Good morning all,
All the glitz and the glamour of the Shergar Cup comes to town and whilst many still view it with a degree of scepticism, there's no denying it's place in the calendar now and it seems to be growing as an event.
Skybet going 4 places on all the races looks a bit of a gift, in truth, and one that ought to be taken advantage of.
I've done a preview for all six races on the main piece plus a good priced selection that should go close.
1.05 – Shergar Cup Sprint (5f)
As it was last year, as I seem to recall, not that many pacemakers here and Stake Acclaim, with Jamie Spencer on board (something that does go unnoticed a little is how good Spencer is from the front) might be able to make all. Not disgraced in the Stewards Cup last week, he handles some cut in the ground and has, in the main, been in good form this summer. Drawn 12, which might be ideal, he’d be my first choice.
Mirza’s claims are hard to knock, having finished a neck second over this C&D last October (soft ground) and in retrospect, had no chance against Battash at Sandown last time. Hard to see him not running a good race, really, despite getting on in years.
1.40 – Shergar Cup Stayers (2m)
This makes little appeal for a bet, with the majority of this field having little form on soft ground (the exception would be Medburn Cutler if he got a run). By far then, the most likely winner would appear to be Swashbuckle, who won on good to soft at Salisbury last time, stays this trip fine, and the short break for him looks a positive as well. If he handles this slightly slower ground, then I think Neil Callan will be picking up the points.
Of those at bigger prices, I suppose Wolfcatcher makes some appeal. Ian Williams has already done us one good turn in a staying handicap recently and Wolfcatcher, who just looked like he might be on the way back here last time, has won on heavy ground at Rasen in the dim and distant past so should handle conditions. Hayley gets the ride and if she can get him to settle a bit better, he could go well.
2.15 – Shergar Cup Challenge (1m4f)
This also has the hallmarks of a messy race, with no guaranteed front runner. Mukkhayam is the most likely for that role and if Hayley really should be grabbing this race by the scruff of the neck early. Two from two lately, and looking like an improving sort, he’s fine on soft ground and I don’t see the track being a problem. He’d be first choice.
Oasis Fantasy is a bit of a twicer but he’s on a cracking mark these days and just gave the impression that he might be on the way back with a better effort at Goodwood last week, the hood and cheekpieces seemingly producing a better effort. That was over a trip short of his best as well, and maybe a change of jockey might just suit this quirky sort.
2.50 – Shergar Cup Mile (1m)
And again, where is the pace coming from here? Plenty of hold up and midfield horses but not much in the way of frontrunners. I wonder whether Jamie Spencer might try his luck from the front on Basil Berry, who ran well at Yarmouth two starts ago when trying to make all but couldn’t get to the front last time and ran a bit below par, although the 10f trip was probably as much to blame. There’s some winning form on soft ground if you go back far enough (seems to go on all ground, in truth) and I wouldn’t put anyone off risking a quid or two on him.
Breakable won under a length at Chester last time but was value for a bit more, in truth, as he travelled like the best horse from some way out and had to wait for the gap after being taken back early. Only gets a 3lb penalty for that and with no ground issues, no reason he won’t run his race again.
3.25 – Shergar Cup Classic (1m4f)
Finally a race with some pace. Beat Valley, Rake’s Progress and Reachforthestars are all likely to go forward and a solid pace looks assured.
Contango is 3-3 for Andrew Balding and will be top of most punters lists, especially after proving himself on soft ground at Newmarket last time out, but that was only a 3 runner affair and the time was nothing to write home about, despite an 11 length winning margin. I’m keen to try and take him on, as he’s up another 10lb and in slightly better company here.
Also improving quickly but three times the price of Contango is Glenys The Menace, working her way through the grades quite nicely now and if turning out quickly after her second to the potentially useful Time Chaser at Sandown on Thursday she would hold a chance. All her form has been over 10f recently but she seemed to stay 1m4f fine at Lingfield earlier (was actually running on at the finish) and she looks a bit overpriced to me.
4.00 – Shergar Cup Sprint (6f)
It’s possible the improving Luliawa gets an fairly easy time of it on the lead, although Poet’s Society and Repton have both tried to make all in the past, but the other thing to ask is whether Luliawa has the bare pace for 6f now, having done much of his improving over 7f recently. You’d be hard pushed to say he hasn’t, and it wouldn’t be any surprise if he wins, but I’m half-tempted to give Bohemian Flame a try at a bigger price. Quite highly tried towards the back end of last year, he won on debut at Salisbury last season and gives the impression that 6f on slow ground might be his thing. He just seemed to get a bit outsped on quicker ground and I’m willing to give him a try in a tricky finale.
Today’s selection – Glenys The Menace 3.25 Ascot
Good luck with all your bets today,