IT’S Shergar Cup weekend and — though it’s not everyone’s cup of tea — I’ve long been a big fan of it.
Racing as a team sport can be a difficult sell, as we’ve seen with the Racing League, but as a one-off I think it works really well and the prize-money is superb.
You’re going to have some of the best jockeys in the world riding at Ascot today — I mean, Joao Moreira is an absolute wizard.
For all I enjoy it, and it’s a great day out for punters, I think it could do with shaking up.
I’d love to see a British and Irish Lions type scenario, where our jockeys face a different travelling party each summer.
One year it could be a head-to-head versus the Aussies, then it could be the Americans, and you can rotate the opponent each year to keep it fresh.
As it stands, you can’t have a rooting interest. The only people that care about the teams are the jockeys.
That would change very quickly if our boys and girls were taking on a raiding party of Aussies, I’m sure!
You’d have to structure it in a way where every team has an apprentice jockey and there is an even split of males and females, but I think it would help give the meeting a little extra oomph.
Before I head down the road to Ascot we are having an important gallops morning at Park House.
York’s very valuable Ebor Festival is on the horizon and we have a strong team to send up to the Knavesmire.
The potential York squad will be put through their paces this morning and that will give us an idea of who will be on the team bus and who will be staying at home.
Chaldean won’t be among them, but he returned to the stable a week ago after his mid-season break at Juddmonte’s stud up near Newmarket.
I think a few weeks out in the paddock chewing grass and chilling out did him the world of good, as he had been on the go for a long time.
He looks fantastic and he has been cantering away the last few days, and the team seem very happy with him.
The plan is to run him in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket next month, which should put him spot-on for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day in October.
We dropped him back to seven in the Prix Jean Prat when his performance was too bad to be true.
Nothing ever came to light and I don’t think the trip was to blame that day, but I am certain now that he is an out-and-out miler, so we won’t tinker with the distance again.
I reckon there will be a lot of tinkering between now and the end of the month at Southampton, though.
James Ward-Prowse was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch when we beat Sheffield Wednesday last week, so it’s not surprising that West Ham have swooped for him.
It’s gutting, but we were never going to keep a player of that quality in the Championship.
Talking of the transfer window, I’m dipping my toe into the world of Dream Team for the first time this year — hopefully I’m more Pep Guardiola than Nathan Jones!
We have lots of runners at Ascot, but I think our best chance of a winner might be at Newmarket.
The very exciting filly SEE THE FIRE (1.55) makes her debut, and she’s been showing plenty at home.
She is bred to be very good with her dad Sea The Stars and mum Arabian Queen — both winners of the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
If she takes after her mum and dad then we will be in for a fun couple of years! We’re hoping for a big run.
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who: