What’s been happening in the racing industry around the world

New arrival: Songbird’s filly foal rests contentedly at Timber Town Stable. She is the great mare’s second offspring. Last year she produced a filly by Arrogate. Photo: Timber Town Stable/Twitter

The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.


Another foal for ‘lovely mother’ Songbird

North America: Two-time Eclipse Award winner Songbird gave birth to her second foal, a bay Tapit filly, on Sunday morning. Timber Town Farm reports that both mare and foal are doing well, and Songbird is “again showing us what a lovely mother she is”.

Songbird, a 7-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, is owned by Whisper Hill Farm’s Mandy Pope, who bought her for $9.5 million at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton November sale but boards her at Timber Town in Lexington. 

World #4 dirt sire Tapit stands at Gainesway in Lexington for an advertised fee of $200,000, which is the joint fifth most expensive sire in the world for 2020.

Now Magic Wand may run in the Saudi Cup

Middle East: Globetrotting 5-year old Magic Wand won many plaudits for her brave second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf last Saturday, and trainer Aidan O’Brien says it is now “very possible that she'll be heading to Saudi Arabia” to contest the world's richest race on February 29.

The $20 million Saudi Cup would be the first start on dirt for the daughter of Galileo, who has contested top-level races across continents in all bar one of her last 18 races.

“Magic Wand ran another good race in America and seems fine since. She’s due to come home this evening,” the world #5 trainer said on Monday. “We're thinking about running her on the dirt. It'’d be something new for her, so we’ll see she comes out of her last run between now and then.”

The master of Ballydoyle added that he will have “an idea of what we’ll run on the card over the next week or ten days”, highlighting 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, but he cautioned that other stable stars Circus Maximus, Kew Gardens and Sergei Prokofiev are “only possible runners at this stage”.

Key appointment at National Stud

Europe: Anna Kerr has been named as the new chief operating officer of the National Stud in Newmarket.

Kerr, daughter of bloodstock agent Bert Kerr, takes up her new role with immediate effect. She brings experience from varying roles in the industry at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, Leopardstown, Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Goodwood.

National Stud director Tim Lane, who Kerr is “particularly looking forward to working closely” with, believes that the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course graduate will be “crucial in implementing our future strategies and elevating the educational arm of the National Stud in particular".

Peggy Whittingham dies at 95

North America: Peggy Whittingham, wife of the late Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham passed away on Tuesday with her family by her side following a long battle with breast cancer.

Whittingham’s son, Mike, said the 95-year old had “been dealing with the cancer for quite a few years” but “all of a sudden decided not to be. She's been in decline for a few months.” 

Owner-breeder Arthur Hancock III, who owned and raced the Whittingham-trained Sunday Silence, remembered that the Whittinghams were “very much in love” and you “could tell they had a great relationship. She certainly was Charlie's rock.”

Charlie Whittingham died aged 86 in 1999.

Peter Moody set to return

Oceania: Black Caviar’s trainer, Peter Moody, is set to make a return to training later this year with plans to initially handle ten to 12 horses from his property in South Belgrave, near Melbourne, with a view to having a Pakenham training complex agreed by around April or May.

Speculation had been rife about the return of Victoria’s former champion. “It wasn’t a secret. I would have just preferred to have got all my ducks in a row before announcing it,” he said.

Moody quit training when suspended for six months in March 2016 after being found guilty of unintentionally administering Lidari with excessive levels of cobalt before the 2014 Turnbull Stakes.

He has nonetheless been active at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale ahead of his anticipated return. Moody Racing had signed for four horses outright and three other horses in partnership with clients, including Wylie Dalziel, by the middle of the second day of selling.

“It cost me too much to have my horses trained by people doing a job that I could do myself,” Moody said. “At the time [of quitting] I said I would like to see a change at the top of Racing Victoria, and we’ve seen that. It’s time to get on with life. I love the industry, there’s a lot of positives.”

Elsewhere in racing ...

North America: Zayat Stables on Monday filed motion to block the takeover of embattled owner Ahmed Zayat’s racing and breeding operations by a court-appointed receiver in Lexington. More here

North America: The University of Louisville College of Business Equine Industry Program has named Spendthrift Farm owner B Wayne Hughes as winner of the 2019 John W Galbreath Award for outstanding entrepreneurship in the equine industry. More here

Europe: Racing TV is the new title sponsor the of the G3 Prix Questarabad, a hurdle race, which will take place at Auteuil racecourse on June 7. The race will be run as the Racing TV Prix Questarabad.

North America: The NBC commentator and chief operating officer of Starlight Racing, Donna Brothers, has agreed to formally join the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition leadership team as strategic advisor. More here

North America: Eclipse award-winning jockey Victor Carrasco has claimed his 1,000th career victory at Laurel Park. More here

Europe: Dual winner Tiger Roll tops the 105 entries for entries for the 2019 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in April. A third win for the Gordon Elliott-trained ten-year-old would equal the record set by Red Rum, who took the National three times between 1973 and 1977.

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