Peslier the toast of Europe
Olivier Peslier was the star man as team Europe took home the always entertaining Shergar Cup at Ascot for the second year running. Joined on the successful team by Frankie Dettori and the Dutch flier Adrie De Vries, Peslier led the way by racking up the most points of all competing riders, which also seen him land the Silver Saddle, the prize given to the leading jockey on the day.
Peslier may have been the outright winning rider on the day but the day as a whole was taken over by Canadian lady rider Emma-Jayne Wilson who wowed fans with some fantastic riding performances, eventually landing a double on the day, before going down by just a nose in another.
The day started with victory for Rest of the World team, with Aussie jockey Craig Williams showing his talents by steering home the Robert Cowell trained Goldream. The following race on the card was definitely one for the ladies, as the stylish looking Emma-Jayne Wilson was victorious on-board Lady Cecil’s Retirement Plan.
The delighted Canadian said after her victory: “It means absolutely everything, I’m elated. It’s not just winning the Shergar Cup for the team, winning a race over here means a lot to me personally.
“Ten years ago when I started riding I never dreamed I’d be here in this position. I’m proud to be here, and proud to be a Canadian.”
The Britain and Ireland team would get off the mark in the following Shergar Cup Challenge, with Tom Queally bringing home the Luca Cumani trained Semeen by 1 1/2 lengths, before Wilson was back in the limelight again in the Shergar Cup Mile at 2.40, with victory on David Nicholls’ Don’t Call Me.
Queally said of his victory: “It’s a unique thing to be part of in Britain, competing both individually and as a team, so it’s quite difficult to cover both aspects. It’s something we enjoy doing, and it’s nice to ride a winner.
“There were three sets of green colours at the front, so we were sort of controlling the race. Luckily I had a horse who appreciated the tempo and it’s good to ride a winner for Luca Cumani.
“He’s still on the up and there might be more to come.”
Our Gabriel would eventually supply Peslier and his European team with a first victory in the penultimate race on the card for trainer Richard Fahey, before the Britain and Ireland team recorded a one-two in the finale with Highland Acclaim leading home Golden Steps, ultimately ending the challenge of Wilson and her Ladies team, with the Canadian rider finishing unplaced on Major Crispies.
Peslier said: “I was told to try not to use the whip as the horse doesn’t like it. I just had to push and to ask him. I thought the other horse was stopping but I only won it on the line.
“I’m very happy. It’s been a competition everyone could follow until the end. Everything happened in the last race. I’m at Deauville tomorrow. So we’ll enjoy today, and tomorrow’s another day.”
European captain Frankie Dettori, with tongue in cheek, said: “What a captain I am, I’m different class! Three points and four of my horses lame.
“Thank goodness for the other two. But in truth we did have the most experienced team. And we just had to beat those girls.
“Olivier has been my good friend for more than 20 years. Just a wonderful natural jockey, cooler than a cucumber when it mattered, as cool as an iceberg.
“Adrie is so talented and as nice a guy as you will meet, and a world class jockey, even if he isn’t so well known here as Olivier.
“But that’s the great thing about the Shergar Cup, it gives people a chance to see these top riders. It’s great fun for us and I hope is great fun to watch.”
By Kevin Walsh / Thibault Camus/AP/Press Association Images
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