North American stars Chantal Sutherland and Emma-Jayne Wilson will join Britain’s best female Flat jockey, Hayley Turner, to form the first ever female team at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday, 11 August.
They will ride against three male teams, representing Great Britain & Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World in the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition.
Turner (pictured) has become a regular fixture at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, taking part every year since 2006 and captaining the Great Britain team from 2008–2010, while Emma-Jayne Wilson is the only other female to have taken part in the competition as part of the Rest of the World Team in 2006, when the competition had a two-team format.
“The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has regularly reinvented itself and we thought that the time was right to break new ground by seeing how three of the most successful female riders of all time can fare against three teams made up of some of world’s top male jockeys,” said Ascot spokesman, Nick Smith.
Hayley Turner, who will captain the female team, said: “The three of us rode against each other in the Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge in the USA last year and I told Ascot straight afterwards that if there was ever an all-girls’ team at the Shergar Cup, we’d definitely be keen to take part.
“I’m thrilled that it’s going ahead and having been with Chantal in Dubai last week, I can tell you that we’re both really up for putting one over on the boys on 11 August and I know Emma-Jayne will be too!”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, commented: “We are delighted at the way the teams are shaping up for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
“The event continues to find ways to reach out to new audiences and I am sure the opportunity to see some of the world’s top female riders in action will add an entirely new dimension to the international media coverage, further raising the profile of this unique raceday.”
The riders in the male teams will be announced in due course, but one jockey gets an automatic invitation as a result of winning Dubai Duty Free’s big sponsored race on Dubai World Cup Night. James Doyle scored a stunning success on Cityscape in the Dubai Duty Free, a Group One race over nine furlongs, and will be invited to make his Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut for the Great Britain & Ireland team.
The format of the event stays the same, with four teams of three jockeys taking part across six races, each with ten runners. Every jockey has five rides and points are awarded on a 15–10–7–5–3 basis to the first five jockeys to finish in each race. The team with the highest total after the sixth race lifts the Shergar Cup and the jockey with the highest individual score wins the Silver Saddle trophy.
The ‘Girl Power’ theme continues in the post-racing concert, when some of the top female acts from the 1980s will appear live on stage at Ascot. They include Bananarama, who with 30 Top 40 hits remain the Guinness Book of Records’ most successful girl band of all time, Carol Decker, who fronted the rock band T’Pau, Katrina Leskanich, former lead singer of Katrina and The Waves, and solo artist Belinda Carlisle.
Midge Ure, the former front man of Ultravox, Howard Jones and Rick Astley are the male stars from the ‘80s who will be performing.
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup on Saturday, 11 August, including the ‘Here and Now’ concert, start from £26. To book call 0844 346 3000 or visit www.ascot.co.uk