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Take The Path To Tipperary

Morning all,

The final declarations for Saturday’s Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh are out. Just the six have run. However, the big five Bradsell, Little Big Bear, Blackbeard, Persian Force and Shartash have stood their ground. Which means Juvenile race of the season so far is on.

Saturday’s Shergar Cup is all about the jockey’s but Inside today’s main piece I identify a handful of trainers and who like to have runners/winners at the event. Plus, there a quick look at Friday’s action.

Silvestre heads East

On Wednesday the Racing Post reported that three-time British champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa will riding in Hong Kong. Silvestre will be leaving this month for pastures new and an opportunity kickstart his career which has stalled badly this year.

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Although his biggest triumph arguably came when rode his rivals to sleep on Arabian Queen in the 2015 Juddmonte International. Even when Champion he never seemed to have good rides in the biggest races. I genuinely have no idea why he wasn’t utilised by the bigger name trainers more. He always seemed to have his mounts in the right position in race. Whether out in front like on Arabian Queen or out the back when the race was going to be very strongly run.

I’m biased, as a I backed the horse, but I thought Silvestre’s ride on Farhh to win the Champion Stakes in 2013 showed him at his very best in a big race. You’ll see why here.

This season has proved to be a very poor one for him. He’s had just 22 winners on the flat from 235 rides and he’s clearly not riding with a great degree of confidence at present.

De Sousa had a successful short spell in Hong Kong in 2018-19 and will be hoping that a return there can see him back to something like his best.  I wish him all the best.

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Shergar Cup Stats

Of course, the Shergar Cup is all about the teams. However, there are trainers and to a lesser extent jockey’s who seem to do well at the event. The girl’s team have won it three times since 2015, including last year, and of all the teams they are the team who seem to take it most seriously. Hayley Turner captains the girl’s team like she did 12 months ago.

The girls have it

Hollie Doyle was due to ride at this year’s Shergar Cup but the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh proves not surprisingly a bigger draw. Hollie is replaced by Joanna Mason.  Jo is a very competitive jockey, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she was to have a winner.

Hayley Turner is the winning most jockey and has had the most rides with 4 winners from 24 runners. Of the rest Nicola Currie is worth noting 2 winners from 5 runners 4 placed and she’s in the girl’s team once again.

Will the girls win again this year?  Well, I haven’t had a look at declaration at the time of writing but trying to avoid any innuendo I wouldn’t want to be laying them.


Enough of the jockey’s now onto the trainers.  Seven trainers have had two or more winners at the Shergar Cup since 2016 and three of them have runners this year.

Andrew Balding – 5 winners from 27 runners 19% +3.5 15 placed 55%

Roger Varian – 4 winners from 6 runners 67% +9.66

Mark Johnston – 2 winners from 18 runners 11% -7.5 8 placed 44%.

All the Varian runners came at the 2020 Shergar Cup. Which was run under a different format due to the Covid restrictions in force at the time. Interestingly Varian has got three entries this year.

Balding is the winning most trainer but he’s also had the most runners. Still a 55% win & place strike rate is decent, and the A/E (1.23) shows there’s still value to be had.

Friday Racing

It’s a busy old Friday with seven meetings across Britain & Ireland. It’s a case of quantity over quality though with most of the racing being moderate and or small field sizes this side of the Irish Sea

There’s a Class 2 handicap at Newmarket (7:10) with just four runners and a Class 3 (8:20) with just three. The Racing League had a 6f (0-90) handicap last evening which had 14 runners. Mind you there was £25,770 on offer to the winner of that race compared with the paltry £8,100 this evening.

The race of the day quality wise at Tipperary and the Listed Churchill Stakes (6:45) run over 7 ½ f.


6:45 – Hellsing built on his Curragh racecourse debut success when a 1 ¼ length 2nd of 5 to Proud And Regal in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown 15-days ago. Will go on and improving and looks a worthy favourite.

La Dolce Vita is more exposed, but she’s respected on her ½-length 3rd of 6 to Never Ending Story in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown last time.

The biggest danger to the favourite could be Pearling Path. Runner-up in the in Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot two starts back. The colt wasn’t seen to best advantage when a 4 ¾ length last of 5 in the Tyros Stakes. Not well positioned at the back in steadily run race. He’s probably not best judged on that run and is worth a chance here. Looks each way value at around 8/1 if all eight stand their ground.

Selection: Pearling Path – 8/1.

Good luck with your Friday bets.


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