The Shergar Cup has been cancelled for 2020 but there is a competitive card from Ascot this afternoon with four races live on ITV4.
Chil Chil (1.50) was no match for Motagally at Bath on her reappearance but the winner is a most progressive sprinter on fast ground and I feel Andrew Balding’s filly can improve for her seasonal debut and go one better in the 6f handicap. The selection – 5s from 13/2 with William Hill – won three of her last four starts last season and her Bath run suggested that the handicapper might not yet have caught up with her. Oisin Murphy was in the plate for two of those three successes and the champion jockey takes over in the saddle this afternoon.
Both Jallad and Wild Hope (2.25) returned to winning ways in first-time cheek-pieces last time and I hope to see the latter maintain his improvement in the mile handicap. Kevin Ryan also changed tactics with his four-year-old holding him up at Doncaster last time before producing him fast and late. Josephine Gordon takes over in the saddle this afternoon with the gelding carrying just 8st 3lbs. The ew selection is 10/1 at bet365.
Australis (3.00) must transfer his recent tapeta improvement onto turf, and he is 6lbs higher today than when second in the Northumberland Plate last time, but he gets a confident vote in the 2m handicap. Roger Varian’s progressive stayer – 9/4 with William Hill – was beaten from marks in the 70s the last time he raced on turf and must run from 92 today, but he meets largely exposed rivals and should have little problem adjusting to life back on grass. Kaloor looks the main danger having stayed on strongly over 1m 6f at Sandown last time, but I really feel this is Australis’s race to lose.
I am not convinced a draw in stall 1 is ideal for Fly Miss Helen (3.20) in the Group 3 Sweet Solara Stakes at Newmarket. Richard Hannon spoke very highly of his daughter of Le Havre after she made a winning debut over 6f at Newbury on debut suggesting she was already crying out for an additional furlong. The filly is 6/4 with Boylesports.
Harrovian is better than he showed at York last time in the John Smith’s Cup and it would be no surprise if he bounced back in the 10f handicap but Emissary (5.20) is taken to put behind a moderate showing in the Derby when he only beat one home having been slowly away and then too keen in his first time cheek-pieces. Trainer Hugo Palmer dispenses with the headgear today and his neck second to Khalifa Sat in the listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood suggests he could be well treated from his current mark. The colt is 11/4 at William Hill.
Coltrane (5.40) is bred to appreciate today’s step up in trip and hit the line well when winning his maiden at Chepstow over 1m 4f last time. He is the only 3-y-old in the field and is open to significant improvement after just three career starts.
In the BetVictor Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock I hope to see Global Giant make it three out of four since moving to John Gosden. The selection was a comfortable winner of a listed contest at Newbury last time and this would not be the strongest race for the grade. Zaaki looked a non-stayer in the corresponding race two years ago but he is the highest rated horse in the race and rates the chief threat in what could easily turn into a tactical affair with no guaranteed front-runners in the field. The selection is Evens with the sponsors and William Hill although I feel he will drift slightly on the day.
At Uttoxeter I am looking forward to seeing Enemy Coast Ahead (4.30) step up in trip as he bids to give a stone and more to his eight rivals in the opening novice hurdle. Olly Murphy has not saddled a winner for over a fortnight after a blistering start to the new jumps campaign but Enemy Coast Ahead is a smart performer who should be equally as effective over the additional half a mile.
On Sunday Duke Of Hazzard (3.25) is taken to land the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury for Paul & Oli Cole. The 4-year-old stays further than this 7f, but Marie’s Diamond looks sure to make it a true test and the selection finished runner up to Space Blues in the Lennox Stakes last time at Glorious Goodwood.