Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
|Saturday 9th August 2014|
If you don’t like the Shergar Cup, it is congestion personified
All the razzamatazz of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, the team competition which has resulted in 12 riders from across the globe converging on Ascot, kicks off a low-key but action-packed weekend of racing.
Initial betting saw the Great Britain and Ireland team made favourite, yet Australian jockey Craig Williams and Frankie Dettori seem to have a tremendous book of rides, which would detract from the scoring of rival teams.
If the Shergar Cup isn’t for you, don’t grumble, there is plenty to keep you occupied with Ayr, Haydock, Kilbeggan, Lingfield, Newmarket and Redcar. More than enough, it’s actually congestion personified.
Ascot will no doubt be bursting with enthusiastic attendees, not only ready for the racing but the concert afterwards when the course will be rocking.
The team colours divert attention from the identity of the actual runners. Yet once you get past that minor detail there is the realisation here are six quality races.
The likes of Viewpoint, MagicCity, Swan Song all have appeal, yet different jockeys bring out varying characteristics from unfamiliar rides.
Craig Williams enjoyed much success on his last long visit to these shores, so he is at least accustomed to the intricacies of Ascot, as is Olivier Peslier, who is a Royal Ascot regular.
Both jockeys’ experience will prove invaluable to their team members.
A silver saddle is reward for the rider who collects the largest amount of points, and to me that could be between Frankie Dettori and Craig Williams.
Frankie the crowd pleaser and showman is due a good day at the Shergar Cup and 2014 could be it.
Other racecourses and perhaps other sports beckon for me over the next few days; pre-season has started in the NFL but the raft of week one games are played on Sunday with surely the biggest game the replay of February’s Superbowl between Denver v Seattle.
The pair are first and second favourites to win the Superbowl and they meet in week three of the regular season.
I’ll give my thoughts on this season over the next few Saturdays once the final teams are named and injuries are known.
Next week the fifth and final Test at the Oval is where I’ll be headed, with the full knowledge that next year the Kiwis are coming. There is the small matter of the Ashes, too.
Goodwood provided a solid Glorious meeting last week,
What was disappointing, however, was the scarce availability of each-way terms of a quarter the odds in the handicaps which fielded 16 to 21 runners.
This will have those of us who attend meetings retreating to our phones and tablets, or even betting before we get through the turnstile.
In addition to that minor observation, there seems to be no build-up to the big races. There is the constant stream of racecourse PA, whether used throughout the day for general chitchat or informative, important announcements, but couldn’t have such a facility be diverted and used with a fanfare to introduce Kingman, Toronado, Outstrip and Darwin in the Sussex Stakes? It was the same with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month. We need to list the horses’ achievements, the prize-money they have collected, the riders, the trainer’s achievements – it all helps to introduce the sport.
It would in my opinion give the race further grandeur, too. The commentator does a great job but needs some assistance during the parade, perhaps the best performance played out on the big screen..
I’m part through the Goodwood tapes, spooling through the races and the horses to follow next time for your NagMe accounts so far are of Viewpoint, Amarillo, Anjaal, Continuum, Ray Ward, Windshear, Darwin, Highland Reel and Room Key. I’m about to spool through the last three days later today.
I see there could be an increase in all-weather fixtures next year. There is a hope from this quarter if that is the case that more people are encouraged to come through the turnstile, more robust on-course betting rings and of course races with an average field size of at least eight runners.
Don’t get me wrong, the problem of field sizes is just as much aligned to turf as it is to all-weather but increasing the number of races does not suddenly mean there are enough horses to fill them.
Tanya Stevenson's Saturday tips:
12.55 Ascot: Swan Song at 11-2 with Coral
3.15 Ascot: Mr Gallivanter at 12-1 with BetVictor
Tanya Stevenson's Saturday pointers:
The Rest Of The World have won the Shergar Cup on five occasions, Europe three, Ireland three and finally GB & Ireland twice.
Shergar Cup Stayers:
Eight of the last nine winners came from the first three in the betting. Six of them were favourites.
Mark Johnston’s last 15 runners have all been beaten, yet Yes Mr President 2009, Mceldowney 2006 and Double Obsession in 2004 all finished second!
Shergar Cup Challenge:
There have been only two winning favourites
Seven of the last nine winners were aged four.
All nine winners came from stall five or higher.
Shergar Cup Mile:
Eight of the last nine winners came from the first three in the betting.
The last nine winners of the were aged either four or five.
The favourite has obliged in the last six runnings.
Adam Kirby and Charlie Appleby have teamed up for a 46% strike rate in 2014. They combine with Efflorescence.
Godolphin has owned the last five winners of the Sweet Solera.
In the last decade Maids Causeway is the longest price winner of the Sweet Solera at 5-1
Seven of the last ten winners came from the first three in the betting
Six of the last eight winners had run at Sandown on Coral-Eclipse day – Amralah, Educate and True Story
Eight of the last nine winners of 2.20 Haydock came from the first four in the betting
Eight of the last nine winners of 2.20 Haydock were no older than four, with five of them being three-year-olds