Shergar Cup tries new colours scheme

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Shergar Cup tries new colours scheme
The jockeys competing in the four-team Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot next month will wear team colours for the first time.
The Shergar Cup had a somewhat troubled adolescence, as traditionalists bridled at both its concept and innovations as a team event in a sport that has always taken the individual approach, but it has captured the imagination of the public.
 A 27,772 turnout for last year’s meeting was ahead of the gate for the more prestigious King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes day. Even if a proportion were only there for the post-race concert it has cemented the Shergar Cup’s place in a part of the season which was often bereft of a landmark card. 
The sport’s card has been marked about the way it markets itself and, with the Racing For Change organisation’s attempts to redefine the sport as a more appealing package to a wider public, support for new ideas seems to be easier to generate. 
The Racehorse Owners Association has agreed to a one-year trial for the team colours concept in the belief that this will add to the sense of a team competition. The three jockeys riding for the Great Britain team will wear red and white colours, while the jockeys representing Ireland will wear green and white, the jockeys riding for Europe will wear blue and white and the Rest of the World team will wear black and white. 
Distinguishing caps and sleeves - checks, hoops and stars - will be used to ensure that commentators, racegoers and TV viewers can differentiate between the jockeys riding within each team.
Nick Smith, Ascot’s head of communications, hopes that this will help emphasise the team element of the competition. “We are very grateful to the ROA for giving us the go-ahead for this trial. Seeing their horses in their own colours is obviously important to owners so the ROA is to be applauded for its flexibility and foresight in lending its weight to the initiative, which is aimed at enabling racegoers to follow more easily this unique team competition,” he said.
“The Shergar Cup has been the best-attended race day at Ascot outside the royal meeting in recent years, attracting a crowd of around 30,000, many of whom are new to the sport and to whom this initiative is expected to appeal. It should also add to the sense of fun for viewers watching at home on At The Races, who have exciting plans for all-day coverage from Ascot, which is their stand alone afternoon card.”
Michael Harris, the chief executive of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, explaining why his organisation was backing the idea, said: “Ascot has always made this one-off day rewarding for owners, with no entry fees, decent prize money for races of their grades paid down to last place, number cloth sponsorship for every runner and complimentary hospitality throughout the day. This is a one-off event and I hope that owners really get behind the trial.” 
At a time when funding and a fixture list that appear to be out of real control appear to be the main ingredients for a financial meltdown Nick Attenborough, spokesman for Racing For Change, was probably quite happy with anything positive to comment about. “We’re delighted that team silks have been agreed for the Free Shergar Cup. Ascot has done a great job of building this day into a major event which attracts many novice racegoers. This latest initiative will further enhance it.”
That the Shergar Cup is a winner has been proved in black and white by the balance sheet of paying customers. Now Ascot just hopes it can work in colour as well. 



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