It's Shergar Cup day at Ascot and the Daily Mail's Sam Turner has all the best bets.
The presence of Silvestre De Sousa aboard UNION ROSE (Best price 5-1) increases confidence in the Ron Harris-trained speedster in a competitive opener. The selection was noted staying on tidily in a warm course and distance handicap last time and could be ready to strike with his yard among the winners in the past week.
SEA OF HEAVEN (Best price 11-4) and NOBLE SILK (Best price 8-1) were first and sixth in a course and distance handicap run here last month and that may prove a key form line. The former is progressive and won last time with a little left in the tank so there looks more to come from a horse which appears to be getting better with age and experience. Noble Silk didn’t get the clearest of passages when it mattered and he could narrow the gap today at a track he likes.
Andrew Balding often makes a point of identifying opportunities at this meeting and he won’t have needed to look far to find a race for course specialist DURETTO (Best price 6-1). His charge only failed by a length to defend his perfect record back in May and he hasn’t been disgraced on his last two outings even if beaten (lost a shoe on penultimate start at Epsom). He had previously won his two starts at the Berkshire track and could bounce back today.
GEORGE CINQ (Best price 7-2) will be popular with Martin Harley in the saddle and is worth supporting to register another course win even if his draw is less than ideal. Versatile trip wise, he was narrowly touched off in a strongly-run Thirsk handicap last Saturday and another bold run looks assured.
BANCNUANAHEIREANN (Best price 14-1) was third in this last year and has clearly been targeted at the race so is worth a small saver at a big price.
Strong stayer LORD YEATS (Best price 8-1) was narrowly beaten at Hamilton last time, but could be some value to atone for that narrow defeat. Trainer Jedd O’Keefe has his string in good form at present and the son of Yeats could follow in the footsteps of his illustrious father who loved the Berkshire venue. Real Dominion looks the chief danger as he has experience of the track courtesy of a runaway win here over course and distance a fortnight ago and he hails from a yard with a useful record at this meeting.
FLYING PURSUIT (Best price 4-1) has posted a series of excellent efforts in hot handicaps of late, not least when beaten three lengths by Dancing Star at Newmarket on his penultimate start. That form was boosted last weekend by the winner’s Stewards’ Cup victory and the selection has since run well again at Newmarket in a warm three-year-old handicap so rates a fair bet to beat likely favourite Muhadathat.
DANCE KING (Best price 11-2) and Tapis Libre look two of the more interesting propositions with narrow preference for the former who could well turn around the form of the duo’s running at Ripon earlier this season. The former would ideally like a strong gallop to run at, but he has shaped very well in two Class 2 handicap of late, including one here behind Tawdeea, and is worth chancing with Rachel Richardson on board. Tapis Libre was third at Ripon, two places ahead of Dance King, and goes well for today’s rider so is feared.
There should be a little pace on here with Scottish and Arab Spring keen to race prominently and the former will be tough to beat if in the same form as Newbury last time. A generous gallop should help FOUNDATION (Best price 11-4) settle in the first-time blinkers and he is taken to uphold his terrific form at the track. Events have not panned out how trainer John Gosden would have liked this season but the selection’s latest disappointment in France can probably be attributed to the soft ground he encountered that day and he is worth another chance with a solid Dante third still in the memory banks.
An intriguing event and a difficult one to assess with a number of unexposed fillies in opposition. Godolphin duo Easy Victory and Grecian Light both registering impressive course wins last month. Preference is for the former who has seen her form boosted a couple of times since and she looks as though she should improve again for the step up to seven furlongs. Although only winning a seemingly modest Pontefract maiden, BELLE MEADE (Best price 14-1) still posted a terrific time and, having seen out six furlongs well on a stiff track, today’s trip should provide no issues. She is worth a small play to overturn some sexier rivals.
Read Sam Turner's tips in the Daily Mail every day or at www.dailymail.co.uk/racing