Hollie Doyle, Saffie Osborne and Hayley Turner produced a superb team effort to lift the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for the Ladies at Ascot – where Doyle was crowned leading rider following two victories.
Japanese ace Kazuo Yokoyama had made it the perfect start for the Rest of the World with a win in the opening Shergar Cup Dash aboard Rogue Lightning, but while the outfit that also comprised Matthew Chadwick and Joao Moreira stayed competitive all afternoon and led going into the last race, it was the Ladies who ultimately won the day.
The all-important victory came through Osborne and Ed Walker’s 7-2 favourite Dark Trooper in the concluding Shergar Cup Sprint, where Doyle was fourth with Washington Heights. That left the Ladies on 78 points in the final standings, from the Rest of the World on 73.
Doyle sat atop the jockeys’ table for the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle on 48 points, with Osborne – who also won two races – tied with Chadwick on 30 points.
Doyle’s first win on the day came with a last-to-first effort on Jessica Harrington’s The Very Man in the Stayers, after which she added the Classic with the James Tate-trained Regal Empire.
“I haven’t won the Silver Saddle before, so it’s great to have that on my CV!” said a jubilant Doyle.
“I got to ride in the Shergar Cup first when I was an apprentice, and it did let me showcase myself on a wider stage internationally. I rode a winner for Clive Cox, actually, and after that I ended up riding out for him and had quite a few winners for him – I rode him a Listed winner, so something really did come of that opportunity.
“I think it is important in that regard. It’s a very good meeting and Ascot do a great job.”
In contrast to Doyle, Osborne was in action at the Shergar Cup for the first time – and those present are unlikely to forget the finish to the Shergar Cup Challenge in a hurry, as the two riders battled it out right to the line.
It was Osborne and Andrew Balding’s Scampi who just got the verdict, from Doyle and Wootton’Sun.
“Hollie said she thought I had won, but I didn’t want to count my chickens!” said Osborne, who has been making a real name for herself in another team competition, the Racing League.
“Hollie’s horse was unbelievably tough, but so was this lad. Andrew filled me with so much confidence.
“To be here is amazing. The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is a competition that I watched a lot as a kid and to be on a team with two legends in Hayley and Hollie is really special to me.
“It is a great atmosphere. The Shergar Cup is something that I always came to with dad (Jamie Osborne) in the school holidays when I was little. It is easy to follow, it makes the sport a lot more accessible for a younger generation, and it’s great to be part of it.”
Team captain Turner was quick to salute the achievements of Doyle and Osborne, as the Ladies won for the fourth time in the last eight renewals, although she was unable to add to her own record total of 322 Shergar Cup points.
She said: “It has been good fun again, it is nice to have all the family here now. This has been best ladies team we have had, I did not get any points at all, they carried me. It has been great fun. I hope I can do this for many years.”
Meanwhile, Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing and public affairs, hailed another successful renewal of the event.
He said: “It has been another brilliant Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, with the competition going all the way to the final race. It was fantastic to see Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle winner Hollie Doyle and debutant Saffie Osborne ride doubles to land the competition for the Ladies, their fourth success in the last eight renewals.
“We were also thrilled to see international success for Kazuo Yokoyama, which will have been hugely popular in Japan, and delighted that Thore Hammer Hansen rode a winner after stepping in so late in the day.
“Andrew Balding takes home £12,500 for his yard as the leading trainer on the day and, once again, we are hugely grateful to all the trainers and owners for supporting this unique event.
“There has been more than £500,000 on offer to participants today, which we wouldn’t be able to do without the sponsors Dubai Duty Free, so a huge thanks goes to them for their continued to long-standing support.”