herald

Thursday 18 October 2018

Machine can be a Learner for team captain Fran Berry

Fire Brigade (striped cap) can land the odds at Ascot
Fire Brigade (striped cap) can land the odds at Ascot

The Shergar Cup fixture reminds us of the Galway Races a touch - not the best racing in the world for a big fixture but a bit of fun and a great day out.

When we're in the business of picking winners, however, the class of the race doesn't matter too much and MACHINE LEARNER (2.15, Ascot) can get us on the board this afternoon.

Fran Berry skippers the Great Britain and Ireland team and he can lead by example here on this Sir Percy five-year-old, who impressed when scoring last time here at Ascot.

That was over two furlongs further and he fairly ground things out in the end, but he did show an impressive turn of foot to get to the front at the quarter-mile pole.

He also has winning form over today's distance and should have enough to go in again.

In the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile FIRE BRIGADE (2.50, ASCOT) can get back to winning ways after what was an unlucky run at Newcastle last time.

He was left with absolutely nowhere to go when looking for a run up the rail then, caught in traffic and wasn't given a hard time of things from then.

Before that run he was an excellent second at Haydock, before which he had wind surgery, and he could still be dangerously handicapped off 97.

In the opener, a chance is taken that FOOLAAD (1.05, ASCOT) can bounce back to his all-weather form of earlier in the season and at least make the frame.

He won four times at Southwell in the winter and backed those wins up at Pontefract in April when scoring off a mark of 97.

He has fairly struggled since but has come back down the weights and could easily get competitive from a rating of 98 with the massively talented Josephine Gordon in the plate.

Later, SERGIO LEONE (3.25, ASCOT) has massive claims in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic with Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Corey Brown doing the steering.

grinding

Stepping up to a mile and a half for this should be right up his street after a couple of runner-up efforts recently.

Three starts back, he won over a mile when grinding things out late and has been very competitive over further.

He goes up again in distance here and that can hopefully eke out more improvement.

Finally, SHAHEEN (4.00, ASCOT) can round off the day for Berry with a win in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint.

He's up 3lbs for winning at Windsor on Monday but should be a able to cope with that fairly handy.

Ascot

1.05 Foolaad (ew)

1.40 Lord George

2.15 Machine Learner 2.50 Fire Brigade

3.25 Sergio Leone 4.00 Shaheen

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