The teams for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot a week on Saturday (August 7) are close to being finalised, with stars like six times British champion jockey Kieren Fallon, three times French champion Christophe Soumillon and five times Irish champion Pat Smullen signed up in the last 10 days for the world’s premier international jockeys team competition.
Both Soumillon and Smullen will be making their Shergar Cup debuts, while Fallon has not participated in it since 2004. All three of the Rest of the World jockeys – three times South African champion, Anton Marcus, top Japanese rider, Yasunari Iwata, and Melbourne’s reigning champion jockey, Luke Nolen – will be making their UK debuts.
Just four jockeys need to confirm their participation once they know whether they will be required by their retained stables – Ryan Moore and William Buick for the Great Britain team, Richard Hughes for the Ireland team and Frankie Dettori for the European team.
Hayley Turner (Captain)
Kieren Fallon (Captain)
*Frankie Dettori (Captain) (Italy)
Christophe Soumillon (Belgium)
Umberto Rispoli (Italy)
Rest of the World
Anton Marcus (Captain) (South Africa)
Yasunari Iwata (Japan)
Luke Nolen (Australia)
* to be confirmed
At The Races, for whom this is a stand-alone afternoon card, will be the host broadcaster for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and will be looking to capture the whole flavour of the event.Racing will start an hour later than in previous years at 2.10pm, with the 12 jockeys signing autographs between 1pm and 1.30pm and the Opening Ceremony following straight on from that.
In the races, the jockeys will wear team colours for the first time, with the ROA having given its support to the initiative which should help bring alive the team competition more vividly for racegoers on the track and ATR viewers at home.
As last year, cheerleaders will be dancing in front of the stands when the horses reach the start before each race and they will dance again once each race is over to the winning rider’s team anthem.The anthems this year are:
Great Britain:Kasabian – Fire
Europe: Alphabeat – Fascination
Ireland: U2 – Elevation
Rest of the World: Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
After the Closing Ceremony and presentation of the Shergar Cup, the Silver Saddle trophy for the top points-scoring jockey and the Dubai Duty Free Ride of the Day award, a free 80’s concert will take place in the Old Paddock with stars like Boy George, former Ultravox front man Midge Ure, Belinda Carlisle, the Christians, Captain Sensible, Cutting Crew and Johnny Hates Jazz entertaining the crowds.
Only a few tickets for Premier Admission (£35, but £31.50 if booked in advance) remain to be sold although there are still plenty of General Admission tickets available (£25, but £22.50 if booked in advance). All accompanied under 18’s are admitted free and there will be lots of additional free children’s entertainments.
Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are delighted with the way the day is shaping up and look forward to another exciting competition.
“We are very pleased that special guests Joe Mercer and John Reid will be joining us to judge the Dubai Duty Free Ride of the Day, a new award we introduced last year that we expect to be keenly contested once again.”
Ascot Head of Communications and International Racing Nick Smith commented: “In recent years the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Day has been our best attended race meeting outside the five days of Royal Ascot and there should be another fantastic atmosphere here next Saturday.
“It’s great to have a lot of new faces in the competition this year, all with tremendous international or domestic achievements to their name. For instance, it will be fascinating to see Frankie Dettori riding alongside fellow countryman Umberto Rispoli, the young rider who last year smashed Frankie’s father’s all-time record for the number of winners in an Italian season.
“And it will be just as interesting to see Yasunari Iwata from Japan, the only rider from his country to win Australia’s greatest race, the Emirates Melbourne Cup, riding alongside an up-and-coming Aussie star, Luke Nolen.
“Overall we have an outstanding array of jockeys taking part and a great line-up of acts for the post-racing concert. It all points to a vintage Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Day and with advance bookings on a par with last year, we should be on for another crowd not far short of 30,000.”
Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing, Ascot , 07771 791 449
Alistair Haggis, Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Event Manager, 07761 896500
Note to Editors
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is one of the world’s major international jockeys’ competitions and was first staged at Ascot in 2000. Twelve top riders take part, three representing Great Britain, three Ireland , three Europe and three riding for the Rest of the World. The day features six races, all handicaps worth £30,000, with each jockey having five rides and sitting out one race. Points are awarded on a 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 basis to the first five horses to finish in each race and the team with the highest points total after the last race lifts the Shergar Cup trophy. The top individual points-scoring rider wins the Silver Saddle trophy and there is also the Dubai Duty Free Ride of the Day award.
Dubai Duty Free, the world’s number one airport retailer, has been involved with the Shergar Cup since its inception, and became title sponsor of the event in 2006.