Dubai Shergar Cup attracts top jockeys

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Dubai Shergar Cup attracts top jockeys
Dubai Duty Free officials with Team Europe, winners of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup in 2014.

Saturday's event promises to produce another thrilling contest at Ascot.

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Published: Thu 6 Aug 2015, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Aug 2015, 2:02 PM

Colourful, competitive and compelling, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup which returns to Ascot on Saturday, 8 August, has become one of the most eagerly awaited highlights of British summer sporting and social season.
The world's premier international jockeys' challenge draws top riders from all corners of the globe to one of the most iconic and best-loved sporting venues and also attracts Ascot's biggest crowd outside of the Royal meeting, a Press release said.
British racing's only team event, the Shergar Cup was founded in 1999 at Goodwood, but moved to Ascot the following year and has gone from strength to strength with a live two-hour post-racing pop concert, this year featuring international singing star Lulu, Razorlight, Rick Astley and Blue, playing a major part in its continued success.
A unique sporting challenge, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup provides a fascinating showcase of some of the world's most admired sportsmen and women.
The points-based competition is played out between four teams each comprising three top riders representing Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, Rest of the World and The Girls, a team of international female riders, in a thrilling six-race showdown. And last year the competition went to the wire, with team Europe snatching victory for The Girls by just one point.
The 2015 renewal promises to produce another thrilling contest after the announcement of a stellar line-up of riders.
Olivier Peslier, Kerrin McEvoy, Jamie Spencer and Emma-Jayne Wilson - a quartet of the world's finest jockeys - will captain the four teams for Saturday's showpiece.
Peslier, the four-time French Champion who steps in to replace the suspended Frankie Dettori, is making his fourth Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup appearance. After representing Europe 2010 and 2011 Peslier returned last year to claim overall victory and lift the coveted Silver Saddle awarded to the day's most successful individual rider.
Peslier is joined by Dutchman Adrie De Vries and fellow Frenchman Vincent Cheminaud who makes his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
Rest Of The World captain McEvoy, the 'Kid From Streaky Bay' in Australia, was an integral part of the European racing scene in the mid-noughties as a retained rider for the Godolphin operation and will be making his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
He rode over 300 winners in Britain during a five year period, and enjoyed a particularly successful 2006 Royal Ascot meeting when Shamardal in the St James's Palace Stakes was one of his three victories.
McEvoy who will lead Shergar Cup veteran Yutaka Take and fellow countryman Blake Shinn, also making his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut said: "I am delighted to be invited to ride in the Shergar Cup and go up against some of the best jockeys in the world. Ascot is a beautiful course and has provided me with some memorable moments so I look forward to taking part in this great competition."
Jamie Spencer stunned the racing world last autumn by announcing his retirement. Thankfully the 34-year-old, who has been a regular in big race winner's enclosures right around the globe since 1998, has reversed that decision as he is still riding as well as ever.
"I am really looking forward to taking part in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for the first time in seven years," Spencer said. "It is an honour to be asked to captain the Great Britain and Ireland team, especially since my good friend, Kerrin McEvoy, will be among the opponents. It is a unique competition and competing as part of a team adds a different dynamic to the day."
Spencer is joined by Irishman Pat Smullen who returns to the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup after a gap of four years and debutant Adam Kirby.
Canadian superstar Wilson wowed the bumper crowd with two victories and the broadest (and most determined) smile in Berkshire at last year's meeting. She came within a hair's breadth of lifting the Silver Saddle Trophy for the day's most successful jockey and it will take a talented man - or woman - to stop her from getting her hands on the silverware this time around.
"I am thrilled to be coming back to Ascot for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and captaining the Girls team again," Wilson said. "Hopefully we can show what girls can do and really prove ourselves.
"Last year I was so hungry for the win and the fact that we were only one point off was huge. My plan is to come back this year and put things right!"
Top UK female jockey, Hayley Turner, and Samantha Bell who steps in to replace the injured Cathy Gannon, complete the line-up for The Girls.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman, Colm McLoughlin, said: "The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has become a fiercely contested event as last year's single point winning margin proves.
"The captains selected for 2015 are among the most competitive and accomplished riders in the world and we look forward seeing them lead their respective teams into battle later this week."

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