It’s Shergar Cup time again! This unique, team event is held annually at Ascot racecourse in early August and has been running every year since 1999 (there wasn’t a contest in 2005 due to the grandstands being redecorated). The raceday is named after Shergar, the 1981 Derby winner and is famous for mysteriously getting stolen and his fate is still unknown today. Originally, the race was sponsored by the Aga Khan, who owned Shergar, but now its sponsored by Dubai Duty Free.
The contest is a team event where three jockeys from each of the four teams- The Girls, Britain and Ireland, Europe and The Rest Of The World- compete in. From 1999 to 2004, there were only two teams and more jockeys riding per team but since 2006 there has been four with three jockeys each. The winning team of the event is determined by the amount of points they have accumulated over the six races. Points are awarded to the first five past the post- 1st place- 15 points, 2nd place- 10 points, 3rd– 7 points, 4th place- 5 points and 5th 3 points.
Each jockey rides in five of the six races and wears different colour silks depending on their team. The girls wear pink, Europe wear blue, Rest Of The World wear yellow and Britain and Ireland wear green. There is also the coveted Silver Saddle on offer to the jockey who individually gets the most points. It has been won by the like of Mick Kinane, Richard Hughes, Hugh Bowman and Fran Berry last year.
So let’s meet the teams….
Josie Gordon (Team Captain)
Career- In 2016, Josie won the Champion Apprentice title and became just the third woman to do so after Amy Ryan and Shergar Cup teammate Hayley Turner. She rode more than 70 winners in 2017 including 50 in the Apprentice Championship. She often rides for top trainers like Sir Michael Stoute and Hugo Palmer. 2017 was a good year for her as she rode Fasnet Tempest to victory in the Victoria Cup for William Haggas and gained her first group winners on Koropick in July and then in September in the Princess Royal Stakes on Apphia. She became the second female to ride 100 winners in a year after Hayley Turner in 2008.
Career– She was the first female jockey to have a sustainable day-to-day career as a jockey. She was the joint Champion Apprentice in 2005 and the two biggest winners of her career came in 2011 when she won the July Cup on Dream Ahead and the Nunthorpe on Margot Did. Her best season came in 2008 when she was the first woman to ride 100 winners in a calendar year. Hayley retired from race riding in 2015 but returned to riding in 2018. She was handed a riding ban after gambling on a race whilst holding a license. When she isn’t riding, she does a lot of work for ITV racing.
Career– Last year, Hollie had her best season riding when having 57 winners in the calendar year. One of her biggest wins came at Newmarket in the Old Rowley Cup on Scarlet Dragon. Hollie is a lot less experienced than any of the other jockeys riding in this event but she is a terrier in a finish and has a bright future.
BRITAIN AND IRELAND
Fran Berry (Team Captain)
Career– fran began his career over jumps and won the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 1999 on Khayrawani. He then concentrated on flat racing and was employed as John Oxx’s second jockey from 2002 until 2009. He was first jockey until 2016 when he moved to England to ride for Ralph Beckett. He left and went freelance in June 2017. He has also won group and grade races all over the world.
Career– Adam began riding in races in 2004 and rode a lot for Walter Swinburn in his early career until he quit training. He rode over 100 winners in 2011 and 2012 and became 2012/13 All-Weather champion jockey. In 2013, he teamed u-p with Clive Cox’s Lethal Force and the grey gave him his first group one victory in the Diamond Jubilee and then they won the July Cup. Adam is a brilliant rider of sprinters and he has since partnered top sprinters like Profitable and Harry Angel to top level victories. His other group one victory came on My Dream Boat in the Prince Of Wales proving he can ride any type of horse.
Nationality– Northern Irish
Career– Pat rode on the pony racing circuit before moving up to ride horses and he partnered his first winner aged 17 in 1999. His big race victories include the Nunthorpe on Borderlescott in 2008 and the Haydock Sprint Cup. He rides for many different trainers and sometimes has rides for the Godophin operation too.
Andrasch Starke (Team Captain)
Career– Starke is a multiple winner of the German Jockey’s Championship and has won a lot of the top races in his native Germany and across the world. In 2011, he rode the German filly Danedream to win the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe and the pairing was also victorious at Ascot in the 2012 renewal of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Career– Mossé began riding in 1983 and in the time since, he has won most of the world’s top races. In 1990, he won the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe on Saumarez. Three years later, he became first jockey for the Aga Khan until 2001 when he moved to live in Hong Kong. In 2010, he became the first French jockey to win the Melbourne Cup riding a US bred horse named Americain. Recently, Mosse has been riding mainly in England and won the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Sir Dancelot at the end of July.
Career– Gråberg has won lots of Sweden’s top races and has won the Stockholm Cup a whopping five times. He has also won the Swedish derby and has raced in many different countries.
REST OF THE WORLD
Yutaka Take (Team Captain)
Career– Take made his riding debut in 1987 and he is one of the greatest ever jockeys from his country. He ended his first season riding as Champion Apprentice with 69 winners. He has registered over 4000 winners and 75 of those were at group one level. He is also known for riding Deep Impact, Japanese champion sire and Saxon Warrior’s sire.
Career– Corey is probably best known in the UK for piloting Rekindling, trained by Joseph O’Brien to victory in the Melbourne Cup last year. He had also won it before in 2009 when riding Shocking. Corey is one of the top jockeys in Australia and is a multiple group one winner.
Career– He began his career as a rider at the beginning of the 2005/06 season in his native Brazil. His Biggest accomplishment is riding eight winners from eight rides on a nine race card. It is believed to be a world record as well. He won the Hong Kong Derby and the Dubai Turf last season.