Tuesday 23 January 2018

Berry sparkles in Irish victory

Tom Peacock

A consistent performance from the Ireland team saw them retain the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup over Europe in a battle only decided by the final of the six races.

Ireland won one of the events of Ascot's jockeys-team competition when Fran Berry steered Andrew Balding's 3/1 favourite Bernie The Bolt to a convincing success in the St Hallett Shergar Cup Stayers and he collected the Silver Saddle for the leading individual rider.

While the Europe and Great Britain teams won two races each, Ireland picked up more points from their placed efforts and amassed a total of 80, with Europe on 72, the Rest of the World 45 and Great Britain on 43.

"It's a personal highlight to be here -- a dream come true," said Berry, who was making his Shergar Cup debut. "I was lucky to get a very good ride from Andrew Balding and several of my other rides had very good chances."

Berry nearly took the concluding Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint on 9/4 favourite Gene Autry but, while he could not catch the European captain Olivier Peslier and Gramercy (4/1), the second place points were enough for Ireland to follow up from 2009.

Two trainers, Mark Johnston and Balding, dominated the competition with two winners each. Johnston ran 14 horses overall and managed a one-two-three in the Michael Page International Shergar Cup Challenge.

Great Britain captain Hayley Turner took top honours on Yorgunnabelucky (9/1), which dictated proceedings just as he did at Pontefract on Wednesday and finished well up on 2/1 favourite Emerging Artist and Submariner.

Johnston also helped Great Britain take the Titanic Quarter Shergar Cup Classic when Alan Munro dragged Mister Angry (16/1) across the line a short-head to the good.

Along with Bernie The Bolt, Balding also had success with Set The Trend (9/2) ridden by Luke Nolen, who took the Les Ambassadeurs Club Shergar Cup Mile. Christophe Soumillon had earlier started the meeting well for Europe by winning the Barclays Shergar Cup Dash on Robert Cowell's Prohibit (5/2 favourite).

Sunday Independent

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