The Shergar Cup is a unique event in the world of horse racing as the meeting at Ascot in the UK attracts the best jockeys from across the globe in a team competition. The latest renewal was won by Great Britain and Ireland in what was another fantastic celebration of the sport’s leading riders.
GBI ended the meeting on 86 points and were led by former British Champion Jockey Jamie Spencer who has had a solid season so far. The year could get better for the 37-year-old as he will be on board one of the fancied runners for the final British Classics of 2017 next when month when he rides Raheen House who is 10/1 in the horse racing betting for the Doncaster contest.
Spencer was alongside Neil Callan and Fran Berry as they won three of the six races at Ascot. The GBI captain got his team off to the perfect start when he rode Stake Acclaim to success in the opening race of the card. Berry then caused a surprise in the Shergar Cup Challenge when 12/1 shot Great Hall landed the spoils, while the trophy was secured in the Shergar Cup Sprint as Berry came home in front with Golden Apollo.
Berry’s double meant that he claimed the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle Trophy which is an award given to the jockey which accumulated the most points on the day. It is the second time in the Irishman’s career that he has ended the Shergar Cup meeting as the most valuable jockey as he also lifted the prize in 2010 when Ireland had their own team.
The Rest of the World finished the 2017 competition as the second placed team with 67 points as they failed to retain the trophy they won in 2016 at Ascot. South African Anthony Delpech rode their only winner of the day with Glenys The Menace in the Shergar Cup Classic. The team led by Australian Kerrin McEvoy were consistent in the placings though as they kept the pressure on the hosts throughout the afternoon at the Berkshire-racecourse.
McEvoy, who used to ride in the UK for Godolphin, also had Japanese rider Keita Tosaki in his team. After success in the penultimate race on the card, the Rest of the World needed to take maximum points in the final contest, the Shergar Cup Sprint, but the best they could do was second place as Lualiwa with Delpech on his back chased home the winner Golden Apollo.
Europe ended the day in third place with 64 points as captain Adrie De Vries was unable to lead his side to success in a competition they have done so well in before with four wins. They did though finish ahead of the Girls who had a disappointing afternoon with just 23 points. The fourth placed team were a dealt blow on the eve of the competition as former Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne was forced to miss the event through illness. Hollie Doyle filled her place alongside Emma-Jayne Wilson and Hayley Turner.
Organisers are already planning for the 2018 meeting where they hope the annual team competition can continue to grow in popularity among the world’s leading jockeys and spectators.