The Shergar Cup was first run back in 1999 and has been an annual event ever since, save 2005 when Ascot – its home since 2000 – was closed for refurbishment. Four teams of three jockeys representing GB & Ireland, the Girls, Europe and the Rest Of the World will compete for the Shergar Cup with the 12 jockeys competing for the Silver Saddle.
Holders GB & Ireland are 2/1 favs with BetVictor with the Rest Of The World 9/4, Europe 11/4 and the Girls 5/1. Fran Berry won the Silver Saddle 12 months ago and is 4/1 favourite with Swede Per-Anders Graberg 7/1 and German Champion Andrash Starke, Adam Kirby and Hayley Turner at 8/1.
I hope to see dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown ride a winner courtesy of Humble Hero (2.15) who is blinkered for the first time. The gelding (7/1 with BetVictor) has been running well in defeat this season, but I hope this slightly easier ground will suit the William Haggas-trained 4-year-old who is the each way selection.
Cleonte (1.40) has met trouble in running on his last couple of starts, but the hope is that this thorough stayer gets the end-to-end gallop he needs at this trip. With Jukebox Jive and Hassle in the field that is a distinct possibility and the hope is that Per-Anders Graberg does not get too far back on the selection who is 4/1 with BetVictor.
Over at Haydock and Elwazir (3.05) is likely to be hard to beat in the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes for Owen Burrows. The selection is unbeaten in two starts so far this season and he looked very good when scoring at Ascot last time albeit in handicap company. This is a step up in class for the son of Frankel but one I feel he can take in his stride. The selection was 4/1 earlier in the week but is now 7/4 at BetVictor and I think he is potentially top class.
In the Listed Dick Hern Stakes Agrotera (2.30) is another stepping up in class having been given a very confident ride by Jamie Spencer when winning the Sandringham Stakes (Handicap) at Royal Ascot.
The 3-year-olds receive 7lbs from the older fillies and one mare (Lincoln Rocks) in the race and you get the impression that connections feel their filly is well up to this listed grade. The selection is well drawn in stall four although I wouldn’t want Spencer to give his mount as much to do as he did last time.
In the opener I am hopeful of a big run from Ayutthaya (1.20) who has been off the track since winning a Novice event at Thirsk on good to soft ground back in April. The selection – who has been gelded since his last start – has only run on ground with plenty of cut so connections will be hoping for some of the forecast showers to hit the track on Friday.
I wouldn’t be convinced today’s is the strongest renewal of the Gp 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, but Richard Hannon has won the corresponding race for the last two years and he will be confident of landing the hat-trick courtesy of Ajrar runner up at Sandown last time in listed company.
She must go close but Pennywhistle (3.45) can step up on her recent C&D success when she won with a bit in hand. The filly will get further in time but the forecast good to soft ground should suit and I hope Frankie Dettori will make plenty of use of his mount.
At Chelmsford, Orsera (3.15) has been off the track since disappointing at Brighton back in May but she has been given plenty of time to get over that moderate performance and she created a very favourable impression when scoring at Leicester on debut. She might be well treated on her handicap debut and the drop back to 7s should suit.