Stevens to strike in Shergar Cup

 

Racing Correspondent

While some purists remain reliably condescending, the Shergar Cup has earned a legitimate niche in the racing summer.

A team competition between international riders can engage a different audience, never a bad thing in a fairly arcane sport; and it usefully relieves the domestic drought between Goodwood and York. Trainers and owners, moreover, are happy to trade control over their choice of rider for the chance to contest very good prize-money in handicaps confined to just 10 runners. And what kind of purist, anyway, could join the family throng at Ascot today and fail to be excited by the chance to watch the American Gary Stevens ride again?

It was a privilege, once, to see the great man devote a few months of his prime to riding full-time in this country; and it is a sweet bonus, now, to be granted this fleeting postscript, as a result of his comeback from a seven-year retirement. During his stint as stable jockey to Sir Michael Stoute in 1999, Stevens required no time to adjust to an alien racing environment before he was outwitting indigenous rivals. That innate flair for reading pace and position has plainly not deserted one who hypnotised his juniors to win the Preakness Stakes in June – for Wayne Lukas, another Hall of Fame practitioner himself assumed by many to be over the hill.

Among those measuring themselves against an old master today, meanwhile, is a remarkable compatriot. Rosie Napravnik has broken into the elite in their homeland and heads a trio of female riders against teams representing Great Britain & Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World.

But it is Stevens who can get his men off to a flying start. Though below form from a poor draw last time, Roserrow (12.55) had previously been flourishing for a trainer, Andrew Balding, who has regularly targeted this race.

Broxbourne’s recent improvement gives the New Zealander Lisa Allpress obvious prospects in the other early race, screened on More4. But her mount was off the bridle some way out at Goodwood last week, over a longer distance, and this contest may not be strongly run. Preference is duly for Mutual Regard (1.30), with the  seasoned assistance of Gerald Mossé, after he resumed his progress in cheekpieces last time.

Steps and Racy (2.05) have both looked ready to strike in top sprint handicaps of late, the latter underlining his improvement for his new stable when fourth in the Stewards’ Cup last Saturday. He is better still at this shorter trip.

Broughton, one of five runners for Mark Johnston in the next, would  appear to give Stevens strong prospects after his success at Goodwood. But this trip has seemed to stretch his stamina and a chance is taken that Royal Skies (2.40) can bounce back under Mossé after disappointing at the same meeting. Another from the stable who can contribute to the Europe cause is Star Lahib (3.15), unbeaten at this trip, while Napravnik’s best chance of  making it “ladies first” is Noble Deed (3.50) in the last.

Channel 4 also takes in the Group race from Haydock, the Rose of Lancaster Stakes, where the exciting Telescope (2.55) has been found an ideal introduction to older horses, and Newmarket.

The race of the weekend is at Deauville tomorrow, when Intello, Moonlight Cloud and the tireless Dawn Approach make the Prix Jacques le Marois closer to race of the season; War Command will, meanwhile, be attempting to elaborate his claims as the  summer’s top juvenile over at the Curragh in the Phoenix Stakes.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Dare To Achieve (5.05 Haydock)

Next Best

Al Guwair (8.15 Lingfield)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PPC Executive - Manchester City Centre

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This forward-thinking agency wo...

Recruitment Genius: Artwork Design Apprenticeship

£7200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Artwork Design Apprenticeship is avail...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web design and digital age...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor