Shergar Victory for Ireland Team

The Irish team's steady performances resulted in the squad holding on to the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup over the runner up Europe in a clash that came down to the last of the six events.

Shergar Cup

Shergar Cup

Fran Berry guided the Andrew Balding favourite, Bernie The Bolt, to a impressive victory in the St Hallett Shergar Cup Stayers, claiming the Silver Saddle for the leading individual rider and giving Ireland a win in one of the races of Ascot's jockeys team competition.

Although the Europe and Great Britain squads picked up two race wins each, Ireland gathered more points from placings, accumulating a sum of 80, with Europe next on 72, the Rest Of The World on 45 and Great Britain on 43.

"It's a personal highlight to be here - a dream come true," said Berry, riding in his first Shergar Cup.

"I was lucky to get a very good ride from Andrew Balding and several of my other rides had very good chances."

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While racing traditionalist may view the meeting with apathy at the least, its commercial consideration is judged to be successful.

Organisers believe the simple format of the event, just being held on one afternoon, makes it more enjoyable for newer racegoers, while the variety of people who come out on the day, including younger patrons, and a fully sold premier area, shows the promotions are hitting the target markets.

Mark Johnston and Balding, two trainers well in the mix of the contest with two victories each shared their different views.

"The owners don't run for a free lunch and there is a lot of prize money on offer for a limited field, so that's why we're here," said Johnston.

"The team competition doesn't appeal to me - I am struggling to tell the colours apart - and while the turnout is wonderful, I'm wondering why they are here, whether it is for the post-racing concert or what."

"It has been a lucky meeting for us so we keep a couple back for it," explained Balding.

"It particularly suited Bernie The Bolt, as it is tough to find races for horses rated in the mid-90s.

"He has not had much luck in his two runs this year, firstly in the Chester Cup and then in the Northumberland Plate, where he got into awful trouble.

"The Cesarewitch is very much the target. He will probably go up in the weights for this so we may have to claim off him."

Of Set The Trend, he commented, "He's a straightforward horse who deserved to win at Epsom and things just didn't work out for him last time. He could be a Cambridgeshire horse."

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