Europe pip Wilson Girls to retain Shergar Cup
Olivier Peslier's performance helped Europe to defend the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup by just a point from an Emma-Jayne Wilson-inspired Girls team as the competition went right down to the wire at Ascot.
Canadian Wilson lit up the event with her enthusiasm and charisma, and was cruelly denied the points for both the team and Silver Saddle leading individual rider awards by Peslier himself in the Classic.
Having won two races already, Wilson dropped her stick in the closing stages and her mount Astronereus was beaten just a nose by Peslier and Our Gabrial (8/1), with the Frenchman's more consistent finishing across the board sealing the prizes after neither the Girls nor Europe could land a blow in the concluding Sprint.
Europe ended up with 69 against the Girls on 68, although winning skipper Frankie Dettori was not exactly thrilled by his own role in the win.
"What a captain I am," said the Italian wryly. "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 (de Vies) 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."
Peslier added: "I'm very happy. It's been a competition everyone could follow until the end. Everything happened in the last race."
With well over 1,000 winners at home, Wilson, 32, is no novice to the game but she undoubtedly embraced it best.
Having drawn a blank from two previous Shergar Cups, she punched the air after helping the Lady Cecil-trained Retirement Plan (7/1) collar an enterprising De Vries on 25/1 shot Buckland in the Stayers.
"It means absolutely everything, I'm elated," she said. "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. I'm proud to be here, and proud to be a Canadian."
Tom Queally gave a comfortable victory for Great Britain & Ireland in the Challenge aboard Semeen (6/1) for Luca Cumani while the green team also fought out the Dash, with Richard Hughes and 7/2 joint-favourite Highland Acclaim beating Jimmy Fortune and Golden Steps by a nose.
Elsewhere, Muraaqaba stayed on best of all to come out on top in the German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.
Winner of her maiden on the July course in June, the Mark Johnston-trained filly returned to Newmarket on the back of a perfectly adequate fourth place in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot. Trying seven furlongs for the first time, Dane O'Neill had her settled nicely in mid-division and got a lovely tow into the race at the perfect point as Calypso Beat attempted to make all.
There were five in a line with a quarter of a mile to run, but Muraaqaba (7/1) got to the front around the furlong pole and put the race to bed from there.
Joe Fanning shone in the saddle as Amralah made every yard for success in the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock. A 16/1 short-head winner at Newbury last month from the reopposing Vancouverite, the Mick Channon-trained winner was again overlooked by punters in going off at 14/1 in this Group Three test as Amralah saw off the challenge of Hillstar for a relatively cosy length-and-a-quarter success.
Meanwhile, Fergal Lynch has one booked ride at Ayr tomorrow as he prepares to make his return to British racing.
The jockey, 36, admitted to stopping a horse, Bond City, from winning at Ripon in August 2004, supplying inside information about six of his rides and associating with the disqualified Miles Rodgers.
Irish trainer Michael O'Callaghan revealed earlier this week he planned to hand Lynch the mount aboard Mr Bounty in Ayr's Danny Tyson Handicap and he has been declared for the ride in the second division of the seven-furlong contest at 3.30.