The jockeys competing in the four team Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup will wear team colours for the first time at this year’s renewal on Saturday, 7th August.
The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and Ascot Racecourse, both mindful of the many and varied current industry initiatives aimed at broadening the appeal of the sport, have agreed to this one year trial in the belief that this will add to the sense of competition and to the spectacle.
The three jockeys riding for the Great Britain team will wear red and white colours, the jockeys representing Ireland will wear green and white, the jockeys riding for Europe will wear blue and white and the Rest of the World team will wear black and white.
Distinguishing caps and sleeves (checks, hoops and stars) will allow commentators, racegoers and TV viewers to differentiate between the jockeys riding within each team.
“We are very grateful to the ROA for giving us the go-ahead for this trial,” said Ascot’s Head of Communications, Nick Smith.
“Seeing their horses in their own colours is obviously important to owners so the ROA is to be applauded for its flexibility and foresight in lending its weight to the initiative, which is aimed at enabling racegoers to follow more easily this unique team competition.
“The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has been the best attended raceday at Ascot outside the Royal Meeting in recent years, attracting a crowd of around 30,000, many of whom are new to the sport and to whom this initiative is expected to appeal. It should also add to the sense of fun for viewers watching at home on At The Races, who have exciting plans for all day coverage from Ascot, which is their stand alone afternoon card.”
Michael Harris, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, said: “Ascot has always made this one-off day rewarding for owners, with no entry fees, decent prize money for races of their grades paid down to last place, number cloth sponsorship for every runner and complimentary hospitality throughout the day. This is a one off event and I hope that owners really get behind the trial.”
Nick Attenborough, PR Director for Racing For Change, added: ‘We’re delighted that team silks have been agreed for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup. Ascot has done a great job of building this day into a major event which attracts many novice racegoers. This latest initiative will further enhance it.”
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is one of the world’s major international jockeys’ competitions which 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.
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.