Destiny delivers for Minarik in Shergar Cup Dash

German champion claims opening event in Ascot team competition

  • Saturday 10 August
  • News

Stone Of Destiny lunged late to claim a narrow victory in a thrilling Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash at Ascot.

Trained by Andrew Balding, Stone Of Destiny was an 11-2 chance under four-times German champion jockey Filip Minarik – the captain of Team Europe.

Female Australian jockey Jamie Kah cut out much of the running aboard Paul Midgley’s Final Venture and looked set to prevail after seeing off the well-backed 13-8 favourite Danzeno under Frenchman Gerald Mosse.

However, Stone Of Destiny finished with real purpose up the centre of the track to prevail by a nose from Final Venture, with Danzeno just a short-head further away in third and Recon Mission a close-up fourth.

Minarik told Sky Sports Racing: “That feels like winning the King George! It’s my first time in England and a winner at Ascot – it’s a dream come true. What more could you want?

“I was looking for cover for as long as possible as there’s quite a strong wind in the straight.

“My horse loved it.”

Shergar Cup veteran Hayley Turner got her name on the winner’s board after steering Eddystone Rock to a clear-cut win in the two-mile Stayers.

John Best’s 13-2 chance turned for home still full of running and after being given his head by Turner, he readily kicked two and a quarter lengths clear of Theglasgowwarrior under Australian pilot Mark Zahra, with What A Welcome and Minarik in third.

Turner is making her 13th appearance in the annual team competition and last year claimed the Silver Saddle award for top rider.

She said: “I just love it (the Shergar Cup). It’s such a fun day and obviously it’s nice when you’re riding winners as well.

“I’m buzzing.”

Turner went on to complete a double aboard Mark Johnston’s 4-1 favourite Sapa Inca in the Shergar Cup Classic.

Turning out just eight days after filling the runner-up spot at Glorious Goodwood, the three-year-old knuckled down in a driving finish to get the better of Never Do Nothing and Zahra by three-quarters of a length.

“She’s very tough and stayed at it well,” Turner added.

Zahra went one better aboard the James Given-trained Indianapolis in the Shergar Cup Challenge.

Formerly trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, the four-year-old has run some solid races in defeat for his new connections this year – most recently finishing fourth in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock.

Zahra’s fellow Rest Of The World Team member Vincent Ho looked to have got his fractions spot-on aboard last year’s winner Genetics in front, but 7-1 shot Indianapolis finished with a flourish to get up in the shadows of the post and deny the Hong Kong-based rider by half a length.

Mandarin, the 7-2 favourite, was a nose away in third under Minarik.

“It’s a great feeling. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” said Zahra.

“The trainer told me the horse is a little bit quirky and told me not to get there too early or too late. It was just a matter of timing it and the horse on the outside (Mandarin) might have helped and given him a little urge late.”