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Ascot Preview: All systems go for Gabbiano

Ascot stage a competitive six-race card this afternoon, and Gabbiano holds major claims of landing the closing 5f handicap (5.00) for the second year running.

The Jeremy Gask trained gelding was in good form last year when winning three times, including twice at this venue.

The last of those successes came in this contest, where Gabbiano ran on strongly to beat Gladiatrix by a short-head off a mark of 85.

The five-year-old is now back on the same mark having shaped really well in three starts this season.

In the last of those, the son of Zafeen stayed on late off an unsuitable slow pace to finish a never nearer 2 3/4 length fifth of 15 to Shore Step over 6f here.

It was a run which suggested Gabbiano was ready to go in again, and he looks to have been brought along steadily with this race in mind.

In the 2m Brown Jack Stakes (3.20), Eshtiaal looks capable of going well at a huge price now stepped up significantly in trip and makes plenty of each-way appeal.

Brian Meehan’s gelding was a consistent and progressive sort last year, winning back-to-back contests at Goodwood and Yarmouth before running better than his finishing position suggest when a 5 1/4 length 12th of 18 to Elidor in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot off a mark of 84.

Eshtiaal now meets the winner on 15lb better terms, and went on to finish a cracking third to Excellent Result in a competitive 1m 4f handicap at this venue off a rating of 93.

Although the four-year-old has been below form in two runs this season, he now runs off a mark of just 90 and has become well-treated if the fitting of cheekpieces for the first time do the trick.
Elhaame has shaped really well in two starts this season and can get back to winning ways in the 1m 2f handicap (4.30).

The Luca Cumani gelding progressed well last summer, winning at Nottingham before following up in good style on quick ground at Leicester off a mark of 86.

Elhaame then put up a career-best effort when beaten just a length by Excellent Result in a competitive 14-runner handicap over 1m 4f at this track off a rating 94, and now runs off 2lb lower having run a blinder to finish sixth of 18 to Arab Spring in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes here last time out.

The son of Acclamation now drops back down to 1m 2f, the distance over which he has notched both his career successes, and with underfoot conditions to suit looks the one they all have to beat.

Selections:
2.10: Malabar
2.45: Alpine Affair
3.20: Eshtiaal
3.55: Euro Charline
4.30: Elhaame (NB)
5.00: Gabbiano (NAP)