Margarson welcomes International guests

GEORGE Margarson is thrilled to have two realistic chances in the Betfair Summer Double First Leg International at Ascot today in Imperial Guest and Excellent Guest.

The latter is the shortest in the betting of the pair, having placed second in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket a fortnight ago, although his trainer has a slight preference for the chance of his stablemate.

“They’re both in good nick having had a breeze this morning. They are safely in their boxes, so that’s the hard bit done,” said Margarson.

“I’m quite pleased because one is drawn one side, and one is drawn the other.

“I think there are pace horses on both sides but having looked at the race, I can see it opening up on the stands side, which would lend itself well to Imperial Guest (stall 21).

“I think he won this race last year on the far side, so of the two I would probably just favour him.

“Excellent Guest is improving quite dramatically. I haven’t done a lot with him since the Bunbury Cup so it’s hard to know whether he’s come on again, but he’s in good form.

“There is no margin for error to be fair, as both horses are to the top of their mark, but they are straightforward and I’m looking forward to the day.

“It is hard to know with the draw but if they were both drawn in the same place, I’d favour Imperial Guest to beat Excellent Guest.

“On everything I’ve seen at home, Imperial Guest has always shown me he’s a Group horse waiting to happen.

“It’s just whether he can take that step.”

Heading the market is Jim Goldie’s classy handicapper Hawkeyethenoo.

The five-year-old ran away with the Victoria Cup over course and distance in May and although he is now 8lb higher in the weights, Goldie clearly expects another bold show.

“The horse is in good order and he’s a course-and-distance winner, so he’s going down there with a big chance,” said the Scottish trainer.

“The ground might be a bit softer than when he won there, but he should be OK.

“He’s in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood next week but he won’t be going there.”

Noble Citizen is a major contender for David Simcock, getting into the race with a 3lb penalty for winning at Ascot on his latest start.

“He’s running of a 2lb lower mark than last year when he was second and he seems to love Ascot. He runs better at Ascot than he does anywhere else,” said Simcock.

“He’s coming into the race in good order, but he does need the ground to dry out. He wouldn’t want soft in the going description.

“I’m very happy with him and he gets into the race with a 3lb penalty for winning a valuable race last time, so we’ll just have to see what happens.

“He barely gets a mile but he’s all right over six and seven furlongs.

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