horse racing

Berry’s Great Britain & Ireland wins Shergar Cup

Close battles in world’s premier international jockeys’ competition

Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer
19:35 August 12, 2017

Dubai: Ireland’s Fran Berry produced Golden Apollo in the final strides to reward Great Britain & Ireland with the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup as he reclaimed the Silver Saddle for the best rider at the world premier international jockeys’ competition.

Berry, who took home the coveted trophy when Ireland competed independently, needed just two wins in the afternoon’s six races to upstage a star-studded field of jockey’s from around the world representing four teams.

Europe, represented by Germany’s Alexander Pietsch, the flying Dutchman Adrie De Vries and Italian Umberto Rispoli finished in second place, with seven-times Shergar Cup winner Rest of the World skippered by Australian Kerrin McEvoy, took third.

The Girls completed the standings in fourth place.

Berry also steered Great Hall to victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge and provide trainer Mick Quinn with a memorable first Ascot triumph.

Great Hall, a 12/1 shot, beat Gawdawpalin by a length and a quarter under Fran Berry.

Former footballer Quinn said: “He’s been a little bit unlucky, this lad. Either the ground’s dried out or there hasn’t been enough pace, and the jockeys have come back and said, ‘there’s a nice one in him, there’s a nice one in him.

“I think it all fell into place today. We talked about tactics before. He wants a decent pace and to come from off the pace. Fran drove him up with a furlong to go and he held on. He had a nice pace, came there to win his race and he liked the ground as well.

“Fran’s had three rides for me — two winners and a second. So it was three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers when the draw came out on Tuesday, and when the weights came out and I saw we were in it, I had a few quid on at 20/1.

Earlier in the afternoon, Team Europe’s Pietsch produced the brilliant ride in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile on the Jamie Osborne-trained Raising Sands.

The German jockey, who was making his Shergar Cup debut, grabbed the lead for the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle individual title before Berry’s heroics.

“My first winner at Ascot was an easy winner so thank you to my trainer and owner for letting me ride,” said Pietsch, who was draped in the German flag on his return to the winner’s enclosure. “The last furlong, my horse just up and went.”