I’m at the start of a three-week stint in America at the moment, which begins with the Arlington Million XXXV Stakes and it looks as though it could be a good night in Chicago for Aidan O’Brien, who runs Deauville, last year’s third in the Million and Rain Goddess in the Beverly D Stakes.
No doubt though, you’ll be wanting to have the coffers full by the time you tune in and watch all the top-class action from America.
As such, lets kick off with a couple of Shergar Cup races at Ascot. I’ve always enjoyed this event and not only for its slightly different colour and style but, also, because unlike most Saturday handicaps, these races have a manageable number of runners, where good jockeyship can confer an enormous advantage.
Ascot – 1.05pm Shergar Cup Dash
I’m quite keen on the chances of Lexington Abbey who was a short head behind Pipers Notes here last time but had a troubled trip, coped with the ground and comes from a stable in fabulous form after a troubled start to the season.
It’s great to see Kevin Ryan’s horses running so well and this horse can gain a richly deserved success after a string of consistent efforts.
He acts on the track, he acts on the ground and Kevin McEvoy is definitely a plus in this event.
Ascot – 2.15pm – Shergar Cup Challenge Handicap Stakes
The other Shergar Cup runner I’d be keen to back at Ascot would be Gawdawpalin.
This horse has been gelded and it seems to have brought about a significant improvement on his win here over course and distance on King George weekend – he beat some pretty smart horses that day and I don’t think the strength of the opposition here is much to write home about.
Jamie Spencer takes over in the saddle and albeit it’s is quite a competitive edition of this race, I think this horse might have more to offer, so Gawdawpalin is my pick here.
Haydock – 2.30pm – Rose of Lancaster Stakes
It’s a strong card at Haydock, which is spearheaded by the Rose of Lancaster Stakes.
The horse I like here doesn’t have as an appealing or as unexposed a profile as some of those at a shorter price, but I do think he’ll handle the conditions very well, so feel Frankuus is worth a dart at big-ish odds here.
He has a confirmed liking for the track, is pretty tough and quite likes a little bit of juice under-foot.
I’m not sure the same comments apply to the favourite, Laraaib, who is yet to race on ground quite as soft as this, for all that he’s promising.
Autocratic was a good winner over a Group 3 at Sandown, but that run does rather stand out against his overall career profile and I need to be convinced he can do it again, especially on different ground.
Frankuus represents a solid option against the market here at a decent price of around 9/1.
Newmarket – 3.40pm – Sweet Solera Stakes
I like the Godolphin horse trained by Charlie Appleby here, Poetic Charm, who won what was a fairly strong Maiden at the July meeting. On pedigree she is a Dubawi, so could well handle slightly softer ground.
She’s not got the strongest form in the race at this stage, but sometimes with once raced maiden winners you have to take an impression of their performance, combine it with what was seen on the clock and then try and assess whether they can step up to a higher quality race.
On pedigree, and to a lesser extent, time, I think she’s up to this grade and I don’t think she’s a bad price at around 4/1.
13:05 SHERGAR CUP DASH – Lexington Abbey
14:15 SHERGAR CUP CHALLENGE HANDICAP STAKES – Gawdawpalin
14:30 ROSE OF LANCASTER STAKES – Frankuus
15:40 THE SWEET SOLERA STAKES – Poetic Charm
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.