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This Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot is the one in the year that the racing snobs like to have a dig at. It’s weird that they sharpen their claws for their annual ‘racing is not a team sport’ bashing. Weird firstly, because there is so much racing in the UK that giving these six races a swerve once a year and just not commenting would be the easiest of options. Secondly, the Shergar Cup is actually a fun meeting and growing in popularity year on year. 

The Shergar Cup was first held in 1999 at Goodwood but then moved to Ascot in 2000 where it has remained. After a bumpy start the meeting has evolved over time to its current format of four teams of three jockeys comprising Great Britain, Ireland, Ladies and Rest of the World. Each year it gives racegoers the unique opportunity to see top class jockeys from around the globe race against each other in competitive handicaps.  

A stellar line-up of jockeys once again take part in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot this year with four new-look teams set to compete in the 20th running of the event ( the meeting didn’t take place in 2005 due to Ascot renovations and 2020 because of the Global Pandemic ) taking place on Saturday, 7th August.

Great Britain will be captained by Adam Kirby, this year’s Derby winning jockey who takes part for the second time. He’s joined by James Doyle, and Cieren Fallon. Doyle is making his third appearance in the competition; he rode winners in 2012 and 2013. Cieren is making his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut and will no doubt be keen to uphold a good family tradition at the meeting. His father, Kieren was on the winning team in 2001 and 2002 and won the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle in 2003.

This year’s Gold Cup-winning jockey Joe Fanning will captain the Ireland side and has the assistance of rising-star David Egan who has enjoyed big-race success in the Middle-East this season in his team. The third member of the Irish team is Tadhg O’Shea. He’s the most decorated jockey of all-time in the UAE having ridden more than 600 winners and he claimed a record ninth UAE jockey’s championship this season.

The quality Ladies team is to be captained by Hayley Turner, the most successful jockey in the history of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup with eight winners and 297 points from her 13 appearances. The Ladies’ team also features French international superstar Mickaëlle Michel and Scottish jockey Nicola Currie making her debut.

Sean Levey leads the Rest of the World team, the Swaziland-born Classic-winning jockey will be joined by Kevin Stott from Denmark who enjoyed a final day double at Royal Ascot in 2020. Italian Andrea Atzeni completes the line-up and is not stranger to the course enjoyed Royal Ascot success earlier this this.

Simon Nott

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