Osborne and Doyle shining for the Ladies in Shergar Cup

Saffie Osborne and Hollie Doyle powered the Ladies right into contention in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot following a pulsating finish to the Shergar Cup Challenge.

Doyle had hit the front with Wootton’Sun, but was soon challenged by her teammate and the Andrew Balding-trained Scampi (11-2).

In an epic battle, it was Osborne who just got the nod to record her first ever Shergar Cup victory, adding to the name she is making for herself in the Racing League series.

She said: “It was really tight – Hollie’s horse was unbelievably tough, as was mine. I had a very willing partner. He gave me a dream trip round and he was lucky to get his head down at the right time.

“It was probably one of those rides where a stride earlier I would have been the villain, but luckily I was the hero this time. It was very close to being a bad ride, but he stuck his nose out at the right time for me.

Doyle had earlier bagged her second career Shergar Cup winner when she swooped from last to first to land the Stayers for the Ladies with the Jessica Harrington-trained The Very Man (9-4 favourite). Matthew Chadwick was second for the Rest of the World with Berkshire Rocco.

“I was just trying to get him organised before I pushed the button and once I did, for a horse that stays so far, he showed quite a good turn of foot,” said Doyle.

“I have not been here for a few years due to commitments, but it is great to be here, my boss has let me off for the day.”

The irrepressible Doyle further boosted her Shergar Cup tally when showing all her strength in the saddle to keep Regal Empire’s nose in front from Chadwick and Struth in the 12-furlong Classic. Japanese ace Kazuo Yokoyama bagged fourth for the ultra consistent Rest of the World with Sovereign Spirit.

Trainer James Tate said of his 13-2 winner: “He’s done nothing but improve all year, he’s such a lovely horse. Hollie said she felt he’s still raw and doesn’t fully know what it is so that’s great. She gave him a great ride.”

Osborne then sealed it for the Ladies when taking the all-important win in the concluding Sprint aboard 7-2 favourite Dark Trooper.

Yokoyama had got the Rest of the World team off to the perfect start, as he led home a one-two for his team in the Dash.

Riding Rogue Lightning for Tom Clover, Yokoyama guided the 9-1 shot to victory from the Chadwick-ridden Intrinsic Bond. Frankie Dettori was third for Europe aboard Dream Composer.

Speaking via a translator, Yokoyama said: “I was a bit tense, but now I’ve ridden and won the race I’m myself again.

“The horse was in the best condition and the track was also in the best condition. One of the best racecourses in the world.”

Clover said: “He’s a really nice horse, and it was very sporting of (owners) The Rogues to come to a meeting like this. It’s great prize-money and it’s nice to come here with a nice horse. Going forward, perhaps the Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster – he won there last time.

“Kazuo is obviously a very good jockey, and I just told him to keep the horse relaxed and to follow into the race. It’s great.”

Race four was a memorable one for Europe and Thore Hammer Hansen, who was a late call-up for the fixture. The Mile did look booked for the Rest of the World’s Joao Moreira and Fox Tal, but they were caught right on the line by 100-30 chance Perotto

Dettori added to Europe’s gains with third through Empirestateofmind, while Yokoyama and Silent Film recorded a valuable fourth for the Rest of the World.

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