If it was purely down to world rankings, the Rest of the World team would win tomorrow’s Shergar Cup international jockeys’ challenge at Ascot with something to spare. In reality, of course, it isn’t.
The TRC Global Rankings are designed to measure an individual’s efficiency and level of achievement at the highest level of horse racing. But it all depends on the opportunities they get.
The algorithm that calculates them every week over a rolling three-year period considers all the Group and Graded Thoroughbred races in the world - but only those. So a jockey who hasn’t been booked for any rides in Group or Graded events doesn’t even get to the start line. And one who only takes part in those races occasionally has very little chance of making much of a mark in the standings.
This is particularly relevant when you look at the ‘Girls’ team in the six-race challenge tomorrow. On paper it’s far and away the weakest team of the four (the others are the Rest of the World, Europe and Great Britain). Don’t believe that for a second.
All three riders have been successful at the highest level. Michelle Payne, who now combines training racehorses with riding them, won the Melbourne Cup two years ago. Hayley Turner, who has won two G1 sprints in Britain, is the only British female jockey to win a G1 abroad - she rode I’m A Dreamer take the Beverley D. Stakes at Arlington in 2012. She is now making a comeback after having retired from the saddle in 2015. She is moving to France soon to take advantage of the new two-kilo allowance there for female jockeys.
Team captain Emma-Jayne Wilson, the only female rider to win Canada’s most famous race, the Queen’s Plate, has ridden more than 1,000 winners and is one of the most accomplished female jockeys in history. She has also ridden three Shergar Cup winners in the past. She has had a slow 2017, but there are mitigating circumstances.
“My year since last year’s Shergar Cup has been great,” she told reporters at a media event in London yesterday . “From a personal point of view, a lot has happened. I got married, and my wife and I welcomed identical twin girls in February. Very exciting and a learning curve.
“The year at Woodbine has been a little bit slower to start than in previous years. I looking for success here and hopefully it will translate to more success at home.”
In the absence of Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori, who are both riding on the Arlington Million card in Illinois tomorrow, it’s Payne’s brother-in-law, Kerrin McEvoy, who is the highest-ranked jockey in this year’s Shergar Cup. McEvoy, the Rest of the World team captain, is ranked 15, two places ahead of teammate Keita Tosaki, who is about to win his fourth consecutive Japanese jockeys’ title.
The teams and their world rankings
Name (country of birth)
Hayley Turner (GB)
Michelle Payne (Aus)
Emma-Jayne Wilson (Can)
Umberto Rispoli (Italy)
Adrie De Vries (Netherlands)
Alexander Pietsch (Ger)
GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND
Jamie Spencer (Ire)
Neil Callan (Ire)
Fran Berry (Ire)
REST OF THE WORLD
Kerrin McEvoy (Aus)
Keita Tosaki (Japan)
Anthony Delpech (Seychelles)