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From Ascot to Arlington: Shergar Cup kicks off classy Saturday of global action

The overseas riders in the Shergar Cup
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has rolled into town once again

It's back. It's multi-national, it attracts plenty who are not normally keen on sport and its arrival annoyed some traditional fans – no, it's not the Premier League, it's the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.

From Bournemouth to Burnley and West Ham to Watford, some of the best footballers in the world will be kicking off the 2019-20 campaign on Saturday.

But you won't need to move away from Ascot to see a dozen top jockeys do battle in a unique team format the course labels 'racing reimagined' and is a competition that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Get to know the five international riders taking part in this year's Shergar Cup

King George day it is not. But the chance to see high-achievers from Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, the UAE plus Britain and Ireland contesting a series of six competitive £60,000 handicaps – each worth £15,000 more than last year – does not come every day.

If some of the huge crowd are attracted by the fairground rides or Jessie J in concert, the hope remains that Shergar Cup day could be a gateway drug – lure them in, get them hooked and this time next year they may want the hard stuff of sectional times and striding data.

There is plenty on offer away from Ascot on Saturday, with ITV4 fitting four 'proper races' into its afternoon schedule.

Kieran Shoemark bids for his biggest victory since returning from a six-month drugs ban on impressive debut winner Ultra Violet in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.

Kieran Shoemark: failing a drugs test allowed me to tackle my addiction

Frankie Dettori and course specialist Richard Kingscote go head-to-head as Wissahickon takes on Addeybb in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock, so don't let nobody tell you that all the good jockeys are at Ascot!

Nor are all the top music acts: you can enjoy a trackside performance by Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist Frank Catalano, though you'll have to go to Arlington Park to hear him.

Saturday cards and betting

Saturday night's racing in the suburbs of Chicago is pretty decent as well, with American star Bricks And Mortar – winner of the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf – bidding for a sixth straight success in the Arlington Million.

Four European runners include John Smith's Cup winner Pivoine, whose trainer Andrew Balding is in for a long day. The race is due off at 12.12am UK time, 11 hours and seven minutes after stablemate Stone Of Destiny tackles the Shergar Cup opener.

John Smith's Cup winner Pivoine has an even bigger prize in his sights this time
John Smith's Cup winner Pivoine has an even bigger prize in his sights this timeCredit: John Grossick (

Wonder women up for the cup

It has been quite a summer for the girls at Ascot – and not just thanks to wondermare Enable's stirring victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last month.

The £150,000 handicap on that card underlined the strength in depth in the women's weighing room, with Nicola Currie, Hollie Doyle and Hayley Turner taking three of the first four places.

Raising Sand - Nicola Currie wins from Kaeso - Hollie DoyleThe Moet & Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Handicap)Ascot 27.7.19©mark
Nicola Currie on Raising Sand (far side) gets the better of Hollie Doyle on Kaeso in the Moet & Chandon International StakesCredit: Mark Cranham

A month earlier Turner had become the first female jockey to ride a winner at Royal Ascot for 32 years when landing the Sandringham Stakes on Thanks Be.

And on Saturday she captains the returning champions at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, joined by Jamie Kah, who has ridden nearly 800 winners in Australia, and Nanako Fujita, Japan's most successful woman jockey.

Turner is much the highest points scorer in Shergar Cup history and on a day when revelry and enjoyment in the stands is almost as big a draw as the racing she would be a fitting winner of the finale on progressive sprinter Pass The Vino.

Haydock has the Frankie factor

Last time at Ascot Frankie Dettori was the star of the show – a fortnight on, he is not even on the stage.

Enable's jockey has taken part in ten Shergar Cups but he has only been at three in the last decade and this Saturday racing's biggest box office draw will be at Haydock for just one ride.

That said, it is a decent one as he is reunited with Wissahickon on whom he has won big Saturday prizes in the Cambridgeshire and Winter Derby in the last ten months.

View the result and replay of Enable's pulsating battle with Crystal Ocean in this year's King George at Ascot

The pair last teamed up on Good Friday, which didn't live up to its name as the partnership were beaten at odds-on in the Easter Classic on All-Weather Championships day at Lingfield.

But that was just a third defeat in 11 starts for the four-year-old and, though he has yet to prove himself on ground this soft, he does not look one to oppose lightly in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes – one of the few British Pattern races Dettori has yet to win.

Armchair guide: today on ITV4

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash, 5f

Wokingham third Danzeno looks as good as ever at the age of eight but similarly rejuvenated Pontefract winner Corinthia Knight is half his age.

1.40 Ascot
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers, 2m

Billy Ray returned to form when second at Newbury but Ian Williams' record in this race suggests that Blue Laureate will be primed for a big run.

1.55 Haydock
Vulcan Village Handicap (London Mile Series Qualifier), 5f
Among seven last-time-out winners Scofflaw is on a four-timer, carrying a 5lb penalty for his latest success at Chester last Sunday.

2.15 Ascot
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge, 1m4f

Mandarin is on a hat-trick after wins at Windsor and Newmarket but Badenscoth has won four of his last six.

2.30 Haydock
Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Dick Hern Stakes, 1m

William Haggas aims to take this for the third time in the last six runnings with unbeaten four-year-old Miss O Connor.

2.50 Ascot
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile, 1m

Three-time Salisbury winner Power Of Darkness takes on six-time Ayr winner Nicholas T, with both coming into the race on the back of career-best efforts.

3.05 Haydock
Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes, 1m2½f

A wet forecast caused Addeybb, who scored in the mud at Royal Ascot, to supplant Lingfield Group 3 winner Wissahickon, who has not raced on turf since landing last year's Cambridgeshire, as ante-post favourite.

3.25 Ascot
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic, 1m4f

Vivid Diamond, second here on King George day, heads a three-strong team for Mark Johnston in a race the trainer has won twice since 2010.

3.45 Newmarket
Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes, 7f

In a field of lightly-raced maiden or novice winners, eight-length debut scorer Ultra Violet and Listed runner-up Light Blush look to have the best chance of scoring.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint, 6f

York runner-up Victory Day is still on the up, as is Pass The Vino who has improved markedly since being gelded last winner, posting two wins and a second from three runs this season.

For the freshest betting advice, based on latest going and market conditions, don't miss the Live Tipster every afternoon. Just click Raceday Live at or the mobile app

David CarrReporter

Published on 9 August 2019inPreviews

Last updated 19:02, 9 August 2019