“How can people moan about it? It’s a fun day, it attracts a non-racing audience, it’s good prize money, they’re good-quality horses… But people are always going to grumbl… Racing’s like that.” Says Hayley Turner in a recent interview with The Gurdian.
You can think of the Shergar Cup what you want – personalty have no stark opinion on – I don’t mind it, but wouldn’t be an enthusiastic fan either. Though I like the fact that the event usually brings together a variety of jockeys from all over the world competing against each other. So I’m quite excited to see top class South African rider Gavin Lerena in action at Ascot today, actually.
Now, it’s a huge day for racing, not only because of the Shergar Cup. Plenty is going on, and that needs time to properly assess. I’ll update this post throughout the day with thoughts on later races, just so I keep up with the time schedule of Ascot starting quite early.
2.05 Newmarket: Wuheida @ 2/1 Ladbrokes
Extremely well bred debutant from a yard with brilliant strike with their two year olds this year, especially at Newmarket. This son of Dubawi is very much thought to be good enough to win one or two races. This race looks good, but he should be simply too talented.
3.15 Newmarket: Easy Victory @ 5/2 Bet365
The name is programme? Very possible. Easy Victory scored readily on debut for Saeed Bin Suroor over course and distance in similar conditions and she looks open to a significant amount of improvement for that experience as well as the step up in trip today.
1.15 Ascot: Out Do @ 6/1 Ladbrokes
Fine on this ground and clearly in good nick; ran with plenty of credit in King’s Stand Stakes and is one pound higher than his last Handicap win. Interestingly horses that finished 2nd in their most recent start have a very positive record in this particular race.
1.45 Ascot: Notarised @ 11/2 Coral
Tough assignment to over come given his weight however he loves fast ground and gets the trip. He’s also in good nick and has regular rider Joe Fanning on board who rides Ascot over two miles extremely well.
Ascot: 2.55: George Cinq @ 7/2 Ladbrokes
In outstanding form the last weeks and months and with Martin Harley a good Ascot jockey on board. George Cinq is a course and distance winner as well, who enjoys fast ground and who looks more likely to feature strongly in the finish here than most others.
Ascot 3.30: Lord Yeats @ 10/1 Ladbrokes
Clear negative to have Ikezoke on board but nonetheless this son of Yeats done pretty well with this season, where broke his maiden tag and followed up with an agonisingly close runner-up effort lto. 12f at Ascot should suit perfectly, as lon as he acts on quick ground.
Haydock 3.10: Muffri’ha @ 25/1 Ladbrokes
Totally speculative and solely based on excellent jockey and trainer stats. The filly hasn’t shown anything in any of her recent starts to suggest she has form to go close, albeit, when she was in form, once upon the time, she looked talented.
William Haggas though knows what it takes to win Stakes races at Haydock, given a 32% strike rate here at this course in these type of contests. Even better, with jockey Ben Curtis on his horses in stakes races Haggas enjoys a 35.7% strike rate. So to bring the horse here with this jockey in the saddle looks significant.
8.10 Ayr: Forcefull @ 3/1 Betfred
Irish trainer Adrian Keatley is back at his happy hunting ground in Ayr, where he won 11 races with his last 27 starters. He brings winless filly Forecull over, however she ran with credit the last two times and off her new mark this looks a perfect opportunity to open her account.