Shergar Cup Preview – Saturday 11th August
Last updated: August 10, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The Shergar Cup takes place at Ascot on Saturday with leading jockeys representing teams from the GB & Ireland, Europe, Rest of the World and a Girls team.
The current format is for six handicap races over a variety of distances, with the jockey’s mounts determined by a draw. The meeting begins with the five furlong Dash followed by the Shergar Cup Stayers over two miles. The mile and a half Challenge precedes the Shergar Cup Mile and the Shergar Cup Classic for three-year-olds over the Derby distance. The six-furlong Sprint is the final event with jockeys receiving points for their time judged on their placings in each race.
The winning team and individual champion are named after the final race. GB and Ireland won the title last year for the first time since 2006. They were captained by Jamie Spencer on both occasions. Europe won the trophy in 2013 and 2014 before Emma-Jayne Wilson led the Girls team to a famous victory in 2015. Silvestre de Sousa captained the successful Rest of the World team in 2016.
2018 Shergar Cup teams
Girls: Josephine Gordon, Hayley Turner, Hollie Doyle
Europe: Gerald Mosse, Andrasch Starke, Per-Anders Graberg
Great Britain & Ireland: Fran Berry, Adam Kirby, Pat Cosgrave
Rest of the World: Yutaka Take, Corey Brown, Joao Moreira
Gerald Mosse was a late replacement for Frankie Dettori who has riding commitments for John Gosden at Newmarket. Mosse is no stranger to the event having been the leading rider as captain of the successful European team in 2008 and 2013.
Shergar Cup Race Previews
The tough and consistent El Astronaute (Pat Cosgrave) will have plenty of supporters in the opening Dash. John Quinn’s chestnut has not finished worse than fourth in eight competitive handicap sprints this season. His only victory came at York in May but he is only 3lbs higher in the weights. Robert Cowell supplies three of the ten runners with Sir Robert Cheval, Encore D’Or and Evergate. Encore D’Or (Andrasch Starke) is probably his best chance, a consistent performer at this level. Tis Marvellous ran well below form in the Stewards’ Cup last week and it is a surprise to see him back in action so soon.
The Stayers Cup looks wide open with Ian Williams saddling three runners. Five lengths Compiegne winner Saunter really needs soft ground to show his best form. Byron Flyer (Hayley Turner) was fancied in this race a year ago when narrowly beaten by Euchen Glen. His recent form is less encouraging. Cleonte (Per-Anders Graberg) ran well in a valuable race at Newbury last month and could be the one to be on.
Machine Learner (Fran Berry) missed some tempting engagements at Goodwood last week and could start favourite for the Challenge. Joseph Tuite’s five-year-old beat White Desert over a mile and three-quarters here last month. Mick Channon has his team in fine form and he has another course winner in Koeman (Joao Moreira), a neck winner over Bajan Gold and now 4lbs higher in the handicap.
The Shergar Cup Mile looks wide open with Richard Hannon’s Medahim (Yutaka Take) topping the weights. He put up a brave effort to win over seven furlongs at Goodwood last week. Ryan Moore rode him on that occasion and had to rally the horse after it had been struck by the whip of a rival jockey. He faces a 5lbs rise in the weights and may have most to fear from Via Serendipity (Hayley Turner). He has been running well in some very competitive handicaps, notably when fourth to Burnt Sugar here in the International Stakes.
Ian Williams supplies another leading candidate in the Classic with Gossip Column (Andrasch Starke). The son of Arcano carries a 3lbs penalty for his victory over Berkshire Royal at Chester on Sunday. He made all the running that day and similar tactics are likely to be adopted here. John Gosden’s Corelli (Hollie Doyle) looked an exciting prospect in the spring but has not raced since finishing a remote third in the Lingfield Derby Trial in May.
Snazzy Jazzy (Corey Brown) tops the weights in the closing Shergar Cup Sprint. He was a decent two-year-old but has shown nothing in two races this season. Shaheen (Fran Berry) won at Windsor this week and makes a quick reappearance for John Quinn. He should go well under a 3lbs penalty.
1.05 El Astronaute @5-1 Boylesports
1.40 Cleonte @4-1
2.15 Machine Learner @9-2
2.50 Via Serendipity @6-1
3.25 Gossip Column @4-1
4.00 Shaheen @7-2
The Shergar Cup begins at 1.05pm on Saturday 11th August. ITV4 will be televising all six races live, culminating in the Shergar Cup Sprint at 4.00.