Shergar Cup 2023

Ladies rule in thrilling finish to Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge

Saffie Osborne edged out teammate Hollie Doyle in a crackerjack finish to the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge as Scampi (11/2) dug deep to continue the brilliant form of trainer Andrew Balding.

Scampi came from off the pace to join Wootton’Sun (17/2) entering the final furlong and Osborne managed to get her mount’s head down on the line.

There was a 12-length gap back to third-placed Youthful King (10/1), who picked up some much needed points for Europe rider Olivier Peslier.

Osborne said: “Hollie [Doyle] said she thought I had won but I didn’t want to count my chickens! Hollie’s horse was unbelievably tough but so was this lad. Andrew filled me with so much confidence and it’s great because he’s got so many owners and everything like that.”

On whether Scampi is still improving, she said: “Massively. He has been the model of consistency all year. He has beaten me lots of times, in Racing League last year especially.

“He has obviously had his quirks – he used to run in a hood – and Andrew’s team have obviously done a brilliant job of getting him to settle. He is a jockey’s dream. He came alive underneath me turning in, made my life very easy and really toughed it out.

“To be here is amazing. The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is a competition that I watched a lot as a kid and to be on a team with two legends in Hayley and Hollie is really special to me.

“It is a great atmosphere. The Shergar Cup is something that I always came to with Dad in the school holidays when I was little. It is easy to follow, it makes the sport a lot more accessible for a younger generation, and it’s great to be part of it.”

Andrew Balding said: “Saffie did a lovely job; she gave him a beautiful ride and is very strong in a finish – she had a very willing partner as well.

“Scampi gets a free pass into the Ebor. That has always been the aim and this was always intended to be the prep, so I’m sure that’s where we will go next.

“I remember Shergar very well from my school days because dad [Ian Balding] had a horse called Glint Of Gold, who was second to him in the Derby. He was an amazing horse and it is nice to have him remembered with this race meeting.”

Hollie Doyle said of Wootton’Sun: “He has run a blinder. He did not deserve that as he tried really hard and battled back. We were not sure who had won, but it is good for the team.”

Olivier Peslier said of Youthful King: “That was not the plan [to make the running], but everyone is very happy, as though they had won!”

2.45pm Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge

1 Scampi (LADIES) Andrew Balding 5-9-06 Saffie Osborne 11/2

2 Wootton’Sun (LADIES) Richard Fahey 4-9-04 Hollie Doyle 17/2

3 Youthful King (EUR) Luke Dace 4-9-06 Olivier Peslier 10/1

4 Dark Jedi (GBI) Tim Easterby 7-9-06 Declan McDonogh

5 La Yakel (ROW) William Haggas 4-9-06 Joao Moreira

Team standings after race 3

ROW 43

LADIES 43

EUR 19

GBI 15

Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle standings after race 3

Hollie Doyle LADIES 28

Matthew Chadwick ROW 20

Kazuo Yokoyama ROW 15

Saffie Osborne LADIES 15

Joao Moreira ROW 8

Declan McDonogh GBI 8

Frankie Dettori EUR 7

Luke Morris GBI 7

Olivier Peslier EUR 7

Thore Hammer Hansen EUR 5

Tom Marquand GBI 0

Hayley Turner LADIES 0