…..we’re off to join the circus aka the Shergar Cup, which takes place at Ascot this afternoon, with all six races on dear old ITV.

Described by Our Hayley as the best day of her year (get a life, girl), four teams do battle in six handicaps for the eponymous trophy and we start with the Dash at 1.50.

Favourite at 7-2 is Braveheart‘s runner Desert Safari, which does appear to have the right credentials for this 5f sprint, having won off a higher mark at Goodwood as recently as May and has acquitted itself well at the highest level since. Add in that we get The Doyler up top and we think this is a bet to get us off to a good start.

At 1.25 is the Stayers Handicap, with a field of just nine after the defection of Hasanabad.

Favourite for this is Uber Cool at 5-2, after the 7-y-o returned from a mammoth break to take a Chester handicap at the end of May, but we think an each way bet on Indianapolis might be the way to go.

Ian Williams‘ 6-y-o is a previous course winner off 95 and has run really well without winning since joining this yard. Now able to run off 87 and with Kevin Stott taking the ride we should snap up the 4-1 on offer.

On to the Challenge Handicap at 2.00 which has Sam Cooke and Spanish Kiss vying for favouritism at 3-1.

Although the former is a worthy opponent, we plump for a win bet on Spanish Kiss, a fast improving 4-y-o, trained by Bill Knight.

Ran better than a finishing position of fifth suggests last time out (on this course) and before that had taken two handicaps in grand style. Trainer is thinking Ebor for his stable star and winning today will help get it into that race so we should have a win bet.

The Mile Handicap at 2.35 has an open look about it, but we are sweet on the chances of Ouzo, which can bounce back to its best form under Andrea Adzeni.

Richard Hannon‘s 4-y-o was unlucky only to finish 4th of 30 in the Royal Hunt Cup on this course in June and has everything in its favour today. Have an each way bet at 5-1.

The Classic Handicap at 3.10 is up next and we go for The Doyler again to do the business aboard Star Caliber, despite the ignorant spelling.

Andrew Balding‘s horse is a real trier and has put in two sterling efforts since handicapping, finishing second both times over longer trips. Today’s 12 furlongs may do the trick – go each way at 9-2.

And finally we get the Sprint at 3.45, in which we like the prospects of Cairn Gorm at a juicy 10-1.

Mick Channon‘s colt was a Group 3 winner as a 2-y-o and has shown enough in 3 tough assignments this season to prove he has trained on. A mark of 99 may not be beyond his capabilities and we again rely on Kevin Stott.

Have a fair each way bash, please.

That’s it – we’re off to see of we won Gold in the Tiddlywinks.


Desert Safari 12.50 Ascot 2pts win @ 7-2

Indianapolis 1.25 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 4-1 (4 places Skybet/Betfair)

Spanish Kiss 2.00 Ascot 2pts win @ 3-1

Ouzo 2.35 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 5-1 (4 places Hills/Betfair)

Star Caliber 3.10 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places Skybet)

Cairn Gorm 3.45 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (4 places Hills/Skybet/Betfair/Paddy)

* “Goodbye Cruel World” by James Darren (1961)

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