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Ascot Saturday tips – best bets for the Shergar Cup races

We've a tip for each of the six Shergar Cup races at Ascot on Saturday

Our racing expert has run the rule over the six Shergar Cup races, all of which are being shown live on ITV.

1:05 5f Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
Mirza is respected on his second to Battaash in a Group 3 last time and this is a more realistic level, but he prefers faster ground these days and, besides, may struggle to give 8lb to LEXINGTON ABBEY. Kevin Ryan’s charge has been in grand form since returning to action in late June and while he’s yet to win away from Nottingham, he ran a highly respectable fourth in a hot sprint handicap over track and trip last time. Now 1lb lower and with Kerrin McEvoy up, he must go close for a stable that is absolutely flying with 15 winners on the board in the last fortnight. All of which makes Coral’s 11/2 look very appealing.

2:50 1m (7f213y) (Rnd) Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile (Handicap) (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-100)
There are question marks over the three market principles: Swashbuckle may be best going left-handed, winning hurdler Byron Flyer takes a fair bit of driving and the short straight is against him, while Graceland has a career-high mark to overcome and his Japanese rider lacks experience of the track. In which case, it could be worth giving ANGEL GABRIAL a whirl at Ladbrokes’ 9/1. Granted he hasn’t won since landing the 2014 Northumberland Plate, but he’s been knocking on the door of late off a mark 20lb lower than his peak and it could open back at a track he has won at previously. The presence of Umberto Rispoli in the saddle might put some off, but a new jockey can often revitalise these older horses.

2:15 1m4f (1m3f211y) Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge (Handicap) (Class 3) (4yo+ 0-95)
Niblawi is the early favourite and it’s easy to see why as he was only beaten a length by an unexposed three-year-old in a course and distance contest on soft ground last time. However, the handicapper has harshly raised him to a 5lb higher mark than when last successful, and I’d much rather be on the hat-trick seeking MUKHAYYAM at the 6/1 on offer at Coral. He too is going upwards in the weights after class 2 wins at York and Ripon, but he was rated higher than his current 94 in his juvenile days with Sir Michael Stoute and, now back to his best for Tim Easterby, he looks sure to make a bold bid under Hayley Turner.

2:50 1m (7f213y) (Rnd) Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile (Handicap) (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-100)
Not many of these arrive in peak form and several may struggle to cope with the prevailing soft ground. One exception is last Sunday’s Chester winner Breakable and he should make a bold bid to follow up under a 3lb penalty. That said, this is still more competitive than the race he won on the Roodee and given that he’s no bigger than 3/1 at the time of writing, I’d rather be on BRIGLIADORO at a standout 13/2 with Hills. He needs forgiving a disappointing effort in the Silver Bunbury Cup last time, when his low draw may have been partly to blame, and is best judged on neck seconds on his two previous starts. The first of those came in a class 2 at Newbury on soft ground and a reproduction of that form here would see him go close. The one negative is that his jockey, South African Anthony Delpech, lacks experience of the track, but I’ll take my chance at the price.

3:25 1m4f (1m3f211y) Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic (Handicap) (Class 3) (3yo 0-95)
Andrew Balding’s Contango is chasing a four-timer and he could easily be good enough despite a 10lb rise for his latest win in a three-runner affair at Newmarket. But odds of 5/2 don’t really excite and I’d rather take a punt on GLENYS THE MENACE at a double-figure price John Best’s filly has been in cracking form this summer with back-to-back wins at Newmarket and Chester, and she lost little in defeat when going down by half a length to Time Chaser at Sandown on Wednesday evening. The winner, who is at least Listed class, was made to work hard for her victory and it’s clear the selection is still improving. She is able to run off the same mark here and the extra two furlongs of this contest won’t go amiss either as she has already proved her effectiveness at up to 1m4f this term. At 12/1 with Paddy Power, she has to be worth a small each-way interest.

4:00 6f Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo 0-100)
Bookmakers just prefer the chances of John Gosden’s Nobly Born, who has gone close in a couple of 6f handicaps this term, the form of which have been boosted. However, he seemed to get worried out of it close home at Newmarket last time and the suspicion is that this work in progress might need a little more time to fully strengthen up fully. I’m therefore going to take him in with the obvious alternative, Kevin Ryan’s LUALIWA, who arrives in excellent form having not run a bad race all season He was winning for the third time from five starts when making all at York last time and while all three victories have come over 7f, I doubt this stiff 6f will halt his progress. Indeed, connections said after after he won at Chester last month that he was a horse who breaks well and loves to be up with the pace. In which case, his jockey Anthony Delpech might just need to bounce out and point him in the right direction. Take Ladbrokes’ 7/2.


Ascot 1.05, Lexington Abbey @ 11/2 Coral
Ascot 1.40, Angel Gabriel @ 9/1 Ladbrokes
Ascot 2.15, Mukhayyam @ 6/1 Coral
Ascot 2.50, Brigliadoro @ 13/2 Hills
Ascot 3.25, Glenys The Menace each-way @ 12/1 Paddy Power
Ascot 4.00, Lualiwa @ 7/2 Ladbrokes

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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