TRC’s new weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Godolphin to operate without a chief executive
Europe: Godolphin have announced they are “discontinuing the role” of chief executive with immediate effect. Meaning that, for the second time in ten months, Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation face disruption among senior management.
Outgoing chief executive Joe Osborne will nonetheless remain within Godolphin, returning to his previous job as managing director in Ireland. Osborne had only been in the position since June, when he replaced John Ferguson, who himself had lasted just over six months in the role.
Ferguson decided his position had become “untenable” as a result of trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s assertions that Ferguson was favouring compatriot Charlie Appleby when assigning horses.
Newmarket trainer John Gosden will be responsible for Godolphin's bloodstock purchases henceforth. However, the 66-year-old appeared to rule himself out of the top job, telling the The Times he has “the small business of a yard to run” and that his “area [within Godolphin] is strictly sales”.
Sponsorship deal helping in fight against hunger
North America: Lexington-based Kentucky Utilities (KU) has been named as the signature sponsor of Keeneland’s $150,000 G3 Transylvania, which will be held on the opening day of the Kentucky track’s Spring Meet on April 6.
As part of the sponsorship, KU and Keeneland are making a matching donation to God’s Pantry Food Bank, of Lexington, a non-profit organisation committed to reducing hunger in Kentucky.
Death of Darley stallion Poet's Voice
Europe: Darley sire Poet’s Voice has suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 11. The son of Dubawi, who won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in 2010, had become a reliable source of winners for Sheikh Mohammed.
Poet’s Voice, currently ranked 55th in the TRC Global Sires' Rankings, sired two classic winners in Poetic Dream and Mi Raccomando, as well as five-time stakes winner Voice Of Love. His best horse to date is Poet’s Word, runner up in both the British and Irish Champion Stakes last year.
Stud director Liam O’Rourke said he “embodied all of what we wish to achieve”.
Two new juvenile races for Woodbine
North America: Woodbine Entertainment will introduce a pair of six-furlong turf sprints for 2-year-olds to its Thoroughbred stakes program along with various other racing opportunities during the 2018 meet, which gets underway next month.
The $100,000 Catch A Glimpse Stakes for juvenile fillies is scheduled for Saturday, August 25, at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack, home of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, followed by the companion Soaring Free Stakes for colts on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The new stakes, included in the recently released 2018 Thoroughbred Stakes Schedule, provides a turf opportunity for young horses at Woodbine leading up to the G1 Natalma and Summer Stakes, both Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series events set for September 16. The $225,000 Cup & Saucer on October 7, an 8½-furlong stakes restricted to Canadian-foaled 2-year-olds, is currently the only other juvenile turf stakes on the Woodbine schedule.
"With a second turf course coming to Woodbine in 2019, we are looking for more opportunities in our racing schedule to enhance our turf program,” said Jonathan Zammit, Vice President of Thoroughbred Racing Operations.
Major development for Ellerslie
Oceania: Auckland Racing Club has unveiled plans for a new stables development at Ellerslie in a bid to further cement its reputation as one of the best racecourses in the Southern Hemisphere.
Building work worth in excess of $6 million will see tie-up stalls for 126 horses created alongside a warm-up ring, veterinary boxes and office, function room and trainers’ cafe. The work is due to start immediately and will be completed in time for November’s Melbourne Cup meeting. Seventy per cent of the current stable block will be demolished to make way for the development, comprising of four separate buildings around the central parade ring.
Club chief executive Paul Wilcox said the new stables will cement Ellerslie as a world class racing destination and put its facilities on par with the famous Australian courses of Flemington and Randwick.
Equine veterinary research donation
North America: The board of directors of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has authorised an expenditure of $1.24 million to fund veterinary research to benefit all horses. It is the fourth consecutive year that the charitable organisation has donated a sum of more than $1 million. The money will fund 11 new projects at nine universities, seven continuing projects and two career development awards.
Since 1983, the not-for-profit company has allocated more than $26 million to underwrite 358 projects at 43 universities.
Cheltenham Festival sale flourishes
Europe: The Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale – which takes place on the second evening of Europe's premier four-day annual jump racing meeting – saw joint top lots of £330,000 and an increased set of statistics.
The aggregate finished with a six per cent increase of £3,165,000, with an impressive rise of 23 per cent in the median to finish on £147,500, and an 11 per cent increase in the average to £158,250. The clearance rate concluded on 83 per cent.