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AscotWeaver and Roberts Duel At Ascot
26/07/06

Jason Weaver, manager of the Great Britain & Ireland Team in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday 12th August, is shedding the pounds and getting himself into shape! He will be coming out of retirement four and a half years after he handed in his jockey's licence to take on Michael Roberts, manager of the Rest of the World Team, in the Ladbrokes Shergar Cup Duel, a match race over 6 furlongs. Roberts was champion jockey in the UK in 1992, retired from riding in 2001 and is now a highly successful trainer in his native South Africa.

The Ladbrokes Shergar Cup Duel will be run prior to the first official race on the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup card. Ladbrokes will also act as "Official Bookmaker" for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, pricing up many different markets in the world's highest profile international jockeys competition.

The entries for the six Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup races are released today and reveal an excellent overall entry of 375 horses. Wokingham runner-up Firenze is one of 46 in the £30,000 Sodexho Prestige Shergar Cup Distaff; Armigerent, runner-up in the TNT July Stakes (Group 2), is one of 117 entries in the £30,000 Porthault Shergar Cup Juvenile; the fast improving Bentong, winner of the Weatherbys Insurance Summer Sprint at Redcar last weekend, is one of 47 entries in the £30,000 Sodexho Prestige Shergar Cup Sprint; last year's Chester Cup runner-up, Swift Sailor, is one of 38 entries in the £30,000 Carvill Shergar Cup Stayers; Glistening, who looked unlucky in defeat in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, is one of 48 entered for the £40,000 Michael Page International Shergar Cup Challenge; and Pentecost is one of 79 entries in the £40,000 Sony Shergar Cup Mile, a race he won in both 2003 and 2004.

Trainer Brendan Powell will provide two in-form horses for the Ladbrokes Shergar Cup Duel in Pic Up Sticks, a winner of his last two races, and Who's Winning, also successful last time out and who carries top weight in the last race at Sandown tonight. With Weaver likely to weigh in rather heavier (to put it kindly!) than 'Muis' Roberts, he is set to partner Pic Up Sticks who will have to concede more than a stone to his stable companion based on their current handicap ratings.

There will be no prize money for the race which will not be run under official rules. However, the winning rider will gain 5 potentially vital points towards his team's total in the quest to win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, in which Weaver's Great Britain & Ireland team will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat at the hands of Roberts' overseas stars.

As well as having the opportunity to contribute their own points towards the event, Weaver and Roberts will also have the crucial task of selecting which horses will represent their teams after the 48 declarations have been made. This process, together with the allocation of the mounts to the jockeys, will take place at Ascot at lunchtime on Thursday 10th August and will be broadcast live on At The Races.

"I feel really lucky that the opportunity has come up to ride at the redeveloped Ascot," said 34-year-old Weaver. "It's been great fun getting into shape and now I'm just aiming to go out there and win. Muis's team has got the better of mine in the last two Shergar Cups and I want to make sure it's me that gets the first points on the board this time by winning the Ladbrokes Duel!"

Michael Roberts, 52, said: "I'm dying to see the new track which looks so impressive on TV and I'm really looking forward to riding in the race. Jason's team had better watch out because I'm very keen on the idea of making it three-in-a-row for the Rest of the World!"

Mike Dillon, PR Director at Ladbrokes, said: "We're looking forward to offering a wide range of markets on the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and I think it's fantastic that this year Hayley Turner and Emma-Jayne Wilson are being given their chance to shine alongside international champions like Frankie Dettori, Mick Kinane, Glen Boss and Doug Whtye.

"The Ladbrokes Duel will be a bit of fun for everyone watching, though I suspect that Jason and Michael will be taking it very seriously!"

The full line-ups for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup are:

Great Britain & Ireland: Jason Weaver (Team Manager, GB); Jamie Spencer
(Captain, IRE), Mick Kinane (IRE), Robert Winston (IRE), Hayley Turner
(GB), Kevin Darley (GB), Seb Sanders (GB).

Rest of the World: Michael Roberts (Team Manager, SA); Frankie Dettori (Captain, ITY), Glen Boss (AUS), Emma-Jayne Wilson (CAN), Doug Whyte (SA), Gerald Mosse (FR), Yuichi Fukunaga (JPN).

The six races are limited to 10 runners (in the event of non-runners, 2 reserves can be brought into each race up until 12 noon on the raceday), five racing for each team, and points are awarded on a 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 basis to the first five horses home. The team with the highest total after the sixth race will lift the Shergar Cup.

The jockeys will be signing autographs from 12 noon to 12.30pm, the Opening Ceremony will be at 12.40pm, the Ladbrokes Shergar Cup Duel at 12.50pm, the first race is at 1.20pm and the last at 4.10pm. At 5pm a free concert will start in the Old Paddock, featuring Charlotte Church who will be on stage at 5.45pm.

Adult ticket prices: £25 Premier Admission and £15 General Admission. 10% advance booking discounts available. All accompanied children aged 16 and under admitted FREE. Ring 0870 727 1234 or visit www.ascot.co.uk

AscotGirl Power At Ascot!
18/07/06

Charlotte Church stars in free concert as top female riders compete on the royal turf.

Charlotte Church, the 20-year-old singer whose new album, 'Tissues and Issues', has catapulted her to success in the pop world after nearly eight years as an international classical star, will perform a live concert at Ascot Racecourse after racing on Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Day, Saturday 12th August.

The £200,000 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is the world's premier international jockeys' tournament, featuring six star riders from Great Britain & Ireland taking on six champions from the Rest of the World over six races on Ascot's sensational new track. The irrepressible Italian, Frankie Dettori, will lead the Rest of the World, with team-mates including Hong Kong ace Doug Whyte and Aussie superstar, Glen Boss. Reigning UK champion Jamie Spencer will be one of the stars on the Great Britain & Ireland Team alongside the likes of Irish legend Mick Kinane and former UK champion, Kevin Darley.

For the first time in this prestigious event, two female riders will take part, with 23-year-old Hayley Turner, hailed as the best female rider ever to emerge from this country, riding for Great Britain & Ireland and the 24-year-old Canadian riding sensation Emma-Jayne Wilson, who beat the men to be champion jockey at Canada's premier track, Woodbine, with 175 winners last year, on the Rest of the World Team.

"With two young females making history by riding in the highest profile event of their careers, we thought it would be very appropriate to book Britain's highest profile young female singer to entertain the crowds after racing," said Ascot's Marketing Manager, Laura Wearn. "The Sport of Kings has been male-dominated throughout the centuries, but at Ascot in August it is three exceptionally talented females whom we hope will make all the headlines."

Gates open at 11am with the jockeys signing autographs at 12 noon and the Opening Ceremony starting at 12.40pm. The last race is due off at 4.10pm and the concert will start in the beautiful surroundings of the Old Paddock at 5pm. Support act, Lorraine, one of Norway's top bands, will be on stage first, with Charlotte Church due to play for an hour from 5.50pm.

Charlotte, whose hits include the Number 2 single 'Crazy Chick', has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide since she burst on to the scene at the age of 12 with 'Voice Of An Angel'. As well as the swaggering pop anthem 'Crazy Chick', her album 'Tissues and Issues', on which she co-wrote most of the songs, also features the Motown infused 'Show A Little Faith' and the bluesy vitriol of 'Fool No More', as well as 'Easy Way Out', co-written with Gary Barlow and Eliott Kennedy.

Tickets bought in advance for Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Day start at £13.50 for General Admission and £22.50 for Premier Admission. Group tickets for 10 or more people are £11.25 each for General Admission and £22.50 for Premier Admission. Hospitality starts from £75 per person + VAT. The concert is free for all racegoers.

AscotFemale Jockeys Star For The First Time In The Shergar Cup
22/06/06

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday, August 12 is the world's premier international jockeys' tournament, featuring six star riders representing Great Britain & Ireland taking on six international superstars riding for the Rest of the World.

At stake is the highly-coveted Shergar Cup, not to mention prize money for the owners and cash bonuses and awards for the jockeys, trainers and stable staff involved in the day totalling well over £220,000.

Points are awarded on a 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 basis to the first five horses home in each race of the six races and the team with the highest total after the sixth race will lift the Shergar Cup.

Hayley Turner
hayley turner

For the first time this year, two female jockeys will have a unique opportunity to demonstrate their riding skills alongside the world's top male jockeys. Last year's joint champion UK apprentice jockey, Hayley Turner, generally acknowledged as the most promising female rider ever to emerge in the 400-year history of the Sport of Kings in this country, will be on the Great Britain and Ireland Team.

On the Rest of the World Team will be Emma-Jayne Wilson, a riding phenomenon from Canada. She burst onto the North American racing scene last year when landing the riding title at Woodbine, Canada.

At its 167-day meet, the 24-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, rode 175 winners from 1,096 mounts, becoming the first female to take the title in its 50-year history, and only the third ever apprentice to do so, following Sandy Hawley in 1969 and Mickey Walls in 1991.

Her overall record for 2005 saw her win 180 races, notching over Can $6.3 million in total prize money. She partnered Classic Stamp to land the Grade Two Bell Canadian Stakes and Our Madison to take the Ontario Lassie Stakes.

Wilson wanted to be a jockey from a young age, and has ridden since she was nine. She studied equine management at Guelph University, and rode her first winner on only her second ever ride, on a horse called Ali Olah at Fort Erie, on August 28, 2004.

Her achievements on the racetrack were rewarded with a Sovereign Reward for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey and an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in North America - becoming only the second woman ever to land the apprentice Eclipse award.

Wilson will lose her apprentice allowance this year - known as a ‘bug’ - but is hopeful that this will not affect her career. Her agent Mike Luider and many trainers believe she has the potential to go all the way to the top.

Though the full line-up for the Great Britain and Ireland Team has yet to be confirmed, Hayley is likely to be riding alongside the likes of champions Kieren Fallon, Jamie Spencer, Mick Kinane and Kevin Darley, while Emma-Jayne will be lining up alongside the inimitable Frankie Dettori, Australian star Glen Boss, the multiple Hong Kong champion Doug Whyte (who hails from South Africa), Japanese ace Yuichi Fukanaga and French star Gerald Mosse.

"The 2006 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is going to be a ground-breaking competition, with two young female flat jockeys put under the spotlight for the first time in this country alongside many of the world's greatest male riders," commented the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Event Manager, Alistair Haggis.

"The Sport of Kings has always been male-dominated, but this year we have already seen Pam Sly saddle Speciosa to win the Stan James 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, so becoming the first British lady to train a British Classic winner, and now we have the most promising young female to emerge from this country being given a unique opportunity to prove herself against the men.

"With Emma-Jayne having taken Canada by storm last year, it will be fascinating to see how they get on alongside superstars like Frankie Dettori."

The Shergar Cup has taken place at Ascot since 2000, though last year it was not staged because of the £200 million redevelopment at Ascot. This year it will be back with a bang in the sparkling new facilities at the world's most famous racecourse.

The first race is at 1.35pm and the last at 4.10pm. At 5pm a free concert will start in the stunning surroundings of the old paddock. Headlining the concert is Charlotte Church, who will be on stage at 5.45pm.

General Admission costs £15 and Premier Admission £25, with advance bookings of 10% available (increasing to 25% for groups of 10 or more). Accompanied children aged 16 and under are admitted FREE.

To book, visit www.ascot.co.uk or call 0870 727 1234.

HAYLEY TURNER FACTFILE
Age: 23

Born: January 3, 1983, in Nottingham

Height: 5ft 2in

Background: Taught to ride by her mother, a riding instructor. Started riding out for trainer Mark Polglase, who supplied her first winner, attended the Northern Racing College, and then was apprenticed to Michael Bell in Newmarket.

First Ride: Markellis, Southwell, March 27, 2000, Bet Direct From Littlewoods Handicap

First Winner: Generate, Pontefract, June 4, 2000, Pontefract Apprentice Series (Round 2) Handicap - her eighth ride

First Double: August 19, 2002, Brighton, on Blue Streak and Timeless Chick

Achievements: First woman to be crowned champion apprentice when partnering 44 winners during the 2005 Flat (turf) season - sharing the title with Saleem Golam. Also became only the fourth woman in Britain to ride out her claim, following Alex Greaves, Emma O’ Gorman and Lisa Jones

Number of Wins (calendar year 2000-2005): 1; -; 9; 14; 34; 53

Wins in 2006: 13 (up to Tuesday, June 20, 2006)

First Royal Ascot Ride: Partnered 100/1 shot Skidrow into 5th place in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot at York on June 16, 2005 - she was the only female jockey riding at the venue that week

Gay Kelleway is the only female jockey to have ridden a winner at Royal Ascot, having partnered Sprowston Boy to victory in the 1987 Queen Alexandra Stakes.

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