Hottest Ticket in Town
August 6, 2013 3:30 by Dubai Duty Free
Ascot racecourse is bracing itself for a bumper crowd on 10th August for Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup with American riding legend Gary Stevens heading the line-up of international jockeys taking part in what is shaping up to be a thrilling renewal of this unique sporting challenge.
The 50-year-old Californian-based rider, back in the saddle after a self imposed seven-year exile, has been handed the role of captain of he Rest of the World team, current holders of the coveted trophy.
‘It’s an honour to be invited back and I’m very excited about it,’ said the triple Kentucky Derby-winning rider, who spent the summer of 1999 in the UK as stable jockey to Sir Michael Stoute in Newmarket and has fond memories of Ascot where he rode a Royal meeting winner for Her Majesty The Queen.
Commented Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, ‘Gary is an immensely talented rider with world-wide renown and we are very pleased to have him on board, leading the Rest of the World team on what promises to be a fascinating day’s racing.’
Britain’s premier international jockeys event, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is a points-based competition played out between four three-man teams of specially invited and accomplished riders.
The event has attracted a sell-out crowd of 30,000 in each of the last three years, and some indication of its growing appeal among race fans is that the terrestrial b roadcaster Channel 4 has extended its coverage this year to include all six races.
Joining Stevens will be the celebrated Japanese rider Yasunari Iwata, who has won three Japan Cups, and Brazilian superstar Joao Moreira, currently re-writing the record books in Singapore.
Rosie Napravnik, multiple Graded Stakes-winning American, steps into The Girls team led by Britain’s top lady rider and Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup regular Hayley Turner, along with Lisa Alpress, the first female jockey to pass 1,000 winners in New Zealand.
The teams for Great Britain and Ireland and Europe have yet to be finalised, with the organisers, who have to take contractual arrangements into consideration, leaving selection to the last moment to ensure they get the best possible riders available.
But the line-up for the two-hour post-racing concert has been agreed, and with the musical talent of such as Rick Astley, Atomic Kitten, Bjorn Again, Blue and Go West on show, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is sure to be the hottest ticket in town yet again.