The international flavour of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup was more evident than ever at the 2022 renewal of the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday, despite a home win for the Great Britain & Ireland team who finished 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 could finish 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 is challenging for the British Champion Trainers’ title this year. “My late father-in-law Lester Piggott was one of the breeders of Amanzoe and we’ll have to look for black type now that she has won this competitive Stakes.”
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 10 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.
“I’ve ridden against such as Christophe Lemaire and Kerrin McEvoy (of the Rest of the World Team) and Frankie Dettori (Europe team captain) around the world,” said Callan. “It’s great to renew old friendships, though out on the track we’re as competitive for our teams as we are as individuals.”
The first two races on the eight-race card were worth £50,000 which stepped up to £75,000 for the remaining six bringing total prize money for the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored event to £550,000. 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.
Manaccan had the inestimable services of Hayley Turner. Hayley’s father was there to greet her returning to the winner’s circle with which she is so familiar. When Hayley won the Holyrood House sprint at Royal Ascot she had Manaccan back in fifth. “Adam Kirby rode him then and he advised me on the best tactics to win today,” said a grateful Turner.
Grateful too was Jamie Spencer for his first ride on moody The Maxwecan in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers run over two miles. Though hardly sighted this year, The Maxwecan was a winner over Ascot’s course and distance three years ago.
There was a bunch finish for the minor placings and even with the introduction of different coloured 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.
“We love to support this event,” said Haggas. “We had the German jockey Rene Piechulek riding for us in an earlier race and though he didn’t win, he came in and gave us a proper run down on the horse. If we have runners in Germany I will be on the phone to him.”
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.
“I was ten years in Hong Kong where the racing is intense all the time,” said Callan. “It’s great to be back home to this lovely atmosphere and doing what I love – riding winners!”
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.”
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