This annual team competition The Shergar Cup takes centre stage at the “Royal Racecourse” Ascot.
They open up proceedings with a five furlong sprint handicap where the current market leader represents the top team of David O’Meara as Out Do looks the likely winner (according to the bookmakers) However prior to the horses second placed finish last time out the horse has had a poor season so far and even its second placed finish was only in a five runner race last time and considering its spot as a favourite I have to look for an alternative.
Two outsiders that could do better than their odds may suggest are Willytheconqueror and Line Of Reason. Willytheconqueror’s trainer William Muir has his horses going well and at the age of three has room to improve but this may be a step up too soon.
The one I’m siding with is a true sprinting veteran who showed it could still hang with the best sprinters when finishing sixth of fifteen in a big time handicap at Ascot last time out. Medicean Man has a great record at Ascot and this less competitive race looks an easier task than some of its previous engagements this season. With Frankie Dettorri booked for the ride the ten year old looks to have a great chance.
Medicean Man (E/W)
Noble Silk is the horse I’m hoping will triumph in this two mile race. The horse has a respectable record around todays course and looks to be primed for this race after some respectable efforts so far this season. One of France’s top jockeys Thierry Jarnet is booked for the ride and that seems an extra positive and at an each-way price at currently 9/1 looks worth an each way punt.
Of the rest of the field the Sir Mark Prescott runner Sea Of Heaven is the only horse to hold a course and distance win which occurred in its last outing. It clearly has a very good chance but will no doubt need to continue to improve and at 11/4 seems way too short.
Noble Silk (E/W)
In last years Shergar Cup the women’s team took home the glory and Canadian based jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson captained the side. She seems to have found herself with a great ride in the third race of the day at Ascot as she climbs aboard course and distance winner Duretto. The Andrew Balding runner has raced at Ascot a total of three times and has won two and placed second in the other. A return to Ascot is obviously a huge plus and at an each-way price it’s hard to avoid.
Ruwasi took a year away from the race course and seems to have improved for it with to wins in its last two runs. The horse is clearly on the up but now sitting at ten pounds higher than the first of its two most recent victories it may be too big a task to overcome for the market principle.
Great Glen has an obvious chance but I hope it’ll find one or two too good today and a mention also has to go for one of the reserves Sweet P who was ultra consistent last year and if getting a run today could go well.
A one mile contest awaits us here where the consistent George Cinq heads the betting and under Martin Harley is bound to run another competitive race. That being said however, the six year old seems to prefer softer conditions and although I’m pretty positive the horse will finish near the head of the field when it comes to the closing stages I think there maybe enough staked against it to ensure it doesn’t finish in front today.
After running over a mile at Goodwood I was taken by the way Glory Awaits travelled throughout the race and unfortunately couldn’t find a way through traffic. Now returning back to a mile and on firmer going the six year old looks to have a great opportunity to pick up victory here.
Glory Awaits (E/W)
The penultimate race of the day in this years Shergar Cup sees the three year old generation take centre stage in this twelve furlong handicap.
The selection comes from one of the four runners that are blinkered for the first time in the form of Against The Odds. The Oisin Murphy ride has won over todays trip so that’s a question mark that, unlike some of its rivals, it has already answered.
Andrew Balding’s course and distance winner Real Dominion put in a decent effort here last time out but a nine pound rise in the weights seems a very steep task and one I feel it’s unlikely to overcome.
The biggest danger to the selection looks to be Combative who put in an eye-catching run at Goodwood last time out and looks to improve on that here.
Against The Odds (E/W)
We end todays action from Ascot as the card draws to a close with a six furlong sprint.I’m going to opt for a horse where a chance has to be taken based on how highly connections seemed to have rated its chances previously. David O’Meara saddles Saryshagann who raced in listed and Group 3 races in its previous two outtings and now dropping back into handicap company has to be worth considering. If the addition of blinkers brings about any improvement and a return to a firmer surface looks to also help the horses chances and I’m hoping Hayley Turner can steer this one to victory.
Muhadathat and Flying Pursuit are vying for favouritism at the moment and of the two I feel Tim Easterby’s charge, who barely puts in a bad run, is likely to go close once again. I just hope that the O’Meara horse is worth taking a risk with.