captains announced for Shergar Cup
Frankie Dettori, Kerrin McEvoy, Jamie Spencer and Emma-Jayne Wilson – a quartet of the world’s finest jockeys – have been confirmed as the four team captains for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 8th August.
Dettori, who will captain the reigning champion Europe team needs no introduction. The winner of over 200 Group 1 races during a career that stretches back almost 30 years, he has ridden in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup eight times and been on the winning side on four occasions.
“Last year’s nail-biting one point win over the Girls in front of a massive Ascot crowd with a great atmosphere was one of the highlights of my season,” Dettori said. “The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is always a magnificent occasion and I am delighted to be part of it again this year.”
Rest Of The World captain McEvoy, the ‘Kid From Streaky Bay’ in Australia, was an integral part of the European racing scene in the mid-noughties as a retained rider for the Godolphin operation but will be making his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
He rode over 300 winners in Britain during a five year period and enjoyed a particularly successful Royal Ascot in 2006 when Shamardal in the St James’s Palace Stakes was one of his three victories.
“I am delighted to be invited to ride in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and go up against some of the best jockeys in the world,” McEvoy said. “Ascot is a beautiful course and has provided me with some memorable moments so I look forward to taking part in this great competition.”
Jamie Spencer stunned the racing world last autumn by announcing his retirement. Thankfully the 34-year-old, who has been a regular in big race Winners’ Enclosures right around the globe since 1998, has reversed that decision as he is still riding as well as ever.
“I am really looking forward to taking part in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for the first time in seven years,” Spencer said, “and it is an honour to be asked to captain the Great Britain and Ireland team, especially since my good friend, Kerrin McEvoy, will be among the opposition. It is a unique competition and competing as part of a team adds a different dynamic to the day.”
Canadian superstar Wilson wowed the bumper crowd with two victories and the broadest (and most determined) smile in Berkshire at last year’s meeting. She came within a hair’s breadth of lifting the Silver Saddle Trophy for the day’s most successful jockey and it will take a talented man – or woman – to stop her from getting her hands on the silverware this time around.
“I am thrilled to be coming back to Ascot for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and captaining the Girls team again,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we can show what girls can do and really prove ourselves.”
“Last year I was so hungry for the win and the fact that we were only one point off winning was huge. My plan is to come back this year and put things right!”
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman, Colm McLoughlin, said: “The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has become a fiercely contested event as last year’s single point winning margin proves.
“The captains selected for 2015 are among the most competitive and accomplished riders in the world and we look forward to seeing them lead their respective teams into battle in August.
“They have taken part in more than a dozen Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup competitions between them and have a wealth of international experience, so it looks set once again to be a fascinating contest.”
Nick Smith, Head of Communications & International Racing at Ascot Racecourse, added: “The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is all about friendly rivalries and Kerrin and Jamie were particularly keen to go up against each other in this competition which we are pleased we are able to make happen.”
“Frankie and Emma-Jayne are very important to the event and add so much when they ride at Ascot. I think we’d all secretly like to see Emma-Jayne get her hands on the Silver Saddle this year after coming so close in 2014.
“This year, that award will be named the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle to remember racing’s great friend and one of the architects of what the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is today, who passed away late last year having bravely suffered with Motor Neurone Disease.”
Racing will be followed by a free evening concert for racegoers, featuring Razorlight, Blue and Rick Astley. A fourth and final act will be confirmed in due course. Premier Admission ticket holders will have a short priority access period allowing them to get towards the front of the stage.
Tickets start from £25 for Grandstand Admission and £45 for Premier Admission. Group discounts are available. Fine Dining and Private Boxes start from £160 per person + VAT. For further information visit ascot.co.uk or call 0844 346 3000.
Emma-Jayne Wilson (Canada, Captain)
Emma-Jayne Wilson, 33, is the winning-most female jockey of all time in Canada with over 1,200 victories.
She started riding at the age of nine and always had her heart set on being a jockey. She gained her first winner on only her second ride – Ali Olah at Fort Erie on 28th August 2004. She burst on to the racing scene in 2005 when she landed the Woodbine title, partnering 175 winners. Her achievements were rewarded with an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey – becoming only the second woman ever to land this award.
She became the first female rider to win the Grade One Queen’s Plate, part of Canada’s Triple Crown, when scoring on Mike Fox in 2007 and she finished 18th in the money-earning North American jockey rankings in 2011. She took part in the Shergar Cup in 2006, 2012 and 2014. Last year she was narrowly touched off for the Silver Saddle. She rode two winners in the process proving that she is an exceptional jockey.
Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (2): 2014 Retirement Plan, Don’t Call Me
Jamie Spencer (Ireland, Captain)
Jamie Spencer, 34 was brought up in County Tipperary, Ireland and is the son of former successful trainer, George who won the 1963 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham with Winning Fair.
He rode his first winner on Huncheon Chance at Downpatrick on May 11th 1996. He made rapid progress as a jockey winning his first Classic race at the age of 17 in the 1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas aboard Tarascon. In 1999 he was crowned champion apprentice jockey in Ireland but in 2,000 he moved to England to join the Luca Cumani yard. He rode 85 winners in his first season in England.
He returned to Ireland in 2004 to become stable jockey for Aidan O’Brien where he won the Irish jockeys championship with 95 winners. He then came back to England in 2005 where he won the British jockeys championship with 180 winners. In 2007 he was champion jockey again sharing the title with Seb Sanders. He won the very last race of the season to join Sanders on 190 winners.
Since 2007 he has had several high profile jobs including as retained jockey to Mrs Fitri Hay with his biggest success in the Hay colours coming in the 2011 Ascot Gold Cup on Fame And Glory for his old boss Aidan O’Brien.
In 2013 he became the retained rider for Qatar Racing teaming up for a number of significant winners including the Irish 1,000 Guineas aboard Just The Judge. This year he will be riding as a freelance. He has ridden in the Shergar Cup on three previous occasions riding one winner.
Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (1): 2004 Desert Quest
Kerrin McEvoy (Australia, Captain)
Kerrin McEvoy, 34 was born and raised in Streaky Bay, a small fishing community in South Australia. The McEvoy family is steeped in racing history, his father Phillip was a jockey, as were his uncles Tony and Peter. His maternal grandfather, Bill Holland was also a long-time successful trainer in Streaky Bay.
In his first spring as a senior rider, at the age of 20 he became the second youngest jockey to win the Melbourne Cup when he partnered Brew for trainer Michael Moroney. After his Melbourne Cup win, he soon became a star name around the globe.
He was appointed as number two rider for Godolphin behind Frankie Dettori in 2004 when he moved to England. He made an immediate impact in Europe finishing second in the Epsom Derby on Rule Of Law who later gave him his first Classic success in the St Leger. He stayed in England until 2008 when he returned to Australia to take up the position as number one jockey for the Godolphin operation.
He remained with Godolphin until the end of 2014 having ridden more than 500 winners in Sheikh Mohammed’s colours including 29 at Group 1 level. Since riding as a freelance, he has continued to ride for Australia’s top trainers with great success.
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut
Frankie Dettori (Italy, Captain)
Frankie Dettori, 44, joined Luca Cumani’s Newmarket yard as an apprentice in July 1985. His first success came on Rif at Turin, Italy, on 16 November 1986.
He created history when riding all seven winners on the Saturday at the Ascot Festival in September 1996.
Dettori survived a horrific plane crash at Newmarket in 2000. He was retained by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation in 1993, but it was announced in September 2012 that the retainer would not be renewed. He became retained rider for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani in July 2013.
He is married to Catherine and they have five children. He was British champion apprentice in 1989 and champion jockey three times (1994, 1995 and 2004). He has ridden well in excess of 3,000 winners including over 200 at Group One level with 14 British Classic winners.
He has partnered four winners in the Shergar Cup after taking part eight times.
Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (4): 1999 Mythical Girl, Diktat; 2004 Justaquestion; 2007 Strategic Mount