Tag Archive for: Nicola Currie

Shergar Cup belongs to Turner as Ladies triumph at Ascot

Hayley Turner is looking forward to taking home the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for good after leading the Ladies team to victory in the 20th running of Ascot’s annual competition.

Turner is the most successful jockey in the Cup’s history, having claimed eight winners in 13 previous appearances.

She was leading rider at the fixture in both 2018 and 2019 – and with the competition having to be cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, she was delighted to again be leading the team which this year also contained Mickaëlle Michel, from France, and Scottish rider Nicola Currie.

Earlier in the week, Turner made a plea to keep the Shergar Cup for good if she could complete a hat-trick of jockey crowns.

“My dad was telling me if you win the World Cup for three years you get to actually keep it, so I’m thinking if I win it for a third year, surely I get to keep the actual Shergar Cup?” she said.

While riding honours went emphatically to Currie, whose double on the card helped her claim the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle award, Shergar Cup organisers confirmed Turner can keep the team silverware – having racked up 304 Shergar Cup points.

Another trophy will be produced for 2022.

Turner said: “I think I’m going to need a bigger house to put it in! I’m absolutely delighted.

“Well done to Nicola – she has ridden out of her skin today. The Shergar Cup has helped me over the years by projecting my career and hopefully it will be the same for Nicola, because she deserves more quality rides than she is getting.

“Nicola is amazing, and it’s so good for her – I’m delighted. I love the Shergar Cup, it is so much fun.”

The Ladies team, previously known as the Girls, was introduced in 2012 to create a four-way competition along with Europe, Rest of the World and Great Britain and Ireland.

The sides have tweaked slightly in the current pandemic era, with GB and Ireland split and Europe on hold for 2021.

Currie’s two winners on the card were a major contribution to the Ladies Team’s table-topping tally of 69 points.

Jockey Nicola Currie holding the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle Trophy
Jockey Nicola Currie holding the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle Trophy (Steven Paston/PA)

She said: “What a team. In the end they were straightforward rides and straightforward winners. It’s been a fantastic day, and thanks to all the owners and trainers who have helped today.

“All the publicity is great – it’s hard work being a jockey, and any publicity is good publicity.

“It’s great to have two winners on the board. It’s fantastic and it’s just been a great day.”

Team Ireland were second best in the overall competition on 66 points, with Britain third on 64 and Rest of the World last of the four on 53.

While she did not manage to get among the winners, Michel was delighted to take part, saying: “I’ve loved riding today.

“I was close on a second, and it would have been lovely to win a race, but riding at Ascot has been brilliant.”

Currie delight at Silver Saddle award

Nicola Currie was delighted after an Ascot double helped her claim the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle award in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.

Making her debut in the competition, the Scottish rider was joined by Shergar Cup regular Hayley Turner and French jockey Mickaelle Michel in a strong-looking Ladies team.

Currie first struck gold aboard 11-1 shot Just Hubert in the Shergar Cup Stayers, for the training team of William Muir and Chris Grassick.

She was beaten just a head into second place on HMS President in the following Shergar Cup Challenge, before getting back in the number one spot courtesy of the Mark Johnston-trained State Of Bliss (9-2) in the Shergar Cup Classic.

Currie ended the day on 47 points overall, a tally which helped the Ladies secure victory in the team competition.

“What a day – it’s unbelievable to win the Silver Saddle,” she said.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I was hoping I might nick one today or the team could win on points, but to have a double is unbelievable.

“I thought this leading jockey’s armband would be harder to keep than a driver’s licence!”

Currie hopes her achievement will help take her riding career to the next level.

She added: “I really hope so. It’s tough for everybody, especially at the minute – there are so many jockeys and so many good jockeys out there.

“You need a few winners to get the flag going again, and this is really going to help. I want to keep the ball rolling.

“I don’t want to just sit on the sidelines and do it just to get by. I want to make a good go of it, so hopefully this can pick things back up again.”

Ireland’s David Egan was second on the rider’s list with 29 points, and his team-mate Joe Fanning shared third place with the British pair of James Doyle and Cieren Fallon – all on 27 points.

Tis Marvellous again in Shergar Cup Dash

Tis Marvellous got the Rest of the World team and Danish jockey Kevin Stott off to a flying start with a narrow victory in the opening race of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot.

The Clive Cox-trained gelding was a 9-2 joint-favourite to record a second win in the five-furlong Shergar Cup Dash, having struck gold for Hollie Doyle and the Ladies Team in 2018.

After tracking the pace-setting King Of Stars for much of the race on the far side of the track, Tis Marvellous moved powerfully to the lead inside the final two furlongs and briefly looked set to score decisively.

However, both 6-1 shot Desert Safari and the other joint-favourite Magical Spirit flashed home in the group that raced nearer the stands side, and there was little to choose between the trio passing the post.

After a brief wait, the judge confirmed Tis Marvellous had held on by a short head from Desert Safari, with Magical Spirit the same distance further away in third.

Stott said: “I thought I would try to get a nice lead and see if he (King Of Stars) could take me there, and he took me the furthest.

“I sat on him as long as possible. He’s a gentleman of a horse who made my job easy on that nice, soft ground.”

Cox was delighted to saddle a winner, saying: “We’ve been lucky at this meeting, many times. It’s a fun day, and as long as the owners are behind and enjoy it, that’s what it is all about. It’s good prize-money – what’s not to like?”

Just Hubert and Nicola Currie after winning at Ascot
Just Hubert and Nicola Currie after winning at Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Just Hubert led home a one-two for the Ladies Team in the Shergar Cup Stayers.

Ridden by Nicola Currie, 11-1 shot Just Hubert raced on the pace throughout the two-mile contest.

The five-year-old was strongly pressed in the final furlong by the hat-trick seeking Call My Bluff – on whom Currie’s French team-mate Mickaelle Michel was closing all the time, but William Muir and Chris Grassick’s charge clung on by a short head.

“I decided to try to make it into a test of stamina from the turn for home, and throughout the race the more I tried to take a pull the quicker he went,” said Currie.

“There’s a great buzz in the weighing room, and everyone is right behind it.”

Currie came close to completing a double in the following Shergar Cup Challenge, but was narrowly denied by Ireland’s David Egan and 18-1 shot Graphite.

Terry Kent’s grey went by the Currie-ridden HMS President – but the latter fought back admirably, and there was just a head between the pair at the line.

Egan said: “I’m pleased for the fact we needed the points, but just as much for Terry Kent. He was assistant to Roger Varian, who I’ve ridden for for a long time.

“As a boy, I grew up watching the big overseas jockeys ride in the Shergar Cup. My horse was very brave, and it means a lot to me.

“Looking up at the crowds there, it’s fantastic to see. Ascot, although it’s about great horses, it’s also about the great crowds, and at least we’ve got them back.”

Dashing Roger in the Ascot winner's enclosure
Dashing Roger in the Ascot winner’s enclosure (Steven Paston/PA)

Shergar Cup debutant Cieren Fallon claimed a first winner on the afternoon for Britain in the Mile, with Dashing Roger coming out on top.

Fallon, whose father Kieren won the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle as the event’s leading rider in 2003 and was on the winning team in 2001 and 2002, drove William Stone’s 5-1 chance to a one-and-three-quarter-length success over Young Fire.

“I was on the best horse in the race,” he said.

“He broke well and gained a comfortable position – and when I gave him a squeeze he really picked up, putting the race to bed in a matter of strides.

“He was off a low mark at the start of the year, and hasn’t stopped improving.

“It’s good that David and I have each ridden a winner, because we go back a long way.”

State Of Bliss and Nicola Currie at the Shergar Cup
State Of Bliss and Nicola Currie at the Shergar Cup (Steven Paston/PA)

Currie notched her second winner aboard State Of Bliss in the Shergar Cup Classic, a victory which confirmed she would take the Alistair Haggis “Silver Saddle” Trophy as the day’s leading rider.

Star Caliber led his rivals a merry dance for much of the race, but was beginning to tire inside the final two furlongs and ultimately faded.

Mark Johnston’s 9-2 shot State Of Bliss stayed on best under the Currie drive to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths, with his stablemate Annandale beating 100-30 favourite Star Caliber to the runner-up spot.

Currie said: “It’s been a fantastic day, and this horse is a typical Johnston straightforward ride

“They went a really hard gallop, and my job was to fill him up because I knew he would keep finding. I wanted to get him rolling, and he got better and better as the race developed.”

The Irish team dominated in the concluding Shergar Cup Sprint, with team captain Joe Fanning and Mitrosonfire (17-2) pipping Crazy Luck and team-mate Tadhg O’Shea to top honours.

The victory completed a double on the day for the Muir-Grassick training combination, while Currie’s third place aboard Royal Scimitar confirmed the Ladies team as the overall winners of the Shergar Cup.

Fanning said: “I had to come from further back than I wanted, but he kept going for me.”