Berry claims Silver Saddle and secures victory for Great Britain and Ireland
Fran Berry claimed his second Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle and secured victory for his Great Britain and Ireland team as Golden Apollo won the concluding Shergar Cup Sprint at Ascot.
Any one of three teams and four riders could have won the prizes coming into the last and Berry, as well as Adrie de Vries and Jamie Spencer, all held chances in the closing stages.
However, it was 4-1 shot Golden Apollo who came out on top, with Lualiwa and Anthony Delpech in second, ahead of Spencer and Megan Lilly in third.
Winning trainer Tim Easterby's thoughts were already turning to future targets for Golden Apollo after securing the £45,000 prize.
"One day he'll be an Ayr Gold Cup horse – whether it will be this year or next year I don't know, but he'll be entered," he said. "It's beautiful ground out there today and just what he wanted.
"I wasn't here for our Royal Ascot winner and I got a bit of stick from other trainers. We hadn't had a Shergar Cup winner before, but Flying Pursuit was second in this race last year."
1. Great Britain and Ireland 86
2. Rest of the World 67
3. Europe 64
4. The Girls 23
1. Fran Berry 37
2. Jamie Spencer 32
3. Alexander Pietsch 31
4. Anthony Delpech 30
World stars shine
The Rest of the World became the third team to post a one-two in the day's penultimate race, the Shergar Cup Classic, as Glenys The Menace and South African Anthony Delpech got the better of Contango and Kerrin McEvoy late on to score.
McEvoy was all out to get the better of Fran Berry and Bear Valley aboard 2-1 favourite Contango but was powerless to prevent the late swoop of 8-1 shot Glenys The Menace, who was backing up only two days after running at Sandown.
"Last year we thought she was pretty decent and she won us two races, but she was always going to be a better three-year-old, as she's so much bigger now," said winning trainer John Best.
"Earlier on this year we thought she might be Listed class or thereabouts and she's not far off that now. That's a brave effort to come here and do that two days after finishing second on soft ground at Sandown.
"She was drawn wide and I told the jockey she would benefit from a bit of cover which she couldn't get last time in a small field."
Best added the filly could now head either to the Melrose Stakes or head to France for a Listed race.
Bear Valley's third, meanwhile, allowed Great Britain and Ireland to reclaim the lead at the top of the standings with 64 points, with the Rest of the World closing the gap on the leaders to only ten points.
Pietsch of a ride
Alexander Pietsch was a winner on his first visit to the Shergar Cup as Europe landed another blow with Raising Sand winning the Mile for trainer Jamie Osborne at 10-1.
In a race run at a brisk tempo, courtesy of Emma-Jayne Wilson and Medburn Dream at the front, Pietsch struck the front powerfully approaching the final furlong and was eased down to score for the first time since last October.
"Raising Sand threatened to be a really nice horse last year but has obviously had his issues," said Osborne. "We fancied him for the Lincoln but he pulled up, and we never truly got to the bottom of what was causing those issues.
"We were hopeful today, but I didn't expect him to win with that amount of ease. There's something about this place that suits him and the very valuable seven-furlong handicap here on Champions Day could be on his agenda if he goes up enough."
The win meant the pendulum swung in favour of Europe again, with Great Britain and Ireland relegated to second once again, while Kerrin McEvoy's second lifted the Rest of the World off the bottom of the table for the first time.
It also saw Pietsch take the lead from Jamie Spencer in the race for the Silver Saddle, with only six point separating those two and Adrie de Vries at the top of the standings.
Berry good job
Great Britain and Ireland hit back with a one-two of the their own in the third race of the afternoon at Ascot, the Shergar Cup Challenge, as Fran Berry scored aboard Great Hall, with Jamie Spencer claiming second with the well-backed favourite Gawdawpalin.
Adrie de Vries was in the mix again having taken the day's second race, finishing third aboard Oasis Fantasy for Europe.
Trainer Micky Quinn was delighted with the performance of Great Hall in the £45,000 contest and said: "That's a great result, a nice day out and a nice prize. Great Hall is our first winner at Ascot but we don't have many. I hate saying it, but we are only a small yard.
"He had a nice pace, liked the ground, and came there to win his race. Fran's had three rides for me – two winners and a second – so there were three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers when the draw for the jockeys came out. I had a few quid on at 20-1 when I knew we had got in."
Berry added: "I was delighted to get the call-up, it's a privilege to be here, but even better to ride a winner. It's a big thrill, and even bigger for Mick Quinn, he's been good to me since I turned freelance.
"It's great to give Mick a top winner like this in a valuable handicap. It's big kick for him as he has a small stable. He had the horse in top shape and was quietly confident; the horse was back down to his best rating and the [soft] ground was a big factor for him."
Team Europe struck back in style as Adrie de Vries and Echen Glen led home a one-two for his side in the second race of the day at Ascot.
Jamie Spencer went to the front aboard Berrahri in the two-mile contest in a bid for a second win of the day but it was the Europeans who took over in the straight after what developed into a sprint for home.
Adrie hit the front on the rail to hold off his teammate, with Graceland, ridden by Keita Tosaki back in third for the Rest of the World.
"It was good tactics from the trainer [Jim Goldie]; it was his wish to settle the horse out the back of the field and it was the right one," said De Vries, for whom this was a first winner at the Shergar Cup.
"I wasn't expecting it so early today – I thought my best rides were at the end of the day. This is my second win around Ascot. It's a brilliant place and today is a nice day. We will make the best of it. We have some nice runs to come."
Paddy Power responded to Euchen Glen's win by cutting the four-year-old to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Betfred Ebor at York later in the month.
Spencer strikes first
Jamie Spencer swooped late in trademark style to land the opening race of the Shergar Cup aboard the well-backed Stake Acclaim and deny super-sub Hollie Doyle a dream start on Sir Robert Cheval.
Stake Acclaim, sent off the 4-1 joint favourite for the 5f Dash, was produced late by Spencer, captain of the Great Britain and Ireland team, to grab Sir Robert Cheval late on, just as it looked like Doyle, deputising for the ill Michelle Payne, had the race in the bag.
Kerrin McEvoy, who has himself been battling illness since arriving in Britain
The win not only gave Great Britain and Ireland an early lead in the team competition but gave Spencer a 2,000th British Flat winner.
"We got the good start we needed there – it's good," said Spencer. "We planned to go forward with Stake Acclaim, but that didn't happen. They were going quick and he wasn't able to muster the early pace so I left him alone, and hoped he'd pick up in the last couple of furlongs, which he did. I was trying to go from A to B at a comfortable speed for him.
"He is basically a six-furlong horse and it was only in the last 100 yards that I thought I was going to win. I rode to be placed when he wasn't travelling, and then 100 yards down I was pretty sure I was going to get her [Hollie Doyle]."
Doyle, meanwhile, was delighted with her first experience of the Shergar Cup and said: "It was a great first spin. He travelled lovely but I knew they’d be coming for me. Hopefully we can go one better at some stage."