Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire falling to slumber under a spacious sky. The air has been clogged, dirty and close through the passage of the day but as the sun fell, the air changed and a cleaner breeze came through.
Meeting a friend for drinks, I was introduced to a quirky little bar at the end of Gloucestershire airports runway. We sat and watched various small aircraft saunter in and out, to a lovely backdrop and the cooling air was pleasant.
Another week in Sheffield, the Major is drop dead tired. I do like that city though, full of mischief. As I fall to the weekend, you will forgive that I lack the appetite for a full sermon. What with the business , Ladbrook, ironic I know, taking a full toll on my energy, I can only get to run through the Ascot card.
I do like Shergar Cup day. I know it splices opinion but let’s be fair, it is not billed as top class racing, it is billed as fun. It is. I like the novel format and I must say, with no little surprise I add, that it has given me some decent days. I say surprise because with some great unknown quantities, it is not a day to be taking your punting too seriously. Still, to Ascot, to Shergar Cup day.
More than just financial though, do you recall the sheer vibrancy that the Canadian jockey, Emma Jayne Wilson who radiated enthusiasm in a way so far removed from the professional cold response from some of the European top jocks.
Ascot Shergar Cup Day Tips
I have to be on Double Up in the starter, the dash. The horse has a fine record sprinting and won’t mind the firm ground one little bit. Varian is in lovely touch and 11/4 is an honest enough price, even in a sprinting handicap as I fully expect the horse to be seen in the late summer group sprints. The others I considered were….Midlander but he has an engagement in the last race too which I suspect he will go to. My final challenger for the dreaded bold type was rank outsider Lightscameraaction, on whom I will have a 33/1 saver. He had some earlier promising form and while he has put in a couple of shockers, maybe gelding and a break will get his mind back on the job.
In the second, the Montjeu bred Hassle is market leader but try as I might, I don’t think Hayley has looked anything like close the dedicated jockey she was back in the day she was winning Group 1s on Dream Ahead. No, my money will rest on Castilo Del Diablo at 7/1, He has an unusual profile as his all-weather exploits might give you the impression he is a good to soft horse at best. I think he is versatile and this trip on good to firm will be fine. He is a hold up sort and has looked ungenuine when asked to lead so let’s hope that Graham Lee can deliver him to perfection.
I do like Innocent Touch in the 2.05pm but his honest efforts have him a tad exposed, yet Smullen is one of the jocks I would really trust here. Xinbama has improved but probably needs to step up again to take this. It is possible but Charlie Hills is not in the best touch and is no Ascot specialist either. No Thank you sir. Elbereth for me, Graham Lee again and I though his penultimate win from out of the handicap was a fine performance. Subsequently, his Old Newton Cup run was on the surface a bit disappointing but that was an odd run race and progress can resume. Healthy slice at 11/2.
In the 2.40, Halation with the aid of Jamie Spencer might put a good foot forward but it is not one to have maximum faith in. I am going to roll the dice a bit on Red Avenger at 12/1. Ed Dunlop could be in better form but the horse has some capability and while not certain to run his race, the price gives ample compensation.
For the third time I am tipping a Graham Lee ridden beast in the 3.15pm, where I think Mark Johstone’s Polarisation, may take all the beating. He has been running well and was unlucky at Goodwood, I feel certain he will be doing his best work at the end and would be shocked not to him place in a race where not that much else stands out. 13/2 in a spot.
I said I liked Midlander and I shall stick to my thoughts. 5/1.
If you close your eyes and strain your ears to the wind, you might hear the engines of the mothership. I saw Martin Hill in the week, he politely reminded me that I am trying to win him money!
The Martin Hill: Elbereth and Polarisation double.
May your dinner be taken in fine state, dripping in the most beautiful people that good money and a fine sense of humour might attract.
Courage, roll the dice.