It went right to the wire for the Shergar Cup 2014 and just one point separated the winning European team on 69 from gallant runner-up Girls’ team on 68.
European captain Olivier Peslier led from the front and made it a clean sweep for the Europeans as he also collected the Silver Saddle for leading jockey honours – he picked up points on all his rides, but winning the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic on Our Gabrial sealed him the deal.
He beat The Girls’ Team captain Emma-Jayne Wilson by just two points, but the leading Canadian and female jockey had a fantastic day at Ascot riding a double on the card. She said after racing that it was a “magnificent day”, one of the highlights of her very successful career.
“I would have been very disappointed to have left here without riding a winner today,” she said. “I could not have asked for more. To be beaten by one point when we were rank outsiders was just magnificent.
“The girls are just as good as the boys – I hope we showcased that enough today.”
It was a great day of fun for all – jockeys, trainers and racegoers – and superb competitive racetrack action was seen as some of the best jockeys in the world fought out close finishes to conclude every race.
“How much fun was that?” smiled Hayley Turner at the end of the day. “It’s fantastic. It was such a shame to miss out by just one point, but there is always next year!”
All the captains rode winners – Tom Queally bagged the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge on Semeen for the home team, while Craig Williams got the day off to a great start with a win in the opening Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash for the Rest of the World.
After Wilson took the second, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers, it was nip and tuck between The Girls and Europe right through to the last. And although Wilson briefly took the lead for the Silver Saddle after her victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile on Don’t Call Me, Peslier bounced right back with a cool Ascot-winning ride in the penultimate.
The final results were something of a repeat of 2013 – Europe took the Shergar Cup last year and French jockey Gerald Mosse won the Silver Saddle.
As all the riders left Ascot to disperse to their various corners of the globe – most are riding in their own countries tomorrow – all pledged to return to Ascot to lock horns and do battle for the Shergar Cup 2015.