A team of English and Irish jockeys go up against the “Rest of the World” at Ascot this weekend
Racing’s answer to the Ryder Cup, the Blue Square Shergar Cup – a jockeys competition between teams from England and Ireland and the Rest of the World – takes centre stage at Ascot on Saturday.
Champion Kevin Darley captains England and Ireland, which includes Kieren Fallon, Pat Eddery, Richard Hughes, Mick Kinane andJohnny Murtagh. Frankie Dettori, representing Italy, leads his Rest of the World colleagues David Flores (USA), Norihoro Yokoyama (Japan), Gerald Mosse (France), Mirco Demuro (Italy) and Craig Williams (Australia).
Former Aussie fast bowler Jeff Thomson is manager of the Rest of the World while footballer-turned-film star Vinnie Jones is in charge of England and Ireland. Thomson and Jones will be conducting master classes in their respective sports for under 13’s before racing begins.
Comparisons between our homegrown stars and the foreigners will be interesting. Darley and Eddery riding against the Mexican-born Flores and Yokoyama, who is among the top jockeys in Japan, should prove compelling viewing.
Flores, who commands a big following in the States, has never ridden on a right-handed course and has never been two miles in a race. Even so, he should still win the Shergar Cup Stayers on Heros Fatal, saddled by jumping’s champion trainer Martin Pipe.
In fact, Flores could bethe star of the show as he has been drawn on another promising mount, Mana d’Argent, from the in-form Mark Johnston stable, in the Carveill Shergar Cup Challenge. Mana d’Argent will be fitted with a visor for the first time and this is likely to keep his mind on the job.
Johnston could also win with Ice, the mount of Yokoyama, in the ILPH Shergar Cup Mile.
Pat Eddery drew Mark Tompkins’s speed merchant Volata in the £100,000 Shergar Cup Sprint and could be on the winner. Volata was hopelessly outclassed by the flying machine Mozart in the July Cup at Newmarket but returns to his level here.
Mirco Demuro has been given the chance of victory on Sir Michael Stoute’s Ghazal in the Shergar Cup Distaff. Ghazal was a classy two-year-old andhas not run since the Newmarket Craven meeting in April. Stoute will have his filly cherry ripe for this.