It’s Shergar Cup Day at Ascot this Saturday, where teams of international jockeys take on each other and earn points for the number of winners and placed horses they ride, with an outright winner emerging at the end of the afternoon.
While it’s fascinating, all-action racing fare, I’ve never got too excited about the showcase as a serious betting proposition as there are too many unknowns, including jockeys being balloted for the horses they ride in each race – and at the time of writing I haven’t a clue!
However, for potential interest I’ll suggest Nicky Henderson’s Earth Amber in the Stayers Handicap at 1.30, Richard Hannon’s Magic City in the mile race at 2.40, and the William Haggas-trained Satellite in the 1m 4f contest for three-year-olds at 3.15, though there’s no guarantee these will even make the line-up.
I’ll therefore make the selections from the main afternoon meetings at Haydock, Newmarket and Redcar.
At the Lancashire track, the highlight is a Group Three Stakes race over the extended 1m 2f at 2.55, in which I expect Sir Michael Stoute’s Hillstar to put up a bold showing if honouring the entry, while Ed Dunlop’s Amazing Maria looks interesting if going to post in the one-mile Listed race at 3.25. The stable is beginning to hit form.
At Newmarket, there’s a Group Three 7f race for two-year-old fillies at 3.35, in which Mark Johnston’s recent Goodwood second Enlace would be popular if taking her place in the line-up. If not, David Elsworth’s Arabian Queen looks promising.
On the north-east coast at Redcar, there are two £10,000 races, including a one-mile handicap over the straight mile at 3.20, in which Michael Dods’ Hakuna Matata holds a squeak under 3lb claimer Connor Beasley, especially if handed a favoured middle to high draw.
Looking ahead to racing in Yorkshire next week, there’s a seven-race evening card at Thirsk on Monday, while it’s Ladies' Day at Beverly on Wednesday afternoon, with an afternoon fixture also the following day.
SATURDAY’S SELECTIONS: 2.55 Haydock – Hillstar, 3.20 Redcar - Hakuna Matata, 3.25 Haydock – Amazing Maria, 3.35 Newmarket – Enlace (Arabian Queen)