Hong Kong’s Matthew Chadwick and the Rest of the World team just missed out on victory in a dramatic conclusion to the Shergar Cup at Ascot on 12 August (Saturday), with the 33-year-old also sharing second place behind Hollie Doyle in the race to be crowned top jockey.
Chadwick recorded three second-place finishes from his first four rides on the card and still had a chance to claim the Silver Saddle for leading rider with a win in the final leg.
However Zaman Jemil was unable to land a blow in the 1200m Shergar Cup Sprint Handicap, while victory for Saffie Osborne on the 7-2 (4.5) favourite Dark Trooper was enough to give the Ladies Team a narrow success over Rest of the World by 78 points to 73.
The day started brightly for Chadwick, who steered Intrinsic Bond into second behind teammate Kazuo Yokoyama and Rogue Lightning, that 1-2 finish catapulting the Rest of the World to 25 points.
The stylish Chadwick took his time in Race 2 aboard Berkshire Rocco and, once the pair got balanced turning for home, made good progress down the outside to run out clear second behind favourite The Very Man.
Chadwick reflected: “The circumstances of the race didn’t really work out that well for us; they went a bit fast. Had they gone a fraction slower, my horse would have been more comfortable and would have been able to get into it better.
“But it is what it is – he ran well and I’m happy.”
Each rider sits out one leg of the competition and with Chadwick back in the weighing room for the third race, the Ladies team filled the first two places to draw level with the Rest of the World.
Chadwick’s mount in Race 4, the Shergar Cup Mile handicap, started the 50-1 outsider of the field.
The Rest of the World looked set to once again take the 15 points for the win as former Hong Kong favourite Joao Moreira appeared to have set the perfect fractions aboard the quirky Fox Tal, only to be denied on the line by Perotto and Europe’s Thore Hammer Hansen.
And there was another near miss in leg five, the Shergar Cup Classic handicap over 2400m, as Chadwick, riding 11-1 chance Struth, made stealthy progress from the rear to flash past the post in a three-way photo.
Once again it was Doyle who just held on, this time aboard Regal Empire, the margin a head.
Chadwick said of Struth: “He was a bit slow out of the gates, a bit asleep and he ended up a bit far back. He got closer and we followed through.
“I thought I had them covered but the winner just kicked again. He ran well.”
The Rest of the World still held a 15 point advantage over the Ladies in the team standings heading into the final race, while Chadwick was the only rider with a mathematical chance of denying Hollie Doyle in the individual standings.
Chadwick was aiming to mirror a performance of one win and three second places on his previous appearance at the Shergar Cup 11 years ago; on that occasion it was trainer Roger Charlton who provided his winner and in a twist of fate, it was the same yard’s Zaman Jemil, a 12-1 chance, who was Chadwick’s mount in the finale.
It was not to be as Zaman Jemil could only finish sixth – one outside the points-scoring places – meaning Doyle was crowned leading individual rider and awarded the Silver Saddle.
The Rest of the World’s 13-point advantage at the head of the team standings also proved insufficient, as a 20-point haul in Race 6 gave the Ladies their narrow victory.
The trio of Hayley Turner, Hollie Doyle and Saffie Osborne made it three wins for the Ladies Team in the last five editions of the Shergar Cup.
Called up after Vincent Ho suffered an injury in Japan, Chadwick maintained his fine record at the event, having been leading rider in the winning Rest of the World team alongside Aaron Gryder and Yutaka Take in 2012.
Reflecting on the 2023 event, Chadwick said: “It is obviously a little frustrating to have three seconds and no winner but it was still a great event to be a part of and I’m very grateful for the chance.
“Looking at my mounts beforehand I didn’t have too many obvious chances and I think they all ran to form.”
Chadwick added: “We were all aware of the team situation before the last and I knew I could still catch the leader. Unfortunately it was not meant to be this time.”