Shergar Cup 2023

Regal Empire puts Doyle in pole position for Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle

Hollie Doyle is now in pole position to win the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle after lifting Regal Empire (13/2) to a head success in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic.

The hard-fought success completes a double on the day for the Ladies team rider, who sits clear of her rivals on 43pts with one race remaining.

Always close to the pace, Regal Empire got the better of a three-way battle for the line, just ahead of runner-up Struth (11/1) under Matthew Chadwick and Intinso (14/1) for Luke Morris.

Doyle said: “Regal Empire is a really lovely horse. He has had plenty of races at a high level. He is quite raw, a big baby still, but he deserved that today because he’s quite talented.

“He wasn’t doing a tap really when I pushed the button and, when the second horse came to me, it actually helped me a little bit. He had a tendency to lug left quite badly, so I was trying to keep him as straight as I could. He has probably done it with a little bit up his sleeve.

“He hits the ground very hard. James [Tate, winning trainer] probably would have preferred it to have been a bit easier but he’s gotten away with it though.”

On potentially winning the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle, she said: “It would be great. I have never won it and, seeing Hayley has won it so many times over the last few years, it would be great to get my name on it.”

James Tate said: “Regal Empire has done nothing but improve all season long. The last couple of times, over a mile and a quarter, he has found it a little on the sharp side if they haven’t gone a gallop early, so that really suited him today.

“He didn’t break that quick. Hollie angled out, gave him some room, and got him to gallop the whole way. She said he was still quite raw and will hopefully keep improving. I’d like to think he will push on for black type eventually.

“Obviously we’re going to be around the mid-90s now. He is by Farhh, a great stallion whose stock generally improve with age and experience. He probably wouldn’t want it that firm, that’s the one thing.

“This is our first Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup winner. Anything that tries to bring some more money for those horses rated between 85 and 100 is great. This year we have loads of them rated in that bracket, and it’s not easy to find decent opportunities with how good a horse they are. Until he goes into black type races, to win an £80,000 race like this is great.”

Matthew Chadwick said of Struth: “He was a bit slow out of the gates, a bit asleep and he ended up a bit far back. He got closer and we followed through. I thought I had them covered but the winner just kicked again. He ran well.”

Intinso’s rider Luke Morris said: “He is a gorgeous, big horse. He ran well and will make up into a lovely stayer.”

3.55pm Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic

1 Regal Empire (LADIES) James Tate 3-9-12 Hollie Doyle 13/2

2 Struth (ROW) Charlie Johnston 3-10-01 Matthew Chadwick 11/1

3 Intinso (GBI) John & Thady Gosden 3-9-08 Luke Morris 14/1

4 Sovereign Spirit (ROW) Andrew Balding 3-9-05 Kazuo Yokoyama

5 Satin (GBI) Jessica Harrington IRE 3-10-02 Declan McDonogh

Team standings after race 5

ROW  73

LADIES  58

EUR  41

GBI  28

Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle standings after race 5

Hollie Doyle LADIES   43

Matthew Chadwick ROW   30

Kazuo Yokoyama ROW  25

Thore Hammer Hansen EUR  20

Joao Moreira ROW  18

Saffie Osborne LADIES   15

Frankie Dettori EUR  14

Luke Morris GBI  14

Declan McDonogh GBI  11

Olivier Peslier EUR  7

Tom Marquand GBI  3

Hayley Turner LADIES   0