Few people left Ascot Racecourse on Saturday sporting a broader smile than Hayley Turner, writes Dave Wright.
She had helped The Girls win the team event on Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day whilst also taking the top-rider award.
“I can’t believe it,” said the 35-year-old jockey from Nottingham. “I’ve been coming to the Shergar Cup for 12 years now and it is a very special day. The best thing is my whole family is here as well. This is my favourite day of the year.”
Turner, Josephine Gordon and Hollie Doyle landed the team prize with a total of 76 points, six more than the Europe team who were runners-up with Rest of the World and GB & Ireland well behind.
Gordon commented: “It’s been really good fun. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our day and it’s great to win.”
The battle to become top jockey and take home the Silver Saddle went right to the wire with happy Hayley edging out Hong Kong-based Joao Moreira by just one point, 39-38 after finishing second to him in the final race.
In front of a crowd of more than 31,000, Doyle had got her team off to a flying start by winning the opening five-furlong sprint on 6/1 shot Tis Marvellous, delivering the Clive Cox-trained four-year-old with a well-timed late challenge in the final furlong to beat Gracious John (ridden by Fran Berry) by a length and a quarter, with Turner third on Line Of Reason.
The stayers’ handicap over nearly two miles was won by Cleonte (9/2), ridden by Sweden’s champion jockey Per-Anders Graberg and trained by Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding.
Three-quarters of a length behind was Stars Over The Sea, ridden by Gerald Mosse, to give the European team a one-two, while the Turner-ridden Byron Flyer was the same distance away in third.
Balding was back in the winner’s enclosure after the next race with 9/1 shot Genetics, the mount of Andrasch Starke, finishing 12 lengths clear at the end of one and a half miles with Gordon on Twin Star taking second place.
There were 12 more points for the Girls team when Turner took the one-mile Shergar Cup Challenge on the Stuart Williams-trained Via Serendipity (7/2jt fav).
Berkshire Blue was the third winner on the card for the Balding yard to give Moreira victory in the Shergar Cup Classic Handicap.
The well-backed 9/2 chance just held the late bid of Blue Laureate by a head with Bayshore Freeway two lengths away in third.
The mounts of Doyle and Turner filled the last pair of the 10 runners and they must have felt their hopes of lifting the team award had gone.
However, in the final race of the day, Turner claimed second place on Roundhay Park behind Moreira on the John Gallagher-trained Green Power (12/1) and the 10 points were enough to clinch the individual and team prizes.
As annual Shergar Cup days go, this will stand among the most enjoyable.
Team points: The Girls 76 (Turner 39, Doyle 22, Gordon 15), Europe 70 (Graberg 25, Starke 25, Mosse 20), Rest of the World 48 (Moreira 38, Brown 10, Take 0) GB & Ireland 46 (Cosgrave 21, Berry 15, Kirby 10).