The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is the highlight of racing today, with the great and good congregating at Ascot for a meeting that started as a bit of a joke in 1999 but has transmogrified into a highly competitive day’s racing.
Indeed, with a card comprising six ten-runner handicaps over varying distances this is a form reader’s dream – we only wish we had one.
Proceedings begin early with the Dash at 1.05 over the flying five and we go for one of Robert Cowell‘s 3 representatives in this with Encore D’Or, each way at 13-2.
4th in two big handicaps over this CD on its latest two runs, this 6-y-o is overdue a win and it could be today under 8-times German champion jock Andrasch Starke, about whom it was once said: “Who?”
The Stayers at 1.40 could contain one of the best bets of the day in the form of Cleonte, trained by Andrew Balding. This 5-y-o has (arguably) been unlucky not to have gone close in both the Ascot Stakes and the JLT Cup in its latest two runs and, with only nine others to get in the way today, let’s hope that Swedish champion Per-Anders Graberg can get the job done at 7-2.
The Challenge at 2.15 over 12 furlongs looks a good opportunity for Koeman to follow up his CD victory of two weeks ago, when beating two highly progressive 3-y-os. Just 4lbs higher, with no 3-y-os in attendance, Joao Moreira (aka The Magic Man) can justify his moniker. We recommend an each way bet at 5-1.
Also in ths race, with the defection of Reshoun, first reserve Theglasgowwarrior gets a run and is also worth an each way punt at 14-1 for the aforementioned Herr Starke.
The Mile at 2.50 gives another good opportunity for The Magic Man to strut his stuff aboard David Simcock‘s Bless Him, which is available to back 6-1.
This 4-y-o CD winner ran by far his best race (of 3) this season last time out when a closing third in a hot York handicap and looks ready to strike.
The Classic at 3.25 is for 3-y-os over 12 furlongs and we think this is between Sergio Leone and Bajan Gold. At 4-1 and 5-1 respectively, we may as well go for it and recommend a win bet on both.
The Sprint at 4.00 brings down the curtain and is probably the most difficult race on the card. We’re going to give an each way nod to Our Hayley, who is aboard the Nigel Tinkler trained Roundhay Park. With the stable cat completing a hat-trick earlier in the week, this Mayson gelding will be in rude health and is the each way value at 11-2.
There is betting on the Silver Saddle for the top rider and the winning team and we suggest a small investment on Joao Moreira at 12-1 and the International Team at 4-1.
On with the motley.
Encore D’Or 1.05 Ascot e/w @ 13-2
Cleonte 1.40 Ascot win @ 7-2
Koeman 2.15 Ascot e/w @ 5-1
Theglasgowwarrior 2.15 Ascot e/w @ 14-1
Bless Him 2.50 Ascot e/w @ 6-1
Sergio Leone 3.25 Ascot win @ 4-1
Bajan Gold 3.25 Ascot win @ 5-1
Roundhay Park 4.00 Ascot e/w @ 11-2
Joao Moreira Silver Saddle winner @ 12-1
International Team winner @ 4-1