Buckle up – there’s TEN live ITV races on Saturday! It’s the Shergar Cup from Ascot, we’ve a Curragh Group 1, a Group 3 from HQ, and two Betfred-sponsored crackers from Haydock Park.

Here’s exactly what’s on offer, for Saturday August 12th 2023.


1.35 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash – 5f

2.10 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers – 2m

2.45 Shergar Cup Challenge – 1m 4f

3.20 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile – 1m

3.55 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic – 1m 4f

4.30 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint – 6f

Haydock Park

2.25 Betfred Play Fred’s £5 Million Handicap – 1m

3.00 Betfred Rose of Lancaster (Group 3) – 1m 2f


3.40 Sweet Solera Stakes (Group 3) – 7f

The Curragh

4.40 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) 6f


  • Ascot 1.35 – Existent each-way @ 11/2
  • Ascot 2.10 – The Very Man each-way @ 6/1
  • Haydock Park 2.25 – Kathab each-way @ 6/1
  • Ascot 2.45 – Scampi @ 7/2
  • Haydock Park 3.00 – Midnight Mile @ 11/2
  • Ascot 3.20 – Escobar each-way @ 6/1
  • Newmarket 3.40 – Fallen Angel @ 3/1
  • Ascot 3.55 – Regal Empire each-way @ 13/2
  • Ascot 4.30 – Washington Heights @ 9/2
  • The Curragh 4.40 – Porta Fortuna @ 11/4

Ascot 1.35 – Existent each-way @ 11/2

Trained by the shrewd Stuart Williams and ridden by the brilliant Tom Marquand, fresh from his triumphs at Goodwood. Aboard an experienced 5-yr-old gelding here, in fine form this term. Highly creditable efforts in Group company, but slightly lower down the scale the handicapper has looked in control of late.

However – a useful drop of 2lb on Saturday, he gets the in-form Marquand for the first time, and should be absolutely ok with some cut in the ground. His outstanding sire Kingman relished most surfaces – and as we’re paying 4 places each-way let’s do just that at the lovely e/w price of around 11/2.

He’s extremely likely to run his race, and that could very well be good enough.

Ascot 2.10 – The Very Man each-way @ 6/1

Two great ladies combine here – trainer Jessie Harrington and jockey Hollie Doyle. Experienced stayer who ran a blinder at the Galway Festival to finish a close second to course specialist Teed Up, staying on powerfully.

This is an ultra-versatile gelding who switches between codes, and is interestingly a son of the top-class US-bred miler Jeremy. Who’d have though we’d see him at the Cheltenham Festival, Punchestown, and over staying trips on the flat!

Another race with great place terms – first five – so each-way is again the way I’m going.

Haydock Park 2.25 – Kathab each-way @ 6/1

Jim Crowley is aboard for Shadwell, and this one is trained by William Haggas. Three-yr-old son of the prolific Kingman is unproven on softer than good, but that breeding offers plenty of hope that it won’t be an issue.

Sauntered home in a Ripon maiden 33 days ago after running well in far hotter contests at HQ, York, and Sandown. On debut he finished 3l second to Passenger, who went on to be third in the Dante.

Ripon was nothing less than was expected – and with the cracking racing weight of 8st 13lb he looks primed to run a huge race to me, back in more exalted company.

We’re paying four places each-way, so that will do nicely, thank you.

Ascot 2.45 – Scampi @ 7/2

Another gifted lady pilot – this time Saffie Osborne – takes the ride here on Andrew Balding’s 5-yr-old gelding Scampi. Funnily enough Hayley Turner has ridden him on plenty of occasions in the past, and courtesy of the draw for mounts Hayley is aboard Nolton Cross in this.

Anyway – I’m sure she’ll give Saffie the low-down for the girls’ team on this one, who’s been in excellent competitive form in this class of late. Just getting to grips with this career-high handicap mark I feel, but has been keeping very tasty company especially the last twice, at York and Haydock.

It’s on the Haydock run I really fancy him for Saturday – narrowly beaten at this trip in the Old Newton Cup, and has the likelihood of soft ground here which won’t bother him but might inconvenience some others. Great chance in my book.

Haydock Park 3.00 – Midnight Mile @ 11/2

A cracking Group 3 worth £40k to the winner. My selection is stepping up from Listed company after an easy win for a similar purse at York last time. Housed in the powerful Richard Fahey stable, and ridden by Oisin Orr. Ran poorly in the Ribblesdale at the Royal meeting (probably didn’t stay), but creditably in the Musidora on the Knavesmire.

Gets a nice chunk of weight from the older brigade as the only 3-yr-old filly and can make that count on Saturday. Midnight Mile is by sprinter No Nay Never, so it’s another little breeding quirk that here we are, contemplating 10+f success, fingers crossed!

Ascot 3.20 – Escobar each-way @ 6/1

Ah, Saffie again, for the girls’ team. David O’Meara trains, and this one has been keeping excellent company lately without being able to land a blow. He’s been dropped 5lb for this, and can hopefully exploit the handicapper’s leniency.

We’re paying 4 places each-way, so that’s once again the recommendation. It’s not the strongest Class 2 in my opinion, and this experienced campaigner can give us a run for our money – watch out for a late bid for glory.

Newmarket 3.40 – Fallen Angel @ 3/1

A Group 3 seven-furlong test for juvenile fillies. Only run twice – an impressive Haydock debut, then a running-on 2nd in a Listed contest at Sandown. Just pipped Soprano there, officially the best-rated in this field, and who re-opposes on Saturday.

Karl Burke has a tremendous record with juveniles, and this one has some fancy entries going forward. HQ’s stiff finish could be right up her street, and sire Too Darn Hot took the Dewhurst here back in 2018.

This is a cracking heat and could provide lots of clues concerning the late-summer/autumn contests to come.

Ascot 3.55 – Regal Empire each-way @ 13/2

Another from the girls’ team (Hayley, Saffie, Hollie) – I’d better back them to be the top outfit on the day (3/1 ).

Once again we’re paying an extra place – four- so each-way is the sensible option. Also, we’ve the likelihood of soft ground, riders from all over the world, riding horses they don’t know – e/w is definitely the smart move.

Regal Empire ran really well in a very valuable Yarmouth handicap last time and reappears swiftly here with chances. Hollie Doyle is doing the steering this time, and though the contest is ultra-competitive, I’m hoping that the in-form colt can run well for us.

Ascot 4.30 – Washington Heights @ 9/2

The concluding Shergar Cup race, and my selection is a 3-yr-old gelding trained by Kevin Ryan in North Yorkshire, and ridden by Hollie Doyle. Competes regularly in this class, and in May got to within 2+l of Shaquille no less, the July Cup hero.

Two runs back was only beaten a head in a York £50k to the winner affair, and has performed creditably with cut. A success is deserved, and overdue.

The Curragh 4.40 – Porta Fortuna @ 11/4

Red-hot Group 1 sprint over in Ireland. Small but select field, and two stand out as being of immediate interest.

Bucanero Fuerte and Unquestionable met here at the Curragh just over a month ago, and the former prevailed by a short-head. A level-weights shoot-out, and they meet again on Saturday on the same terms. However – I’m going for one to beat them both.

Porta Fortuna is trained by Donnacha O’Brien, and Oisin Murphy takes the ride. The filly won the Albany at the Royal meeting, and gets a useful 3lb from the aforementioned colts. The Albany form looks rock solid, and I’m very hopeful that ‘Fortuna’ can take the step up on Saturday.

Have a brilliant afternoon’s sport.


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