Saturday Racing Tips: Follow the girls all the way on Shergar Cup day
Thanks TC! When asking if I’d be able to keep his Saturday tipping column ticking over while he was on holiday, Tony somehow forgot to mention that I’d have the Shergar Cup – quite possibly the least favourite meeting of the flat season for regular punters – and a Pro-Am lady riders race at Haydock to mull over. With friends like Calvin, who needs enemies? But less of the moaning, and the early excuses, let’s get straight to the televised action from the Shergar Cup at Ascot where Channel 4 bosses have decided – much to my delight – to show all six races (the first two on More 4).
Dutch can Master his Dash rivalsFor all my jest, the afternoon commences with the very competitive Shergar Cup Dash at 13:15 in which I’m very sweet on the chances of last year’s runner-up Dutch Masterpiece. Back him at [9.0] or bigger. Gary Moore’s six-year-old went down by just a nose 12 months ago, yet despite winning a course and distance Listed race since is able to race off the same mark here (98) thanks in large to some seemingly unpromising efforts of late. But rewind to Goodwood just 10 days ago and those of you with eagle eyes will have spotted Dutch Masterpiece travelling really well two furlongs out before being repeatedly denied a clear run when looking to have plenty to offer. James McDonald accepted defeat inside the final furlong and eased down considerably, being beat just under six lengths at the line. That run was extremely encouraging with Saturday’s race in mind as it suggested that Dutch Masterpiece could potentially be back to his best, and it’s worth remembering that he was rated a 107 animal just four runs ago. All of his last four wins have come on Saturday’s official going description of Good ground, though he won’t mind if it rides a little faster, and the Moore stable was back amongst the winners in midweek with a Wednesday double at Bath and Brighton. And we haven’t even mentioned that the excellent Josephine Gordon – making her Shergar Cup debut – takes the ride on Saturday and is able to take off a valuable 3lb.
In-form yards to do battle in StayersSo with the nap already landed in the Dash we quickly move on to the Shergar Cup Stayers at 13:45 where the girls can strike another blow courtesy of Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard Haines. The first thing to point out is that the Sir Mark Prescott-trained jolly Sea Of Heaven will take all the beating here but I’m not prepared to take a short price about a horse ridden by a jockey – Kenichi Ikezoe – who I know very little about other than his association with Orfevre. But granted, the Prescott yard could win with the stable cat at present – though not before finishing down the field in a trio of feline maidens over an inadequate trip first – such has been their form of late. If Sea Of Heaven wins then so be it, but I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Haines from an equally in-form stable. Andrew Balding‘s five-year-old put up a career best effort when just denied in the Northumberland Plate consolation race six weeks ago, and he would be a huge player if able to translate that form to turf. However this will be Haines’ 10th race on grass and he has previously only once been placed, so perhaps a watching brief is the best course of action.