Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup
|Saturday 9th August 2014|
S'manga "Bling" Khumalo amongst outstanding riders from around the world set to contest the 2014 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup
After bursting on to the scene a few years ago, S'manga Khumalo, nicknamed "Bling" on account of his peroxide blond hair, has won a plethora of Grade 1 races in South Africa, notably last year's Durban July on Heavy Metal.
In doing so, he made history by becoming the first black South African to ride the winner of the continent of Africa's premier race.
S'manga will ride in the UK for the first time in next month's Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup (Saturday, August 9), alongside Japanese legends Yutaka Take (captain) and Yuichi Fukunaga, on the Rest of the World team.
"Winning the Durban July was my career highlight and sent a message to all black South Africans that racing is a sport for all in the modern era," said S'manga.
"To be recognised globally and invited to ride in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup on the back of that victory is another very proud moment for me and I look forward to meeting and riding with the two Japanese legends in the Rest of the World Team."
Take, the 18-time Japanese champion, has partnered four winners at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, while Fukunaga has ridden just once in the competition back in 2006. Recently, the latter has struck a redoubtable partnership with Just A Way (the highest rated horse in the world in 2014), winning the Group 1 Tenno Sho and the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free on World Cup Night, a victory which earned him an automatic invitation to the world's premier jockeys' competition on August 9.
On the Girls' team, Hayley Turner will make her eighth appearance in the competition having missed last year due to injury. Like Yutaka Take, she has ridden four winners at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
She is joined by Canadian star, Emma-Jayne Wilson, who participated in the competition in 2006 and 2012, and Steffi Hofer from Germany, daughter of trainer Mario Hofer, making her Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
Hofer commented: "I was absolutely thrilled to receive the invitation.
"I have always followed the event with great interest, and even whilst being in the top six or seven jockeys riding, numerically, in Germany this year, I never thought I would get a chance to take part at this level - this has come as a huge endorsement.
"I hope that I can play my part in getting a good result for the girls!"
For Europe, Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni, making his debut in the competition, will ride so long as they are not claimed to ride elsewhere by their retaining owners.
Their confirmed team-mate, also making his debut in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, will be Dutch rider Adrie de Vries, who is based in Germany. He enjoyed success in the Group 1 Preis Von Europa last year on Meandre and has also won the Grosser Preis von Baden and the Italian Oaks. He triumphed at Royal Ascot on Energizer in the 2012 Tercentenary Stakes and leads the German jockeys' championship for 2014.
For Great Britain & Ireland, Tom Queally will captain the team and it is hoped he will be joined by Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes, who are keen to take part but may be subject to stable claims.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman Colm McLoughlin said, "The 2014 renewal looks like being a fascinating contest bringing together some of the world's most accomplished riders.
"We're delighted that the competition will provide some of them with their first experience of riding at this internationally renowned venue, and I am sure they will be eager to impress alongside the more experienced Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup contenders."
This year the value of the competition has risen by 33%, with all six races now £40,000 handicaps rather than £30,000 last year. Each jockey will get five rides as they bid to win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for their team and there is £3,000 for the Silver Saddle-winning jockey (the top jockey overall). Points are awarded 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 for the first five horses home with 4 points for a non-runner.
There will be three reserves declared for each race this year (up from two), all of whose connections will receive £500 for travel costs if the horses are not required to run.
To book tickets or for further information, please call 0844 346 3000 or visit www.ascot.co.uk
Teams as follows:
RoW: Khumalo, Yutaka Take, Yuichi Fukunaga
Girls: Hayley Turner, Steffi Hofer, Emma-Jayne Wilson
Britain/Ire: Ryan Moore (tbc), Richard Hughes (tbc), Tom Queally
Europe: Adrie de Vries (tbc), Frankie Dettori (tbc), Andrea Atzeni