The 2020 International Stakes takes place over 7-furlongs at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 25 July. It is a class 2 handicap and 20 runners are set to line up.
There has been a definite draw bias over the last few years, with only one of the 12 winners being berthed in between stalls one and 10. The only low-drawn winner in that time came in the only edition run on soft ground, so it could be worth excluding the low-drawn runners. Those being, Vale Of Kent, Habub, Spanish City, Kasbaan, Cold Stare, Keyser Soze, Shelir, Arbalet, Gin Palace, and No Nonsense.
Ratings have also produced two distinctly different bands that winners have fallen into in the same period. Eight winners have been classy enough to defy ratings of between 97 and 104, while four lightly-weighted runners have been rated between 89 and 92. The first and second favourites Blue Mist (95) and Ebury (96) fall between those two categories, so it looks worth taking them on.
Blackheath is among the lower-rated runners but he was beaten last time at 33/1 in a similar strength handicap, where he met trouble in running. King Of Tonga is another towards the foot of the weights but has been beaten off similar marks in this grade several times before.
Eshaasy is the most interesting runner near the foot of the weights, as he carries just 7-10 with George Rooke claiming 5lb. But you need to go back to 2003 to find the last 3-year-old to win the International Stakes. He was also well-beaten at Royal Ascot, but a return to better ground, a good draw, and a featherweight may allow him to go close.
Cardsharp has a chance off a mark of 101, having twice won handicaps off a mark of 107, and Mark Johnston has saddled three of the last 12 International Stakes winners. But he’s placed just once from nine starts at Ascot and can’t be backed with confidence despite the excellent form of his stable.
Chiefofchiefs won the Silver Wokingham Handicap off a mark of 95 at Royal Ascot and he now must defy a 5lb higher mark in what looks a better race. Jack’s Point is another that ran well at Royal Ascot, but he got a dream run up the rails that day to finish second behind a handicap good thing and is now 9lb higher than his last winning mark.
Mutamaasik is 2lb better off with Jack’s Point after finishing one place behind him at Royal Ascot. But he’s better drawn this time and could go close with a similar performance. The chance you’re taking with him is whether he’s recovered from whatever made him run badly at Newmarket last time.
Cliffs Of Capri is out 2020 International Stakes tip. His trainer Jamie Osbourne has sent out two of the last eight winners of this race and this 6-year-old has been laid out to win another. He won a handicap at Meydan off a mark of 90 earlier this year and, despite now being rated 97, he’s 6lb better off with Jack’s Point for a one-length beating at Newmarket. A winner over course and distance off a mark of 93, he has a decent record at Ascot where he has won twice and is yet to finish out of the first five. He looks well-drawn in stall-18 and looks a solid each-way bet with not many unexposed types in this year’s field.
Tip: Cliffs Of Capri (Each-Way) @ 13.00 William Hill, Paddy Power