Weekend Tips

Mendip Express

3rd October 2018

A massive weekend of sport is soon upon us- the return of the Premier League will take centre stage but there is a massive day of racing at Ascot that you should be keeping an eye on…

This unique fixture in global racing sees the world’s top jockeys come together to compete for the points to lift flat-racing’s ultimate prize. For those not interested in the racing (why not?) there is entertainment which is every bit appealing with a post-event concert on the Old Paddocks Lawn which will feature global stars Rita Ora, Example and DJ Scott Mills. So, a little bit of something for everyone.

So, how does it work?

Each team has three stellar international riders. Every jockey is guaranteed five rides for their team. The teams are divided into: Europe, Great Britain & Ireland, The Girls & Rest of the World.

The Girls and Rest of the World teams for 2018 have now been announced, with Yutaka Take leading RoW and Josie Gordon the Girls. While, Joao Morriera and Corey Brown take up the Rest of the World team.

Great Britain & Ireland and Europe have also now been announced, and the two teams will be captained by Fran Berry and Gerald Mosse respectively. The British team will also have Pat Cosgrave and Adam Kirby in the saddle.

This is British racings only event like this and makes for a special day. The Silver Saddle, an award for the rider amassing the most points on the day, adds to the competitive nature of the event pitting team members against each other for individual honors.

Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin, said: “We have enjoyed playing a part in the continued growth of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, which is now recognised as one of most popular events in the British racing calendar.”

The Cup is Ascot’s best attended race day outside of the Royal Meeting in June and attracts crowds in excess of 30,000. But, as is the case with every race-day, who would be the top-picks if you’re looking to pocket some winnings over the weekend. Here are a couple of picks.

Gracious John

The first pick of the day would be for Gracious John. The Terry Reffell owned horse has been unfortunate in its latest outings getting crowded out as it came fifth last time out at Ascot while coming third in its two runs prior to that at Newmarket and Haydock respectively.

However, it started the season very strongly by comprehensively beating heavy favorites Orvar at Newbury in April. Prior to this it romped home at a meeting in Lincoln against another heavy favourite and highly-thought-of horse in the form of Encore D’Or.

Gracious John is the one to beat in the opening race and would represent a good price also.


Next up is the Mick Channon trained horse Koeman and likely to rode in the day by the excellent Joao Moreira. It has an indifferent record but should it like the ground it would stand a great chance at success and would more than likely be at a longer price than other runners in the race.

It has had terrible luck with injuries with both its 2017 and 2016 seasons cut short. The 2017 season coming after two solid wins at Lincoln and Kempton. It has shown glimpses of that form again this term with narrow second placed finishes at Ascot in May and Ayr a month later. Furthermore, it romped home at a price of 10/1 in its last run in July, again at Ascot. Koeman has certainly taken a liking to the track, the omens are good.


Another Mick Channon horse concludes the list but this time it’s the Irish Jazeel, who will be rode by Swede Per-Anders Graberg on the big day. This is a very good horse when it’s on its day, last year was certainly the year in which it peaked winning two out of its five runs. Those two wins coming at Kempton Park and Lincoln.

This season however, Jazeel struggled massively at the beginning of the season, coming within the bottom three of all three of its rides. Something has certainly clicked in the last two months, with three third placed finishes at Yarmouth, Goodwood and Sandown. Last time out, it stormed to victory at Sandown and will be backed to repeat that feat once again over the Ascot weekend.

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