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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Scott expecting great things from top handicapper Gilgamesh in £80,000 feature

Cape Byron (right) finished second at Goodwood last time
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George Scott is hopeful that Gilgamesh and Jamie Spencer can plot a winning course in the Cunard Handicap (2.45), which is one of two valuable handicaps on the seven-race card at Ascot.

No market leader has won the £80,000 pot in its seven renewals to date but Gilgamesh must be in with a favourites chance after his eyecatching run at Chelmsford last weekend.

With his usual rider Edward Greatrex at Kempton, Jamie Spencer is reunited with the four-year-old on whom he won three races last year.

Scott said: "Gilgamesh has plenty in his favour and comes here on the back of a very nice run at Chelmsford. He's run well at Ascot before and is in great form at home. He'll need a bit of luck from his draw in stall 20 but he'll be dropped in and I'll leave the rest to Jamie."

Roger Varian is two-handed with handicap regulars Cape Byron and Spanish City, with the former having twice run well from wide draws at Goodwood recently.

The four-year-old is set to break from stall two this time around which may be a better berth, while Spanish City will jump from stall 12.

Varian said: "Cape Byron continues to run well in highly competitive handicaps and these conditions will suit him well. The same comments apply to Spanish City, who has been a little unfortunate this year, although he wouldn’t want any rain."

Also at the top end of the market is David Elsworth's Ripp Orf who won the Victoria Cup over course and distance in May.

Ripp Orf (middle): has already been successful at Ascot this season

Trainer David Elsworth said: "He is in very good form. It will come down to small margins and luck in running but if you were to have a bet in the race you may just as well back him."

Just sneaking in at the bottom of the weights is Warsaw Road who returned to winning ways at Chelmsford last time.

Trainer Luca Cumani said: "This is Plan B as Plan A was to run him in a valuable race back at Chelmsford but he did not get in. It's a big jump up in class but he deserves to take his chance."

Appleby Watch

The most valuable race on the card is the Lavazza Stakes Heritage Handicap (3.55) over a mile and a half in which the weights are headed by the progressive Ghostwatch.

Charlie Appleby's runner has improved for a recent gelding operation and landed the prestigious Melrose Handicap over a mile and three-quarters at York last month.

Although he is back in trip, the son of Dubawi should be suited by the stiff finish at this trip according to his trainer.

Ghostwatch: won the Melrose at York last month

Appleby said: "The gelding operation seems to be the making of Ghostwatch and he won very well last time in a strong race. Although he has topweight, he must have every chance of a follow up win."

John Gosden has a number of runners on the card and relies on First Eleven. The Frankel colt is fit from leading returning star Enable in her work on the all-weather surfaces of late.

He said: "First Eleven was a bit unlucky at the royal meeting when he finished third but the race may have come a bit quick for him when he disappointed at the July festival. We know he likes the track and is going well at home."

Up in class is Fairlight who is on a hat-trick following back-to-back wins at Newmarket and Brighton.

Trainer Luca Cumani said: "He's been winning inferior class races but deserves to test himself against some better opposition."

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