Great Britain & Ireland win at Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup took this place this weekend on August 6 at Ascot Racecourse, with the Great Britain and Ireland team trotting away with a home win with 132 points.
The Ladies, captained by the competition’s all-time most successful rider Hayley Turner, put down an early marker when Joanna Mason took the opener aboard the William Haggas-trained Amanzoe with a ride that earned her the Dubai Duty Free Ride of the Day award and initiated a treble for the Newmarket trainer. However, last year’s winners finished only second in the overall competition with 81 points ahead of Rest of the World with 72 points and Europe in fourth place with 51 points.
Winning trainer William Haggas set the tone for the afternoon. “I like this event because it is global,” he said. “That’s why it is so successful.”
Haggas’s observation about the meeting’s global reputation was underlined in the next race, the seven furlongs Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Stakes. Neil Callan, recently returned from ten successful years in Hong Kong, and who had ridden a Newmarket treble the night before, drove home Orbaan who had made his way down to Ascot from the northern stable of David O’Meara.
The first two races on the eight-race card were worth £50,000 (US$60,390) which stepped up to £75,000 (US$90,586) for the remaining six bringing total prize money for the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored event to £550,000 (US$664,298). The third event, the Dubai Duty Free Dash over the minimum trip of five furlongs, was won by Manaccan, the only three-year-old in the race and a horse with a bright future.
There was a bunch finish for the minor placings and even with the introduction of different colored caps for the runners at the meeting a couple of the runners could not be separated. That complicated the scoring but left the Great Britain & Ireland team with a healthy lead.
After the fourth race, halfway through the card, the scoreboard was beginning to take shape with Great Britain and Ireland stretching into an 18-point lead over the Rest of the World who in turn led the Ladies with Europe trailing.
That lead was extended by the victory of Pride Of Priory, a second on the day for trainer William Haggas and first for jockey Kieren Shoemark in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge over the classic distance of a mile and a half. It extended the Great Britain and Ireland team’s lead to a 31-point gap over the Rest of the World.
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile featured the highest rated horses of the day and was won by Canadian star Emma-Jayne Wilson on Jungle Cove for Irish trainer Jessica Harrington who also owns the five-year-old and who flew over for the event, giving the Ladies some hope of challenging Great Britain & Ireland.
Harrington had a similar sort of runner, Supagirl in the seventh race, the mile and a half Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic – but this was William Haggas’s day - and Great Britain & Ireland’s too. In a tight finish Haggas’s Hamaki outlasted Supagirl to make it a treble for the trainer and a double for Jamie Spencer.
Adaay In Asia trained by Harry Dunlop for the Great Britain & Ireland team proved a decisive winner of the day’s finale, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint, and secured the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle awarded to the day’s leading points scorer, for Neil Callan.
Callan was joined on the podium for the closing ceremony by the rest of the Great Britain & Ireland team, Jamie Spencer, Kieran Shoemark and Daniel Tudhope to receive the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup trophy from Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Salah Tahlak, Joint Chief Operating Officer, Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President - Marketing and Bernard Aquino, Supervisor – PR & Media.
McLoughlin said, “This year’s renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has again delivered highly competitive racing and a terrific atmosphere. We congratulate all the winners and thank all the participants who continue to support this truly global occasion.”