Shergar Cup: Take shines at Ascot, while team finishes third overall; Ireland turns tables with grand finale comeback
Yutaka take wins in the Shergar Cup Stayers.
"Ride of The Day" ceremony
Yutaka Take made Japan proud while winning unanimous nods of approval from a crowd of more than 30,000 for his silken ride of Ile De Re at Ascot on Saturday. Take, riding in the Aug. 6 six-race Shergar Cup team jockey competition at the world's arguably most esteemed racetrack, not only earned all-around praise, but was chosen for having turned in the "Ride of the Day," no easy feat when up against some of the world's best jockeys six times around.
The Rest of the World team, comprised of Take, Australian Hugh Bowman and Hong Kong top rider Douglas Whyte, led the competition for most of the afternoon and were but a point away from the Great Britain team after the fifth race. The Irish, however, swooped in in a big way for a last-minute comeback in the finale, the Shergar Cup Sprint. It was an Irish one-two power finish with Fran Berry on Morache Music and Desert Law under Colm O'Donoghue, who had picked up the Classic earlier aboard Parlour Games. Richard Hughes scored three points for a fifth on Loki's Revenge.
"That was a good way to end the day," said Berry. "I think Richard was fifth and Colm was second so when we were pulling up we were doing our sums and we thought we'd got it.
"I had a great day here last year and I'd like to thank Ascot for the opportunity to come back. If we could work it out we'd love to do something similar in Ireland as it seems a great way to get new people into racing."
The Ireland team ended with 70 points overall and its third Shergar Cup competition victory in a row. Great Britain was second with 63 points, followed by the Rest of the World team in third with 57 points and Europe in last with 50.
The Silver Saddle, the coveted trophy for the individual with the most points, went to Paul Hanagan, who boosted his final score to 35 points with a win of the Mile aboard Sarrsar and a third place on Firebeam in the final race.
The Dash, which Take sat out, went to teammate Bowman aboard Dungannon.
Trainer Clive Cox said: "You don't need to worry about the jockey as they are all among the best in the world. Mirco held him up and followed instructions perfectly."
It was in the Shergar Cup Stayers that Take shone, displaying the coolheadedness that epitomizes his character and his appeal. The 42-year-old Take showed the same kind of patience this time around aboard Ile De Re that he had shown four years earlier when paired with Leg Spinner. His hold-up handling in the 3,200-meter race allowed the 5-year-old Ile De Re (by Linamix) to sweep into the lead with a furlong to go, then hold on to beat Hanagan and Woolfall Treasure by a length.
"The plan was to ride him in a similar way to Leg Spinner," Take said of Ile De Re later. "He ran very free and I was quite tired after the race, but was very happy to win."
Kevin Frost, representative for trainer Ian Williams, said, "Yutaka gave him a brilliant ride."
Take had similar feelings about his fifth Shergar Cup to date. "They were all brilliant races and it was a fun day. I had the goal to take home a win, so I was very happy when I got the second race," he said. "Only 12 riders can take part in the Shergar Cup so I am very proud to represent Japan. To be chosen as a member of the Rest of the World team's three members is a great honor. And I was able to notch a fourth win at Ascot." Not quite ready to hand over the baton, however, Take said. "I'll try my hardest to once again be chosen as a member of the Rest of the World team next year."
Take finished 10th overall with the 15 points won in the Stayers. His other four rides brought him zero points for one sixth-place finish (Master of Arts in the Mile) and three seventh-place finishes (Art History in the Classic, Rock A Doodle Doo in the Challenge and Googlette in the Sprint) in fields of 10 each.
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