Dubai: The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition, returns to Ascot on Saturday with a stellar line-up of jockeys led by Hayley Turner who makes her eleventh appearnace in the event.
The points-based competition consists of 12 top riders divided into four teams — Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, Rest of the World and The Girls who will compete in a six-race showdown.
Besides Turner, who has resumed riding after announcing her retirment in 2015 and is moving to France, the Girls Team comprises Australia’s Melbourne Cup-winning rider Michelle Payne and Emma-Jayne Wilson, Canada’s most successful female jockey of all-time. Wilson, who will be riding at her sixth Shergar Cup, captained The Girls Team to a historic victory in the event two years ago.
However, Payne, who became the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015 on 100/1 outsider Prince of Penzance, is battling to stay fit for Saturday’s event.
“I am looking forward to the whole package on the day. It looks such a fun day - a really young crowd, a fair and teams of jockeys from all around the world,” she said at a pre-event.
“It is such a great concept and having a girls’ team is fantastic. I am really proud to be in The Girls team.
The star of ;ast year’s competition was South African sensation Gavin Lerena, who rode two winners en-route to leading the Rest of the World team to a seventh victory.
Australian Kerrin McEvoy is making his second appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and will captain the Rest of The World Team which also features South Africa’s Anthony Delpech and Japan’s Keita Tosaki.
The 48 year old Delpech, was crowned champion jockey in South Africa last season and adds to his titles in 1998/1999 and 2002/03. Tosaki, 37, has been the Japan Racing Association’s top rider for the last three years.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin, said: “The line-up looks as strong as in any previous year. We are particularly looking forward to welcoming those making their Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debuts and creating new ambassadors for this truly international event.
“The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup provides racegoers with a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s most accomplished riders brought together at an iconic venue in the true spirit of international competition.”
Rest of the World 7 wins (2001 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2016)
Europe 4 wins (2000, 2008, 2013, 2014)
Great Britain and Ireland 4 wins (2002, 2006. 2010. 2011)
The Girls 1 win (2015)