Friday, August 06, 2010



Anton Marcus, 40, the current South African champion jockey, is looking forward to his first experience of European racing at Ascot on Saturday.

He is the team captain of the three jockeys representing the Rest Of The World in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot.

Speaking on Thursday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel next to London’s Hyde Park, Marcus said: “This is my third visit to England but I have not ridden here before. My career has been predominantly in South Africa and Hong Kong.

“I have been back in South Africa for the last six years after four and a half years riding in Hong Kong.

“One season ends and the next season starts immediately - there is no break. Having said that, it is pretty quiet at home at the moment - almost a transitional time.

“I don’t have to worry about missing mounts. I actually won the championship in the year that ended on July 31 but it is not an ambition of mine at the start of each season.

“I just concentrate on the mounts I get and winning the championship is a bonus. I try and put the emphasis on quality not quantity.

“The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is going to be exciting for me and I am sure it will be a great spectacle for racegoers and those watching on television.

“Our style of racing definitely differs from the English style of racing. South African racing is probably similar to French racing - jump out and take a sit and then sprint, whereas here the pace is more honest.

“I am just looking forward to the whole day at Ascot - it is an honour to be invited and I want to make the most of the day.”

Luke Nolen from Australia is the second member of the Rest Of The World team. The 30-year-old was recently crowned champion jockey in Victoria and is keen to expand his horizons.

Nolen commented: “I didn’t enjoy the journey over but I am really looking forward to the opportunity of riding at Ascot on Saturday.

“It is a privilege to be invited for starters. Hopefully, I will learn something too. We have left our young son - 15-month-old Dane - at home with my mother-in-law and father-in-law.

“We arrived on Tuesday at midday and go back on Sunday. Our racing is all year round in Australia and the stable I ride for is prepared to travel all over.

“I will miss a few rides but our spring meetings have not really kicked off. My boss was very keen for me to come - you learn so much from other riders.

“I don’t have much overseas experience which is another reason I was very keen to be involved in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.

“I can learn and ride a few winners hopefully. I have met a few of my targets in the last year and have got to reassess my career but I have not thought too far ahead yet.

“I won a title in Victoria and had great success during the main carnivals. I now need to make some new targets.”

Nolen had a bad fall in May, 2008, breaking seven bones in his face and suffering bruising to his brain but managed to come back within three months.

He declared: “It wasn’t good but if that was the worst thing that is going to happen to me I have done pretty well because I have had close friends who have lost a lot more and some are no longer here.

“It has been onwards and upwards ever since and hopefully this will be a very rewarding trip.”

He rides mainly at 8st 5lb but can get down to 8st 2lb if needed. “If I get any lighter, the rebound after doing so can be bad. It is finding a happy balance of lifestyle and diet.

“I have been riding for 12 years now and you get used to keeping a steady weight.”

On his first visit to England and recovering from jet lag, Nolen visited Ascot yesterday (Wednesday).

He explained: “I walked the course at Ascot and the camera angles do not do it full justice. It is really something to walk. We have a straight six at Flemington but Ascot is very different - uphill and downhill.

“I am going to have to adjust my usual style of riding but I am looking forward to the challenge and I am sure I will adapt very quickly.

“The style of racing in Australia is a bit cagey - we ride our horses the way they are trained - to unleash sprints at the end of races. It seems a lot different here.”

Yasunari Iwata is third member of the Rest Of The World team. The 36-year-old Japanese jockey is also experiencing European racing for the first time but has had plenty of involvement in jockey competitions at home and in Hong Kong.

Speaking through an interpreter he said: “I am looking forward very much to riding at Ascot. I follow racing In England and think Ascot looks a tough course, with horses needing a lot of power and stamina.

“The motivation for doing well as a jockey has been Yutaka Take - he has been the inspiration to my career.”

One of the big moments came in 2006 when he rode Delta Blues to victory in Australia’s Melbourne Cup - the first Japanese jockey to triumph in that famous Group One race.

Asked about that victory, he replied: “I felt like a complete hero - it was absolutely amazing.”

Iwata added: “I have watched plenty of English racing on television and I am proud to be riding at Ascot in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.

“I have been told to be careful not to break the English whip rules which are stricter than those in Japan.

”It is good for my career to have been invited to take part in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.”

The Rest Of The World jockeys take on teams from Britain, Ireland and Europe over six races at Ascot on Saturday.

For further information, please contact

Nick Smith, Head of Communications & International Racing, 07771 791449

Alistair Haggis, Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Event Manager, 07761 896500




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