It is an admirable concept, this Shergar Cup one, but it is a difficult one. A team competition landed on top of what is essentially an individual’s sport, in which team tactics are ordinarily not only frowned upon but actually outlawed, is always going to struggle to convince.

It is team by rider, of course, not by horse. The horses remain as individuals, as do the trainers, and even the owners, even though they have allowed their colours be traded for team colours. (Good luck to the commentators.) And there is a silver saddle for the top rider, so you could argue that the riders are riding as individuals on more than one level as well.

I suppose the main thing that makes the Shergar Cup difficult, however, is the fact that the horses participating therein are, by necessity, handicappers. Of course it could never happen, but if you had a team competition with Group 1 horses, different story. So as a novelty twist to a six-race day of handicaps that turns the spotlight on the jockeys, and which is promoted enthusiastically as a novelty event, it is worth an annual spin.

Of course, there will be six winners, and one of them might be Elnawin in the Dash. Richard Hannon’s gelding has been running really well of late on what has been probably unsuitably easy ground. He had to make the running on his latest appearance at Newmarket, which wasn’t ideal, yet he still went down by just a length to the talented Elusivity. You can easily forgive him his previous run in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes, as the ground was simply bottomless, and on his previous run he ran well for a long way, looking a likely winner a furlong and a half out, in a really hot sprint at Sandown, before fading inside the final 200 yards, going down by just a length and a half despite finishing sixth.

All those runs were on easy ground at least, he should be much happier back on this sounder surface today, and the handicapper has given him a big chance, dropping him 4lb to a mark of 105. Also, we know that he handles Ascot well. He recorded the joint second-highest Racing Post Rating of his career (and his highest, achieved over six furlongs on soft ground at Salisbury, has a dubious look to it) when he won a conditions race over today’s course and distance in May 2011. He didn’t race after June last year, his best run this year was on the only occasion on which he raced on fast ground, and conditions are right for him today.

On top of that, Frankie Dettori is a huge asset. Nobody rides Ascot as well as Dettori rides Ascot. He makes more of a difference on the round track, but even on the straight track he is dynamite. And Frankie is an even greater asset today, riding against some riders whose experience of Ascot is severely limited. Throw all of this into the mix, and odds of 7.0 about Elnawin are more than fair.

Zero Money is favourite, but he has nothing in hand of Taajub on their running here last month. On top of that, he has a new jockey. Not that Chantal Sutherland isn’t good, or good looking, but riding over a straight turf track with gradients is very different to what she is used to (riding around a left-handed flat track, usually on dirt). This will just be her second ride of the day, her first on the straight track, and, with just pounds and inches and split-second decisions separating these sprinters in the normal course of events, 6.0 is short enough about Roger Charlton’s horse.

Lui Rei and Steps were the other horses on my shortlist, but they were passed over at their respective odds because of track and ground respectively and, at similar odds, Elnawin is the bet for me.

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