Great Britain and Ireland got the start it needed in the opening race on Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day - team captain Jamie Spencer leading from the front and bringing home Stake Acclaim (4/1), for trainer Dean Ivory, to win the five-furlong Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash.
Jamie Spencer on Stake Acclaim snatches victory from Hollie Doyle on Sir Robert Cheval, photo Liesl King
"We got the good start we needed there - it's good," said Spencer. "We planned to go forward with Stake Acclaim, but that didn't happen. They were going quick and he wasn't able to muster the early pace so I left him alone, and hoped he'd pick up in the last couple of furlongs, which he did. I was trying to go from A to B at a comfortable speed for him.
"He is basically a six-furlong horse and it was only in the last 100 yards that I thought I was going to win. I rode to be placed when he wasn't travelling, and then 100 yards down I was pretty sure I was going to get her [Hollie Doyle].
"It always helps [getting an early winner] and in competition you would rather be leading than chasing."
The victory was a notable success for the jockey, giving him a 2,000th British winner. Spencer downplayed the achievement saying: "I suppose it's just a number really."
Fellow GBI jockey Neil Callan enjoyed a strong ride on Pipers Rock, and brought home another five points for GBI in fourth.
"He's run well, I think he's a better horse on quicker ground, he got a bit tired the last half furlong, but he's run creditably enough - and we've got some points on the board!" said Callan.
"We've got a bit of luck on our side at the moment, which is fantastic," said Ivory. "I must admit, halfway through the race I didn't think we had any chance! We went from one end to the middle to the far side - anyway, he's done it.
"The horse wasn't travelling as well as thought he would - it might be that a bit of freshness had come out of him since he ran last Saturday [in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood]. I thought we had the best draw and everything - the whole thing surprised to me. I'd love to see the race again - everyone switched around.
"But Jamie was very confident earlier on and he said how well the horse looked. He ran a really good race last time out, and Robert Winston was good - he just looked after him when he knew he was beaten and didn't take the edge off him.
"We might have this fella here in the Ayr Gold Cup, but we've run him again quite quick and I don't want to ground him, so we'll sit tight and see where we go.
"I think this meeting is wonderful. It has great prize money, we are very well looked after - long may it continue. It's lovely to win here."
Stake Acclaim, photo Liesl King
DOYLE DENIED BY A NECK
Hollie Doyle, aboard 10/1 chance Sir Robert Cheval, was denied the laurels by a neck in her first ever ride in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, when Stake Acclaim [4/1 joint favourite} came up and caught the front running Green Desert gelding in the dying strides of the five furlong Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash.
Doyle reflected: "He has run a big race. He was unlucky that he just got done on the line. I knew they would be coming for me. He jumped well, but got a little bit squeezed for room so I just sat still on him and he has travelled well.
"It is a great start to our Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
"Emma-Jayne spoke to me during the opening ceremony. She was just trying to get me pumped!
"She emphasised how important it is to ride to the lane as every point matters and there is prize money all the way down last."
Emma-Jayne Wilson, added: "Hollie is in there and everything counts."
Kerrin McEvoy, team captain of the Rest Of the World, who rode third placed Lexington Abbey, said: "He ran well, he was a very genuine and honest horse, it's nice to get some points on the board."
POINTS ON THE TABLE FOR EUROPE IN DUBAI DUTY FREE SHERGAR CUP DASH
The Europe team earned their first points in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup courtesy of fifth-placed Alexander Pietsch on the William Muir-trained Willytheconqueror in the 5f Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash.
"For one of the outsiders, to be placed fifth is very good," said Pietsch after the C2 handicap. "He gave me a good ride."
Having made the running for much of the sprint race, Italian champion jockey Umberto Rispoli was all smiles after finishing seventh on the Robert Cowell-trained Green Door.
"The track is perfect, good to soft," said Rispoli, who had previously had a total of 24 rides in Britain. "Unfortunately I was trying to go a little bit slower than that, but the horse beside me with the visor on was rolling a little bit fast and my horse faded out a little bit at the end."
Europe's final team representative Adrie De Vries (Doc Sportello) was slowly away but finished sixth.
1.05pm £45,000 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash 5f
For 3yo+, rated 86-105 (also open to such horses rated 85 and below). Lowest weight: 4-y-o and up 8st 9lb; 3-y-o 8st 6lb. Highest weight: 4-y-o and up 10st; 3-y-o 9st 11lb. Penalties, after August 5, 2017, for each race won 3lb.
1) STAKE ACCLAIM (IRE) 5-9-06 9st 6lb Dean Ivory  Jamie Spencer GBI 4/1 Jt Fav 15 POINTS
2) SIR ROBERT CHEVAL 6-9-09 9st 6lb Robert Cowell  Hollie Doyle (3) GIRLS 10/1 10 POINTS
3) LEXINGTON ABBEY 6-9-06 9st 6lb Kevin Ryan  Kerrin McEvoy ROW 4/1 7 POINTS
4) PIPERS NOTE 7-9-10 9st 10lb Ruth Carr  Neil Callan GBI 11/2 5 POINTS
5) WILLYTHECONQUEROR (IRE) 4-9-10 9st 10lb William Muir  Alexander Pietsch EUR 3 POINTS
6) DOC SPORTELLO (IRE) 5-9-09 9st 9lb Tony Carroll  Adrie De Vries EUR
7) GREEN DOOR (IRE) 6-9-07 9st 7lb Robert Cowell  Umberto Rispoli EUR
8) TROPICS (USA) 9-9-09 9st 9lb Dean Ivory  Emma-Jayne Wilson GIRLS
9) MIRZA 10-10-00 10st 0lb Rae Guest  Fran Berry GBI
10) BLAINE 7-9-06 9st 6lb Brian Barr  Keita Tosaki ROW
Time 1m 01.29s
Distances: nk, 1, 1½, 1¼, ½, ½, 1¼, nk, hd
Breeder: G Devlin
Breeding: b g Acclamation - Golden Legacy (IRE) (Rossini (USA))
Tote Win: £5.20 Places: £1.90 £3.80 £1.70 Exacta: £50.50