Cup win he has ran once at Epsom where he failed to act on the course and three times in unsuitably small fields, winning once and finishing 2nd on the other two occasions. One can presume he has been kept so busy so to raise his handicap mark for races such as the Gigaset and if that busy spell hasn’t taken it’s toll, he will take beating if getting the splits that his hold up style demands.

Mubtasim

Another worthy of a mention is the William Haggas trained Mubtasim, who boasts very strong form but flopped when down the field in the Bunbury Cup. That poor run may be excused by the fact that he was isolated on the wrong side for most of the race and this son of Arcano can’t be ruled out with his powerful stable in blinding form.

Burnt Sugar

The Roger fell trained Burnt Sugar finally landed a big prize for his in form stable when taking the Bunbury Cup. Burnt Sugar is not to be dismissed lightly, but winning a Bunbury Cup and a Gigaset International Stakes back to back is no easy task for any horse and even though he is 12 pounds below his highest mark, one gets the feeling that this 6 year old has had his turn.

My two against the field are the 3 year olds Arbalet and Il Primo Sole.

Arbalet

Arbalet, a grey cold by Dark Angel out of Group 1 winning mare Miss Beatrix, has some serious 2 year old form to his name. In only his 2nd ever outing he found only subsequent Group 1 second Hey Gaman too good, and then went on to chase home two subsequent classic winners – Masar and Romanised when a solid 3rd in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown.

He then finished down the field in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, but as a big immature colt who was still growing into his frame, trainer Hugo Palmer later reflected that this fact, allied to the undulations at Newmarket, contributed to the poor run. First time up this year he again ran poorly in the Feilden Stakes back at Newmarket, a run that prompted Palmer to suggest the horse really doesn’t like the Newmarket undulations. He then got back on track with a confidence boosting win at Carlisle before running a cracker at 100/1 for 5th in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes behind Expert Eye. Held up that day, he ran on strongly from the back, with several highly rated 3 year old’s behind.

Arbalet then unfortunately acted up at Chester two weeks ago and as a resut had to pass a recent stalls test. Hopefully those problems are behind him and things will go smoothly at Ascot.

As a horse on the up who clearly acts well on the track and enjoys a big field, Arbalet has a serious chance here and his current odds of 20/1 are too big.

Il Primo Sole

As a highly tried John Gosden trained 3 year old running at Ascot on King George day, Il Primo Sole will understandably have his supporters.

The son of Ravens Pass started his career when making all to emphatically slam a 14 strong field by 4 and a half lengths in a novice stakes at Yarmouth last August. In two other outings as a 2 year old, he was disappointingly beaten at odds on on both occasions, a fact that certainly doesn’t boast his credentials to punters.

He did however get back on track first time up this year with a smooth win at Kempton from subsequent winner Major Partnership, before being sent to France for the Group 1 Poulains over a mile (French 2,000 Guineas). Even though he was beaten over 5 lengths to finish 8th of eleven on that occasion, it is very significant that Gosden ran him in a race of such stature. Just over two lengths in front that day was subsequent Group 1 July Cup winner U S Navy Flag, indicating the depth of the race.

Il Primo Sole was then a bit too keen for his own good when 5th of 30 over Ascot’s straight mile in the Britannia Stakes, an outing that showed his liking for the course and ability to handle a big field. Earlier in the week Gosden described Il Primo Sole as “very talented” before going on to confirm him as an intended runner in the Gigaset International Stakes who “must have a chance.” His current odds of 16/1 are clearly too big.

Gigaset International Stakes verdict:
Il Primo Sole ew @ 16/1 with Coral.
Arbalet ew @ 20/1 with Coral & William Hill.