Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot and Haydock on Saturday. View selections below.
SEASONED punters often give the Shergar Cup at Ascot a swerve, dismissing the international jockeys’ jamboree as a novelty meeting. But there is good reason to believe the strong GB and Ireland Team, comprising Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh and James Doyle, will be among the winners.
Fallon can get the roll rolling in the opening mile handicap courtesy of BOOM AND BUST (12.55). Marcus Tregoning kept his five-year-old under wraps in the early part of the season, preserving Boom And Bust’s handicap mark for a repeat Glorious Goodwood success. The plan went awry, however, when Boom And Bust endured a nightmare trip in the Betfred Mile, eventually running on into fourth behind winner Fulbright. He should be hard to beat from a plum inside draw.
Murtagh has drawn a couple of good mounts in MONTAFF (1.30) and ITTIRAD (3.15). Montaff goes in the two-mile stayers’ handicap for in-form trainer Mick Channon. The six-year-old doesn’t win too often but keeps good company, finishing sixth in the Northumberland Plate and yet again running into a progressive sort in Montaser here a fortnight ago.
Ittirad has form figures of 432 from three outings this season, his best run probably coming at Haydock when third to useful Number Theory. Firm ground would be a concern for Roger Varian’s gelding, but the course has been watered to maintain good going.
Mark Johnston is well represented in the Shergar Cup but I’m going to Haydock for the Middleham maestro’s best of the day, SIR GRAHAM WADE (2.20). Johnston’s faith in this lightly-raced three-year-old was repaid at Royal Ascot and Sir Graham Wade duly followed up at Pontefract in midweek. A 6lb penalty makes life tougher, especially against smart sorts Gospel Chief and Rosslyn Castle, but their presence will help ensure a lively betting market.
With Frankie Dettori on Shergar Cup duty, Silvestre de Sousa steps in for the ride on INVISIBLE HUNTER (3.25) at the Lancashire track. The Godolphin three-year-old has had only two career starts and moves into a handicap after scooting home in a Sandown maiden 16 days ago. His opening handicap mark of 95 looks stiff enough, but he could be a big improver.
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