Frankie Dettori will contest his first Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup in six years when he captains the European team in this year’s international extravaganza at Ascot.
The team competition will feature representatives from 10 nations this time around with riders from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain and Ireland all taking part.
Dettori has ridden at the fixture 11 times previously, but not since 2016 and the Italian, who is the most successful active Royal Ascot rider, is excited to spearhead a side which comprises of compatriot Antonio Fresu as well as last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Rene Piechulek from Germany and nine-times champion Spanish jockey Jose-Luis Martinez.
He said: “It’s been a few years since I’ve ridden in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and I’m looking forward to it. I love Ascot and it’s always a great day so I hope people put it in their diary and come along to have a good time and enjoy something a bit different.
“The European team looks really strong. I remember when we won it in 2014 it was a really special day and hopefully we can lift the trophy again this year.”
The Great Britain and Ireland team will be captained by Jamie Spencer, who will be joined by Danny Tudhope, Neil Callan and Kieran Shoemark.
Hayley Turner will once again captain the Ladies team as they try for a fourth success in the competition. Last year’s Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle winner Nicola Currie and multiple Royal Ascot winner Hollie Doyle will feature, along with Canadian star Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has appeared at the Shergar Cup six times, including when on the winning side in 2015.
Turner said: “I love the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, it’s always one of my favourite days of the year. It’s great for the event to have lots of international riders travelling over for the day again and I’m excited to have Emma-Jayne back again on our team.
“Winning last year for the third time was really special as they let me keep the trophy which I’ve now got at home. The Ladies look strong again with Hollie and Nicola so hopefully we can retain the crown and win the new trophy as well.”
The Rest of the World team features two of Japan’s leading riders at the moment in Takeshi Yokoyama and French-born Christophe Lemaire who represents Japan as a JRA licensed jockey. They are joined by three-time Melbourne Cup winner Kerrin McEvoy from Australia and New Zealander Jason Collett, who has enjoyed a good season in Sydney.
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse, said: “This is an exciting year for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup which is breaking new ground with an extended race programme (eight races), more jockeys riding and more prize money on offer than ever before.
“In fact, with £500 available to the horses that finish 11th or 12th, and no entry fees, it is all upside for running in these unique races. Additionally, we will also have our stable bonus scheme in operation for the second time following the King George, with £20,000 going to the three leading trainers on the day and £5,000 to their staff.”