Love it or loathe it, the Shergar Cup takes centre-stage this Saturday at Ascot where some of the World’s best riders do battle in a bid to lift the Shergar Cup. This unique team competition first took place in 1999 with just two teams but has evolved in recent times. It’s now a four-team competition which is broken down into Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, Rest of World and the “Girls” team.
Each race will have a maximum of ten runners and two reserves and the first of six races kicks off at 1.05 pm. There are three jockeys in each team and each jockey rides in five of the six races on the day. The scoring system starts with fifteen points for a winner down to three points for the fifth-place runner.
Great Britain & Ireland
- Fran Berry
- Adam Kirby
- Pat Cosgrave
Rest of the World
- Joao Moreira
- Yutaka Take
- Corey Brown
- Andrasch Starke
- Per-Andres Graberg
- Gerald Mosse
- Hayley Turner
- Hollie Doyle
- Josephine Gordon
The 2017 contest was won by Great Britain & Ireland with 86 points and captain Fran Berry who previously won the silver saddle will be hoping he can repeat this.
The schedule for the Shergar Cup is as follows:
1:05 Shergar Cup Dash (Handicap) 5f
1:40 Shergar Cup Stayers (Handicap) 2m
2:15 Shergar Cup Challenge (Handicap) 1m4f
2:50 Shergar Cup Mile (Handicap) 1m
3:25 Shergar Cup Classic (Handicap 1m4f
4:00 Shergar Cup Sprint (Handicap) 6f
This unique event can be a slightly difficult betting proposition as some jockey are having their first rides in the UK and most will be riding their respective mounts for the first time. I’d advise to pick your team, sit back and enjoy the day!
The Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes is the pick of a quality card at Haydock on Saturday. Unfortunately for each way backers, the race has the dreaded seven runners declared but among them, there are some nice looking types. The ever-patient Owen Burrows runs the very lightly raced Elwazir who looks set to go off favourite to land his first group success. The son of Frankel ran well without winning as a two-year-old but has won both starts as a three-year-old in taking fashion and will be very hard to beat.
Sir Michael Stoute will be hoping his improving three-year-old Zaaki can land a second season victory and deny Elwazir. David Probert’s mount ran well at Royal Ascot two starts back and was just touched off by Communique who re-opposes in a valuable handicap at Newmarket most recently. Zaaki was giving Mark Johnston’s colt twelve pounds that day and I’d fancy him to reverse the placings this time around.
Others to consider are Brorocco and Fajjaj.
Some of flat and jump racings leading lady riders are competing for the Ladies’ Trophy Handicap at Haydock, where from the bottom of the handicap Hugo Palmer’s Rashdan who has won two of his last three starts including on handicap debut last time out. The three-year-old looks to be on the upward curve and Georgia Cox is a positive jockey booking.
The father and daughter team of Paul and Megan Nicholls team up with the favourite Birds Of Prey who has run well on both starts for the yard without troubling the judge. The son of Sir Prancealot was a two-time winner in Ireland for John Oxx last season and holds leading claims in this contest.
Others to note include Play it Cool who is returning from an absence, Appointed and Atkinson Grimshaw.
The Dick Hern Stakes is a listed race for fillies and mares and Ed Walker’s Agrotera will be all the rage here having cosily won the Sandringham Stakes on her latest start. The daughter of Mastercraftsman has only graced the racecourse on four occasions and looks like a very nice prospect going forward. If she continues to progress or even turns up in the same form as when she won at Ascot then she should collect this prize and her first bit of black type.
Roger Varian will be hoping that he’s reasonably new acquisition Narella can recapture some her two-year-old form which included a Group 3 victory at Baden-Baden. The ex-German trained filly then finished last in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac behind Wild Illusion and that form doesn’t look too bad in the context of this race. She finished in the rear on her first British start in a Sandown Listed event last month but given normal improvement from her seasonal bow, she may just give the favourite the most to worry about.
Last season German 1000 winner Unforgettable Filly has arguably got the best form on offer having already won that Group 2 contest and winning a listed event at Musselburgh last season. However, Hugo Palmer’s charge hasn’t shown the same form this year in three starts and will have to show some improved form to add to these successes.
Others of note include La Figlia, Lincoln Rocks and the William Haggas trained Dynamic.
Newmarket also plays host to the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes where Mark Johnston’s Main Edition bids to bounce back from a disappointing run in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes having won the Albany previously. The filly that finished runner-up in the Albany was Charlie Appleby’s La Pelosa who herself has run slightly below expectations in her two runs since the Royal meeting.
This may leave the door open for one of the less exposed and bigger priced fillies in the field, principally John Gosden’s Pennywhistle who improved from debut to take a Newmarket novice event last month. Obviously, this represents a huge jump in class for the daughter of Iffraaj but with Frankie in the plate I expect her to run a big race.
Richard Hannon’s Ajrar is the other obvious one of interest having taken her maiden in impressive fashion on debut and following this up with a staying on second in a listed event at Sandown. The only worry is she may get outpaced but is sure to be staying on at the finish.