IT’S that time of year for my annual rant about the Shergar Cup at Ascot which is billed as the ultimate jockeys’ teams competition.
The saving grace for the fixture is the crowd which with over 28,000 people packed into the Berkshire track on Saturday probably meant a tidy profit for the course. Organisers also tell us that it is great for the game as a lot of the people attending are youngsters who will become enthusiasts in coming years.
If that’s true, then brilliant, but I remain unconvinced.
I was not alone as I watched a couple of races in one of our shops and in one of them even the course commentator called the wrong horse home in second. I’m not surprised and I certainly wouldn’t criticise him because I think the current colour scheme is a mess.
I’m far from convinced that young people are going to fall in love with our great sport if they can’t even tell which horse is which and wouldn’t it be a better idea for horses to sport their usual owner’s colours and wear a hat in a colour representing each team?
I enjoyed a great day at The Curragh on Sunday as my mammy’s Slade Power landed the Irish Autism Action Phoenix Sprint Stakes by a length and a half from English raider Hamza in the second fastest course time over six furlongs.
We’re going to see how he comes out of the race before making any plans.
This week the domestic action isn’t up with the best but I’m looking forward to seeing An Saighdiur bid to follow up on his recent Tipperary win in the Mourne Handicap over six furlongs at Dundalk on Sunday.
That latest win came over five furlongs but I think he is equally effective over this trip and it was a nice performance at Tipperary as although the ground was described as yielding (good in the straight), it was as quick as he would like so he did well to win.
My selection is a bit of a star at Dundalk having won there four times already and trainer Andy Slattery has the ultra-competitive Ayr Gold Cup as the long-term plan.
York’s superb Ebor Meeting kicks off next Wednesday and I rather like the look of Trading Leather at a current 4-1 for the opening day’s Juddmonte International.
Sure I know that he was dismissed by Novellist last time in the King George at Ascot but I really do think that the winner must be a machine to be able to do that to the selection over a mile and a half.
Trading Leather certainly didn’t let the Irish Derby form down and he still managed to hold off Hillstar into third position and Sir Michael Stoute must think an awful lot of that one as he supplemented him into that race at a cost of £75,000.
The Premier League swings back into action on Saturday and while I would normally concentrate on this top tier, with no form to go on, I’m going to have a look at the Championship instead.
I’m surprised that we make Brighton favourites to win at Birmingham on Saturday and I’m taking the home team to win at 7-4.
Birmingham lost their opening-day game 1-0 at home to Watford but that match could have had a different outcome as the Blues squandered quite a few opportunities. They won at the weekend while Brighton have lost their first two.
Saturday - 3pm Birmingham to beat Brighton; Sunday - Dundalk 3.10pm An Saighdiur; Wednesday - August 21, York 3.40pm Trading Leather