Plenty of variety on offer for racing fans this week. Saturday sees one of the most unique events of the season take place at Ascot, whilst we have a Group race double bill on offer over in Ireland to whet the appetite on Sunday.
Up For The Cup At Ascot
It’s that time of year again when the Saturday racing offering serves up something just a little different. That’s right its Britain and Ireland vs Europe vs The Rest Of The World vs The Girls as Ascot lays on its always popular Shergar Cup competition. Points are awarded according to finishing positions, and points make prizes in this event, with the Shergar Cup going to the team who records the highest total across the days six contests.
The Rest Of The World team have the most wins in the competition to date, with six victories, and this year will have the assistance of “Magic Man”, João Moreira, who makes the journey over from Hong Kong.
Sprinters To Take Flight In Phoenix
The weekends big Group race action comes over in Ireland as the Curragh plays host to two excellent sprint contests on Sunday.
The Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes takes centre stage on a quality card. A number of the runners from the top juvenile contests at Royal Ascot are amongst the current entries for this two year old contest held over 6f. Martyn Meade’s Advertise in particular catches the eye following his impressive win in the July Stakes last time out, but he isn’t certain to take up this option.
The trends would suggest that this valuable prize – €250,000 in total prize money – will be remaining on home soil, with an Irish trainer having sent out the winner in each of the past twenty years, including Aidan O’Brien on a remarkable 16 occasions.15 of the 32 current entries hail from O’Brien’s Ballydoyle operation.
Held over the same 6f trip, the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes gives the older performers their chance to shine. Won last season by O’Brien’s Washington DC, it is his Fleet Review and Sioux Nation who are the joint top rated of the Irish contenders this year.
Palmer Master’s Stewards Rivals
Looking back at the weekends action, Saturday saw the culmination of yet another cracking Glorious Goodwood Festival, headlined by the giant betting heat that is the Stewards Cup.
Class came to the fore in what is one of the most competitive handicaps of the season as the prize went to the top weight, Gifted Master. A dual winner at both Group 3 and Listed level, he was saddled with 9st6lb here, but did have the assistance of one of the most capable 5lb claimers in the sport, Jason Watson, in the saddle.
In the end those 5lbs may well have made all the difference as the son of Kodiac got back up to master the runner up, Justanotherbottle. Growl finishing in third, to be placed in the race for the third year in succession.
Elsewhere on the card Charlie Appleby’s, Cross Counter, was the name being entered into many a horse tracker having posted a new track record when slamming Derby runner up Dee Ex Bee in the Gordon Stakes.