Europe claim Shergar success
Ice-cool captain Gerald Mosse guided his European team to an emphatic victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot.
The hugely-experienced Frenchman and his compatriot Ioritz Mendizabal both had Mark Johnston to thank as the trainer provided them with a winner each in the four-sided jockey competition.
Mosse had also been involved the last time Europe were successful back in 2008 and picked up the Silver Saddle prize for top individual rider on both occasions.
"It was excellent," he said. "It was a great atmosphere, the weather was good and everyone enjoyed it. I won it before, and the benefit of being mature is you get the chance to come here again and again."
With points given to the first five home, the final standings were Europe on 91, Great Britain and Ireland on 61, Rest of the World 46 and the Girls on 40.
Europe had a virtually unassailable advantage by the fifth race, the Pagegroup Shergar Cup Challenge, where their light blue colours filled the first three spots home.
It was Mendizabal this time, charging four and a half lengths clear aboard Star Lahib (5/1), with Mosse and another Johnston runner, Sadler's Risk, second and Andreas Starke and Icebuster filling the frame.
Johnston ran five in the Keltbray Shergar Cup Classic and was rewarded by a one-two-three, with Mosse doing the honours on Royal Skies (7/1) ahead of Bushel and Statutory.
"Ioritz rides for me when I have runners in France, although he is less known than some of the others, and I use Gerald as well, so of the foreign riders they would have been my first choices."
The trainer did say: "I'll be honest, I come here for the prize-money as with only 10 runners a race I can't resist."
Kieren Fallon was given a four-day whip ban for his efforts on Bushel (August 24-27), but the Great Britain and Ireland captain had delivered one of two of his team's winners.
Fallon's side had been on top at the start, with firstly James Doyle bringing back a reminder of that glittering Royal Ascot treble as he lifted Nine Realms (9/2) in the Les Ambassadeurs Casino Shergar Cup Mile.
"We like to support the competition, they are quite good races and it's great fun, with a good atmosphere," said trainer William Haggas.
"The owner, David Hearson, has been very patient as I keep telling him he's a nice horse only to ring him up and tell him he's out for another four months. Hopefully we'll have some fun before the end of the season."
Ed Dunlop was delighted to have Fallon aboard Homeric, who likes the course and came widest of all under the determined veteran to prevail in a tight finish over fellow 9/2 joint-favourite Mutual Regard in the Redcentric Shergar Cup Stayers Handicap.
Highland Castle set a dawdling pace and eventually finished third, but he was relegated to fourth after causing interference and Cathy Gannon was handed a four-day careless riding ban (August 24-27).
It was worse for her Girls colleague Lisa Allpress on Broxbourne, who received a seven-day whip ban (August 24-30)
"Kieren thought they would go no pace and he was right, I thought it was a brilliant ride," Dunlop said. "He was either going to come here or go for a two-mile handicap at York. We'll still think about that."
Joao Moreira entered into the spirit of things as he punched the air with delight after winning the Barclays Shergar Cup Dash.
The Brazilian, who is utterly dominant on the Singapore racing scene, was making his Shergar Cup debut, helped 11/2 chance Ahtoug to come clear of Doyle and Steps.
"I'm so glad to have been invited here and to ride a winner is just a delight," said Moreira.
"I was a bit nervous beforehand but I knew he had a chance. The atmosphere is great and the people here breathe racing."
Moreira's nickname in Singapore is 'Magic', but he said: "I'm not magic, man, I'm just a lucky boy."
It was all over bar the shouting when his team-mate and US Hall Of Fame member Gary Stevens and Annunciation (8/1) short-headed 3/1 favourite Noble Deed and Rosie Napravnik in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint.