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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Ascot waits on Dettori before finalising Shergar Cup teams

Frankie Dettori: a favourite with Ascot racegoers
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Three of the four teams of jockeys competing in Saturday's Shergar Cup have been finalised by Ascot, with the racecourse waiting on the availability of Frankie Dettori before confirming the line-up for the European triumvirate.

Due to his deep association with the track, officials are keen for Dettori to be involved if at all possible, but they remain respectful of potential riding commitments elsewhere.

If able to compete Dettori will join Andrasch Starke and Per-Anders Gråberg in the four-team competition won last year by Great Britain and Ireland, for whom Silver Saddle winner Fran Berry returns alongside Adam Kirby and Pat Cosgrave.

A strong rest of the world team features Yutaka Take, Corey Brown and 'Magic Man' Joao Moreira, while the girls team comprises Josephine Gordon, Hayley Turner and Hollie Doyle.

"It's always a bit tricky to finalise teams due to domestic commitments," said Ascot's director of racing and communications Nick Smith on Monday. "For instance, we've only just confirmed today that Ryan Moore will definitely be going to Ireland to ride for Aidan [O'Brien].

"We're still waiting on confirmation from Frankie Dettori. Due to his various interests and retainers he's unable to commit until tomorrow, but hopefully Frankie will be riding.

"The rest of the world team is particularly strong this year with Yutaka Take, who has ridden many times here, Joao Moreira, who is one of the leading riders in the world, and Corey Brown, who won the Melbourne Cup on Rekindling. It's a particularly strong side."

Three of the six races were reopened on Monday - the Dash, Classic and Sprint - despite entries of 23, 22 and 19. Smith explained: "To make the event work optimally we need ten runners and two reserves, so normally you'd be happy with ten or 12 at this stage, but the more opportunity there is to make sure there's as many runners as possible the better as this is a slightly unique raceday.

"The numbers are broadly in line with last year, but with the hot weather and field sizes generally dropping over the last few weeks it's more important than ever to make sure we've as many horses entered as possible."

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The rest of the world team is particularly strong this year
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