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Osborne, Doyle Lift Ladies Team in Shergar Cup

Saffie Osborne, riding at her first Shergar Cup, lifted the Ladies team to victory in the final race of the competition after edging out longtime leaders riding as the Rest of the World team in front of a boisterous Ascot crowd of almost 25,000. 

Already a leading light of the Racing League series, Osborne slotted smoothly into the Ladies Shergar Cup team, winning on her second ride as Scampi edged out Wootton’Sun in the Challenge before securing a narrow victory for her team when Dark Trooper blitzed his rivals to land the concluding Sprint.

“It’s been amazing and an honor to be in a team with Hollie Doyle and Hayley Turner,” said the 21-year-old, covered in champagne after celebrating with her teammates. “It was a competition I came to a lot as a kid and to be a part of it has been really cool. Hopefully they’ll let me back again!

“There’s a great atmosphere about the day. It’s fantastic for kids as they can follow a team—it makes the sport a lot more accessible for the younger generation and it’s great to be part of. Days like this, the Sunday Series and Racing League bring a different audience and also bring what we’re missing into the sport: good prize money.”

While team captain Hayley Turner had an afternoon to forget, the Ladies team won four of the six races, with Hollie Doyle twice on the scoresheet and edging out Osborne as the leading rider. 

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Despite failing to contribute a single point to the winning tally of 78, Shergar Cup regular Turner felt it was the strongest team she had been involved in.   

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done the Shergar Cup and got zero points and my teammates have absolutely carried me because I didn’t contribute at all,” she said. “It’s been a fun day and that’s the best team I’ve ridden in.”   

Osborne added: “The strength and depth of girls in the weighing room now is really great and I’m lucky to be riding a crest of a wave at the minute.” 

Despite dominating in terms of winners, the Ladies team spent the day chasing down the Rest of the World, who set out to make all after securing first and second in the opening Dash. 

Another Shergar Cup newcomer, Japan’s Kazuo Yokoyama, riding the Tom Clover-trained Rogue Lightning , led home Hong Kong’s Matthew Chadwick on Intrinsic Bond to send the Rest of the World into an early lead. 

“I was a bit tense before but Tom gave me precise advice and I tried to place the horse in a relaxed position without being blocked and then stretched it from the last furlong,” said Yokoyama. “Compared to Japan it’s unique and a very interesting place to ride but the track was in great condition and is one of the best racecourses in the world. I’m truly honored to be here.”  

The Ladies briefly tied the lead after Scampi’s victory but placed efforts in legs four and five gave the Rest of the World a 15-point advantage heading into the final race. With 15 points for a win, Dark Trooper’s success leveled the score but with Doyle securing fourth on Washington Heights and the Rest of the World out of the frame, the Ladies were crowned champion by five points.  

Crucial to the final result was race four, where the talented but enigmatic Fox Tal  led under Joao Moreira before being agonizingly headed on the line by Perotto  for Europe and rider Thore Hammer Hansen. With ten points for second instead of 15 for first, it proved a costly reverse for the Rest of the World.


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