Published 22 July
Ground-versatile MAKZEEM looks the way to go in the Gigaset International with thunderstorms remaining a threat as the heatwave intensifies.
The mercury is set to breach the 30c barrier again and while rain continues to evade large parts of the south, some forecasts predict possible downpours towards the end of the week.
Roger Charlton’s progressive 5yo shouldn’t mind what the weather does - he boasts high-class handicap form on a range of ground from good to firm to good to soft.
Furthermore he appears to be returning to peak form, his close-up fifth in the Bunbury Cup last weekend representing a big step forward from his two previous runs this season, both in May.
Refreshed by the two-month break, Makzeem shaped as if just in need of the run as an apparently well-timed challenge from the rear under Ryan Moore flattened out as he hit the rising ground.
It was still a highly encouraging effort though, especially as all bar one of those who finished ahead of him had raced more prominently - tactics that tend to win out on the July course at Newmarket.
Dropped a couple of pounds since the start of the campaign, the gelding gets to race off the same mark at Ascot - indeed the one from which he finished fourth, beaten under three lengths, in the Challenge Cup over course and distance last autumn.
That’s proved to be very strong handicap form - the first two home Accidental Agent and Lord Glitters playing out the same roles in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot last month, the latter then going down narrowly in the Group 2 Summer Mile here.
The selection’s half-brother Al Kazeem enjoyed his best season as a 5yo, winning three Group 1s including the Prince Of Wales’s and Eclipse, and he himself should have enough improvement left in him to land a top-end handicap off this sort of rating (103).
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
Gigaset International at Ascot on 28th July
1pt each way MAKZEEM ( 20-1 Boylesports, 16-1 general )
Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo.@horsetraderinfo