French jockey Mickaelle Michel fulfils a career ambition when riding at Ascot this afternoon and she can make the occasion all the more memorable with victory on DREAM COMPOSER (Ascot, 3.45).
Michel, 26, was champion apprentice in France in 2018 and has since made her mark riding in Japan. That experience will stand her in good stead as she makes her debut as part of the female jockey team — successful in 2015 and 2018 — alongside Hayley Turner and Nicola Currie in the annual Shergar Cup team event.
Riders are awarded points for where they finish in races and Michel has a chance of a maximum haul on the improving Dream Composer. The three-year-old gelding has made big strides since joining trainer James Evans, winning impressively at Carlisle and Kempton before being an unlucky loser when fourth at Royal Ascot in the five-furlong Palace of Holyrood Handicap.
That day Dream Composer had to be switched a couple of times before getting a clear run and finishing with real purpose when fourth to Significantly. In a few more strides his head would have been in front.
It is a positive that Dream Composer is back at six furlongs and his ability to handle soft ground looks handy with rain figuring to varying degrees in the weather forecasts.
You don’t have to be a fan of Ken Bruce’s music quiz every weekday morning to have Popmaster on your shortlist for the Shergar Cup Sprint. He won easily on rain-softened ground at Doncaster last Saturday and is one of Dream Composer’s main threats.
There was also a more encouraging run from Royal Scimitar last time at Newmarket, and Shark Two One ran his best race of the season at Glorious Goodwood last week when third to Oo De Lally.
The jockey to follow on Shergar Cup day might turn out to be Kevin Stott, whose Scandinavian ancestry places him in the international team.
Stott has leading claims on TIS MARVELLOUS (Ascot, 12.50), who tries to repeat his 2018 win in the Shergar Cup Dash, and INDIANAPOLIS (Ascot, 1.25), a previous winner of the mile and a half handicap on this card. He goes in the Shergar Cup Stayers.
EUCHAN GLEN (Haydock, 4.10) can win the big race of the day, the Rose of Lancaster Stakes. The ground at the Merseyside track has already turned soft and the Jim Goldie-trained eight-year-old, who seems better than ever this season, is proven in conditions — unlike main rival Real World.
The testing ground he relishes, proven track form and a falling handicap mark make COLD STARE (Haydock, nap, 3.00) an attractive bet.