Berry plays starring role as Great Britain and Ireland rule
Fran Berry continued his love affair with the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup on Saturday, maintaining his unbeaten record in the competition as part of the winning team for the third time.
For good measure, the Irishman finished the day as leading rider, for which he was awarded the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle as the day's leading points scorer.
Berry made a successful Shergar Cup debut in 2010, in the process winning the Silver Saddle for a first time when part of an Ireland-only team. He was also part of the winning Irish team the following 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
Saturday was his first appearance since, having been ushered off the substitutes bench to replace the absent Ryan Moore, and he played a starring role once more for the Great Britain and Ireland team, who edged out the Rest of the World and Europe thanks to Berry’s last-race win on Golden Apollo.
“It’s been a fantastic day and I’m very thankful to get the call up,” said Berry, who combined with captain Jamie Spencer and Hong Kong-based Neil Callan.
“To ride a couple of winners is fantastic and to win the Silver Saddle is even better. You hope to ride one winner but this is great.”
The first of Berry’s two winners came on the Mick Quinn-trained Great Hall in the Challenge, but it was the last winner, aboard the Tim Easterby-trained Golden Apollo, that brought a punch of the air from the rider crossing the line.
He added: “It was such a tight competition and any one of three teams could have won it, so to hold on in the last was great.
“It’s been a lucky competition for me. I’ve been here three times and it’s always gone well and I’m just grateful for the opportunity. It’s a big day and you get a kick out of it - you work hard all week but it’s all about Saturday winners.
“It’s a full house and outside of Royal Ascot it’s the biggest crowd they get. It’s a big buzz."
Spencer had got his side off to a flyer in the opener, the Dash, on the Dean Ivory-trained Stake Acclaim, in the process notching his 2,000th winner on the Flat in Britain.
“To be the winning team is great," said Spencer. "It all went right and the team’s done a great job. The last race went well and that’s got us over the line.”
It was all to play for heading into the sixth and final race with Great Britain and Ireland holding a five-point lead over Europe, with the Rest of the World a further five points adrift and still in contention.
But along with Berry winning the race, Spencer finished third on Megan Lily, helping to put clear water between themselves and their rivals. The Rest of the World edged second by just three points from Europe, with the the Girls last of four after a disappointing day.
The Ride of the Day award went to Holland’s Adrie de Vries for his stylish effort on Euchen Glen, who came from last to first to win the Stayers.