Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup: Team Great Britain & Ireland profiles
A look at the profiles of the jockeys representing team Great Britain & Ireland, who are 5/2 with Coral to emerge victorious in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot.
Jamie Spencer (Ireland, Captain)
Background: Sprang to prominence by winning the Irish 1000 Guineas in 1998 on the Tommy Stack-trained Tarascon at age of 17 when apprentice to Liam Browne. Spencer was brought over to Britain by the Stack family friend, Barney Curley, to ride Magic Combination to win over hurdles at Kempton in January, 1999. He survived a stewards’ enquiry to take 2002 Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival on Edward O’Grady-trained Pizarro, but had concentrated on the Flat and began a two-year contract with trainer Luca Cumani, based in Newmarket, in 2002. Spencer was signed up by the Coolmore team to ride as first-choice rider to replace Mick Kinane in 2004, becoming Ireland’s champion jockey that year, but handed in his notice at Ballydoyle in early 2005 to go freelance. Retained jockey for Jim & Fitri Hay between 2010 and 2012 before signing a two-year deal, which commenced on January 1st, 2013, to ride for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, whose horses run under the Qatar Racing Limited banner. He shocked the racing world by announcing on August 21, 2014, that he would retire from race riding at the end of the year but had a change of heart and now operates as a freelance.
Accolades: Champion Apprentice Ireland (1999), Champion Jockey Ireland (2004), Champion Jockey Britain (2005 & 2007 when dead-heated with Seb Sanders). 20 Royal Ascot winners; has ridden over 2,000 winners worldwide.
British Classic wins: Ladbrokes St Leger (2003 Brian Boru), Investec Oaks (2009 Sariska).
Irish Classic wins: Irish 1,000 Guineas (1998 Tarascon, 2002 Gossamer, 2013 Just The Judge), Irish Oaks (2009 Sariska).
Big-race wins include: Arlington Million (2011 Cape Blanco), Gold Cup (2011 Fame And Glory), Champion Stakes (2005 David Junior), Coral-Eclipse (2006 David Junior), Dubai Duty Free (2006 David Junior), E P Taylor Stakes (2014 Just The Judge), Fillies’ Mile (2001 Gossamer), Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (2006 Desert Lord).
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup: participated in 2008, 2006 and 2004 competitions.
Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (1): 2004 Desert Quest.
Best bet for 2015 edition: Xinbama in Shergar Cup Challenge.
Pat Smullen (Ireland)
Background: Father worked on a farm and Pat became involved in horses at the age of 11 when accompanying his brother Sean to visit Joanna Morgan’s yard. Went on to show jumping and eventing. Served four-year apprenticeship with local trainer Tommy Lacy, enjoying first success aboard Vicosa in an apprentices’ handicap at Dundalk on June 11, 1993. It was Lacy’s suggestion that he rode for trainer Erwan Charpy in Dubai in the winter of 1997 and he went on to become one of leading riders in the Middle-East. Spent two years with trainer Tommy Stack, who gave him first Group win when Tarascon won 1997 Moyglare Stud Stakes. Became stable jockey to Dermot Weld in 1999 following Mick Kinane’s departure to Aidan O’Brien’s stable.
Accolades: Ireland’s champion Flat jockey 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014.
British Classic win: QIPCO 2000 Guineas (Refuse To Bend 2003).
Irish Classic wins: Irish Derby (2004 Grey Swallow), Irish Oaks (2015 Covert Love), Irish 1,000 Guineas (2006 Nightime, 2010 Bethrah), Irish St Leger (2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 Vinnie Roe).
Other major wins include: Gold Cup (2010 Rite Of Passage), Breeders’ Cup Marathon (2008), Matriarch Stakes (2002 Dress To Thrill), Matron Stakes (2002 Dress To Thrill, 2011 Emulous), Moyglare Stud Stakes (1997 Tarascon), National Stakes (2002 Refuse To Bend), Pretty Polly Stakes (2010 Chinese White), Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2015 Free Eagle), Prix de l’Abbaye (2007 Benbaun), Prix Royal-Oak (2001 Vinnie Roe), Tattersalls Gold Cup (2005 Grey Swallow, 2009 Casual Conquest).
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup – participated for the first time in 2010.
Best bet for 2015 edition: Master The World in Shergar Cup Mile.
Graham Lee (Ireland)
Background: A jump jockey for 20 years with over 1,000 winners in that sphere, Graham Lee switched to the Flat in 2012 after a serious hip injury. His parents live close to Galway Racecourse and he started out on the Irish pony-racing circuit and left school at 15 to join handler Noel Meade. Had five rides for Meade and then worked for County Meath-based Des McDonogh, who provided the first winner in 1992. Ger Lyons obtained Lee a position with trainer Mary Reveley in the North-East of England when he was 18. Began riding out for Bill Haigh, before joining Malcolm Jefferson. He was stable jockey for Howard Johnson in County Durham between 2003 and 2006. Ahead of the 2012 Flat turf season, Lee announced that he would switch to riding on the level and has not looked back since. The North Yorkshire-based rider partnered 108 winners in 2012, 127 in 2013 and 159 in 2014. He tasted Group One success on the Flat for the first time when Trip To Paris won the 2015 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
First Winner In Ireland: Blushing Pearl in a Navan handicap hurdle on November 7th, 1992.
First Winner in Britain: Firm Price, claiming hurdle at Musselburgh, January 14th, 1994.
Major Jump wins: Grand National (2004 Amberleigh House), Aintree Bowl (2005 Grey Abbey), Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Arcalis), Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (2005 No Refuge), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2005 Inglis Drever), Bet365 Gold Cup (2007 Hot Weld), Paddy Power Gold Cup (2007 L’Antartique), Scottish Grand National (2004 Grey Abbey).
Major Flat wins: Gold Cup (2015 Trip To Paris), Chipchase Stakes (2012 Maarek, 2013 Jack Dexter), Lancashire Oaks (2014 Pomology, 2015 Lady Tiana), Stewards’ Cup (2012 Hawkeyethenoo), Chester Cup (2015 Trip To Paris), Ormonde Stakes (2015 Clever Cookie), Firth Of Clyde Stakes (2014 Dark Reckoning).
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
Best bet for 2015 edition: Polarisation in Shergar Cup Classic.