TRC’s weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
12 American entries for Royal Ascot
Europe: Royal Ascot has confirmed that six overseas countries will be represented at this year’s festival. Entries for the eight G1 races at this year’s meeting were revealed, with representation from six overseas countries - Australia, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan and the USA.
The potential raiders include 12 American entries, three each from Australia and Japan, plus one from Hong Kong.
“We're very pleased with the variety and quality of the Royal Ascot entries this year,” said Nick Smith, director of Racing and Communications at Ascot.
“Seven countries, including Britain, are represented, and among them a Hong Kong Chairman’s Sprint Prize winner, two U.S.-trained Breeders’ Cup winners and a dual winner of the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in Australia.”
Turf Classic gets a new sponsor
North America: Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is the new title sponsor of the G1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. It replaces Woodford Reserve, which is the new presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.
“Louisville always brings its best with Kentucky Derby season,” said Campbell Brown, president of Old Forester, “and we're proud to carry forth the Brown-Forman tradition and present the Old Forester Turf Classic.”
The 2018 Turf Classic will be the race before the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
Major boost for the Eclipse
Europe: The Jockey Club has announced that Coral’s sponsorship of the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park has been extended for a further five years.
As part of the extension, the bookmaker will offer up an increased prize pot of £750,000 from next year, £250,000 above the 2017 purse. The Eclipse is the longest-running sponsored Group race in Britain and the 2018 renewal - on July 7 - will be the 43rd running as the Coral-Eclipse.
The 1m2f contest is the first opportunity for the 3-year-old classic generation to take on older horses at G1 level and has been won by such distinguished horses as Mill Reef, Sadler’s Wells, Giant's Causeway, Sea The Stars and Golden Horn.
Career-high fee for Snitzel
Oceania: Snitzel, currently world #3 in the TRC Global Sires' Rankings, will stand at a career-high A$220,000 at Arrowfield Stud in the upcoming Australian breeding season.
The Australian champion sire covered a book of 216 mares for a fee of A$176,000 last year. The 15-year old also produced 25 stakes winners, including G1 winners Trapeze Artist, Redzel, Russian Revolution and Golden Slipper winner Estijaab.
Wagering record at Ohio racetrack
North America: Following the conclusion of its 63-day 2018 winter-spring meet, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Ohio recorded a 23.6 per cent spike in wagering per race for the 63-day stand.
The track reported gross handle of $65,358,215, for a track record average of $127,156 wagered per race, up from the $102,873 garnered for the 2017 winter-spring meet.
“We benefited from a stronger overall product and a continued increase of product awareness and availability in the marketplace,” said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Racing for Mahoning Valley.
BHA has a new regulatory chief
Europe: The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has named Brant Dunshea as its new chief regulatory officer. He succeeds compatriot Jamie Stier, who returns to his native Australia to take up a post with Racing Victoria. Dunshea will assume his new role with immediate effect. The Australian has been the BHA’s director of integrity and regulatory operations since 2015.