Gannon grabs Shergar call
Cathy Gannon is ready to grab her Shergar Cup opportunity with both hands as she tries to build on a fruitful season.
The 31-year-old received the call-up for Ascot duty after Hayley Turner broke her ankle in a fall at Yarmouth at the end of July, with the leading lady rider duly having a hand in Gannon's appointment to the team.
However, while Turner may have lent her support to her weighing room colleague, Gannon has plenty on her CV to promote herself, being the only female winner of the Irish apprentice title to date.
Gannon is looking forward to the challenge of the Shergar Cup, but also has plenty of sympathy for Turner having suffered a luckless run of injuries herself over the last year or so.
"It's brilliant to be riding. I watched it last year and I can't believe I'm riding in it this year," she said.
"It's my first time in the competition. Hayley put in a good word for me which was great of her.
"Touch wood, I've had a clear run this year but last year I broke my collarbone, my femur and my jaw.
"It's not very nice to out injured, one minute you're busy and the next minute you're laid up - it's one extreme to another in racing.
"I know what it's like and I really feel for Hayley."
Gannon ended last year with a respectable 43 winners despite her injury woes, but she is already on 30 for this year with over two months of the season still to go.
With the international theme of the Shergar Cup, Gannon's profile could well be raised further still if she features in a finish or two.
"Things are going well this year, I'm on 30 winners and now I get to ride in the Shergar Cup so it's great," she said.
"It goes across the world so it's good to be involved and could be a bit of an eye-opener."
While some of her Shergar Cup opponents will be having a first taste of the Ascot track, Gannon has ridden there numerous times in the last five years but she expects all her rivals to adapt quickly to conditions.
"I don't think I'll really have a home advantage, they're top-class professionals, they'll walk the track and I'm sure it won't take them long to get the hang of things," she said.
"I've ridden at Ascot and I know enough of the track, but I'm sure they will too."
Gannon is part of the Girls Team alongside leading American rider Rosie Napravnik, who rode the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners last year, and New Zealander Lisa Allpress, rider of over 1,000 winners in her homeland.
She said: "Rosie is a very big name in America and Lisa was champion in New Zealand. I've just met them both and they both seem like nice people - hopefully we will make a good team!
"A lot of it is the luck of the draw but we'll be trying our best and hopefully the girls will win.
"I'd love a winner at the Shergar Cup - that would just be brilliant."