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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Your essential guide with punting pointers and key quotes for all six races

1 of 5

The Shergar Cup is a unique racing event in which teams of jockeys compete in a series of races. They are subsequently awarded points based on their finishing positions

1.05 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash | 5f | 4yo+ | ITV/RUK

Key points

>> Sprint master Robert Cowell is triple-handed in the opening contest, a race he landed in 2010, 2014 and 2015. There does not look much between his trio of Sir Robert Cheval, Encore D'Or and Evergate, however on Friday the market was favouring the latter, who will be ridden by Adam Kirby.

>> Along with Cowell's Evergate, who was beaten only half a length over course and distance last time, Great Britain & Ireland look well represented, with captain Pat Cosgrave riding likely favourite El Astronaute and Fran Berry aboard Gracious John.

Key quotes

Robert Cowell, trainer of Sir Robert Cheval, Encore D'Or and Evergate
Evergate was a good second the other day; he was beaten by one of his stablemates but ran a decent race. He loves this course and distance so that holds no problems. Sir Robert Cheval is another who likes Ascot, he's got some good form figures and was second in this race last year when just touched off in the dying strides. This has always been the plan for him and he comes here in good shape. Encore D'Or is another who has run at Ascot a few times, he seems to like the track and will handle the conditions. He's another straightforward horse with a good chance.

Emma Evans, assistant and wife of David Evans, trainer of Gracious John
It's five furlongs and it will suit him down to the ground. He's better off in the weights than the race he ran in last time and he's got a jockey on him [Fran Berry] who knows him very well. Hopefully he should run a great race.

Team on top?

This looks a crucial race for the home team with two of the market leaders carrying the green and black colours of Great Britain & Ireland. The European's team’s hopes could hinge on Encore D'Or, while the Girls have three solid each-way chances. With only two runners, both at double-figure prices on Friday, this doesn’t look a race in which Rest of the World hold the strongest hand. 

1.40 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers | 2m | 4yo+ | ITV/RUK

Key points

>> In a contest that has served trainer Ian Williams well in recent years, Byron Flyer leads his two-runner raid. Beaten a neck in this race last season, the seven-year-old is the mount of Hayley Turner. Stars Over The Sea, also a useful hurdler, is the other representing Williams.

>> Since joining Andrew Balding from Andre Fabre, Cleonte has not been able to reproduce his French Listed winning form, but he is a good ride to pick up for Shergar Cup debutant Per-Anders Graberg. Jukebox Jive and Lord George look other likely sorts for Great Britain & Ireland.

Key quotes

James Fanshawe, trainer of Lord George
He'll like the two miles but won't want too much rain. He's going there in good form and I hope he can run a good race.

Andrew Balding, trainer of Cleonte
Cleonte has been solid this year and goes there with a strong chance.

John Mackie, trainer of Fire Jet
She's in good form and has come out of her last race really well. It's a very competitive race, but she's been competing in every bit as strong a race, if not stronger. Two miles on a stiff track might test her stamina, but she races very relaxed so I'd hope she'll get the trip. I'm very pleased to have Josephine [Gordon] riding her; she's actually ridden her full-brother at Newmarket before.

Team on top?

Similar to the opener, the Girls and Great Britain & Ireland teams appear to hold the best cards. Byron Flyer and Fire Jet have very strong form claims for Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon. The European team's hopes may again rest with just one the runner, Cleonte, while the Rest of the World have two double-figure-priced chances, as in the opener.

2.15 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge | 1m4f | 4yo+| ITV/RUK

Key points

>> Great Britain and Ireland captain Fran Berry won this contest last year on Great Hall and could repeat that success with recent course winner Machine Learner. The Joseph Tuite-trained five-year-old is up 5lb in the weights but there could be plenty more to come from him.

Fran Berry: Bidding to retain the silver saddle on Shergar Cup day

>> The mile and a half contest looks a key race for the Rest of the World team, whose three runners were in the top five in the betting on Friday. Majeed (Yutake Take) are Koeman (Joao Moreira) were both encouraging winners last time, while Corey Brown's mount Humble Hero looks a contender on his recent placed efforts.

Key quotes

Andrew Balding, trainer of Twin Star
Twin Star has done well for us this year and has a solid each-way chance in a tight race.

Joseph Tuite, trainer of Machine Learner
He's in great form and we're very pleased with him. It's a competitive little race, but it's a great day's racing to be involved with and it's always a fun day at Ascot and we're going there very hopeful. I'm pleased with my jockey draw, he's [Fran Berry] ridden him before and in his work, and there's no language barrier either. 

Mick Channon, trainer of Koeman
Koeman is in great form and we're hopeful we can follow up. He always runs well at Ascot so we're very hopeful.

Michael Bell, trainer of Maori Bob
He's a consistent sort who looks the ideal type for this type of race. He goes on any ground and should be on the premises again.

Team on top?

In contrast to the first two races, Rest of the World look in with a great chance here. Great Britain & Ireland and the Girls have chances, but the Europeans could struggle to make their presence felt.

2.50 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile | 1m | 4yo+| ITV/RUK

Key points

>> Not many horses in this country receive the assistance of Japanese icon Yutaka Take but the Richard Hannon-trained Medahim, a Goodwood winner last time, provides the rider with one of his best chances of the day.

>> Bless Him won the Britannia Handicap at the royal meeting last year and has a decent opportunity to bounce back after three defeats this year under Take's team-mate Joao Moreira. For the Girls, Hayley Turner looks to have strong chance on the consistent Via Serendipity.

Yutake Take: One of the best Japanese jockeys in history returns to Ascot for his eighth Shergar Cup appearence

Key quotes

Michael Bell, trainer of Fire Brigade
He's not long back from a wind op and has a nice chance, especially if they get some rain.

Stuart Williams, trainer of Via Serendipity
I'm very happy with him, he's in good form and he's run well at Ascot before, albeit on the straight track. I'm very hopeful for a good run.

Team on top?

This race looks very open and the outcome could go a long way to determining the winner of the competition. The Rest of the World appear to have an advantage with Bless Him and Medahim coming into the race with good profiles, although Fire Brigade, for the European team, and Via Serendipity, for the Girls, should put up a fight.

3.25 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic | 1m4f | 3yo | ITV/RUK

Key points

>> When Andrasch Starke found out he would ride the Ian Williams-trained Gossip Column he must have been delighted. The progressive three-year-old has won three of his last four starts and could add to his tally in this open-looking handicap.

Gossip Column (centre) has won four from his last six starts

>> Starke's European team-mates also look to be in with a shout, with Gerald Mosse riding Bayshore Freeway and Per-Anders Graberg recent Sandown winner Jazeel.

>> The Richard Hannon-trained Sergio Leone has solid claims on the form of his recent second place efforts at Newbury and Goodwood, whilst Bajan Gold filled the same spot over course and distance last time.

Key quotes

Mick Channon, trainer of Jazeel
He won well last time and now we're stepping him up in trip. I think he'll be okay with it so he should go well.

Stuart Williams, trainer of Bajan Gold
He ran very well at Ascot two Saturdays ago. He's going there in good form and I'm hopeful for a good run.

Team on top?

Team Europe look to have their best chance of the afternoon in the form of the progressive Gossip Column, but that may not be sufficient to snatch the overall prize. Europe could also need big efforts from Jazeel and Bayshore Freedom. Their rival teams all have two runners; Sergio Leone and Bajan Gold stand out.

4.00 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint | 6f | 3yo | ITV/RUK

Key points

>> Shaheen, who normally sports the silver silks of Al Shaqab, carries the green and black of Great Britain & Ireland and is the mount of Fran Berry. He has been in brilliant form this year, finishing in the top two in his last five outings, winning three. A winner at Windsor on Monday, he looks a great ride for the team captain.

Clive Cox: Hoping Snazzy Jazzy can return to winning ways in Ascot's finale

>> Snazzy Jazzy was unbeaten at the start of the year following a win in Ireland's leading sales race as a juvenile. Although beaten in two starts in 2018, he could be an interesting contender under Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and Shergar Cup debutant Corey Brown.

>> The Richard Hughes-trained George Of Hearts looks of interest back over a sprint trip. He's finished midfield in big handicaps over a mile on his last two starts.

Key quotes

Nigel Tinkler, trainer of Roundhay Park
He seems very well and I think the track will suit him. We've been lucky to get Hayley Turner on board, I think she'll suit the horse.

Mick Channon, trainer of Helvetian
I think he'll run well, he seems in good form and has been running well. We'd be very hopeful.

Team on top?

If in the shake-up Great Britain & Ireland will go into the final race confident of victory over their rival teams, with all three runners appearing to hold fair chances. Shaheen looks progressive and could be their main hope. George Of Hearts, for Europe, and the Girls' Roundhay Park should give them something to think about.

James Stevens' team tip

The Shergar Cup looks wide open but the European team could represent good value at 11-4. The likes of Encore D'Or (1.40), Cleonte (2.15), Fire Brigade (2.50), Gossip Column (3.25) and George Of Hearts (4.00) provide them with a strong spine of runners.

James Stevens' Silver Saddle selection

Fran Berry, available on Friday at 9-2, could claim the prize for a second successive year. He's got four Shergar Cup victories to his name and with mounts like Gracious John (1.05), Machine Learner (2.15) and Shaheen (4.00) may well add to that tally.

The format

The six races are limited to ten runners with either two or three horses racing for each team (this balances itself out over the course of the afternoon).

Points are awarded on a 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 basis to the first five horses home (non-runners score 4 points).

Subject to full fields, each jockey has five rides. This is to ensure that in the event of an injury, there is a spare jockey on each team who can assume mounts. The team with the highest total after the sixth race lifts the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.

The jockey amassing the most individual points will take home an additional £3,000 plus the Alistair Haggis ‘Silver Saddle’ trophy.

All six races are handicaps and all will be run with identical prize money – £45,000 per race.

There are two reserves per race, who can be utilised up to 45 minutes before each contest is run. 

Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on


It's a great day's racing to be involved with and it's always a fun day at Ascot and we're going there very hopeful

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