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

New champions Oisin Murphy (left) and Cieren Fallon signing autographs at Ascot last Saturday. Photo: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com

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


Oisin Murphy is Britain’s new champion

Europe: Oisin Murphy was crowned 2019 champion flat jockey for the first time on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.

At 24, Murphy is the youngest champion since Ryan Moore won his first title aged 23 in 2006. The Irishman’s final tally of 168 was comfortably ahead of closest pursuer Danny Tudhope’s 133 winners, yet his numerical superiority over the calendar year is even more overwhelming, leading Tudhope by 217 to 155.

Tudhope did, at one point in the summer, have a nine-winner advantage over Murphy, who was “genuinely concerned that I’d thrown it away”. “But I got the lead back and then I was able to enjoy the last month or so,” he said.

He added, “I'm both relieved and delighted that I managed to do it because I set my stall out to be champion and it has been a lifelong ambition. It’s been super. I’d love to win another jockeys’ championship one day.”

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Cieren Fallon, son of six-time British champion Kieran, was crowned champion apprentice. Fallon Jnr, who rides predominantly for William Haggas, finished this season with 50 winners, seven clear of his closest rival, Sean Davis.

Breeders’ Cup agrees to Hollendorfer ban

North America: Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is banned from entering horses in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where he has been barred  by track owners The Stronach Group (TSG).

Earlier in the year, TSG said the 73-year-old was “no longer welcome to stable, race, or train his horses at any of our facilities”, a stance that Fred Hertrich, chairman of the Breeders’ Cup board, said it would honour as it “leads by example in the conduct of Thoroughbred racing at the highest levels of safety and integrity for its athletes”. 

An incredulous Drew Couto, Hollendorfer’s attorney, said the ruling “came as a bit of a surprise and an immense disappointment” to his client, whose ban was implemented when six horses he trained died at TSG tracks Santa Anita and Golden Gate.

250 up for Dettori

Europe: Frankie Dettori’s gritty victory on Star Catcher in the G1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes was the Italian’s 250th career G1 winner.

Star Catcher was the world #1’s 17th G1 winner in a stellar 2019 and Dettori - who was “still a bit sour about Stradivarius” losing by a nose to Kew Gardens in the previous race - heaped praise on Anthony Oppenheimer’s Irish Oaks winner. “She's lovely, she's tough, and I think she is going to stay in training. She is a wonderful filly and provided me with my 250th Group 1. I love her.”

Justify stays at $150,000

North America: Coolmore’s Ashford Stud has announced its stud fees for the 2020 breeding season. The 14-strong roster is again headlined by its pair of Triple Crown winners, Justify and American Pharoah. 

2018 champ Justify will stand for an advertised fee of $150,000, unchanged from his debut season in 2019, when he had one of the strongest books of mares in the U.S. The fee for American Pharoah will be announced at a later date, probably after this year's Breeders' Cup, where he is expected to be represented by two runners.

Ashford’s other six-figure listing is world #43 dirt sire Uncle Mo, who will stand for an unchanged fee of $125,000.

Gronkowski’s Saudi Cup bid

Middle East: Phoenix Thoroughbreds have confirmed that leading Saudi owner Khalid bin Mishref has bought into Dubai World Cup second Gronkowski, who is expected to contest next year’s Saudi Cup.

Mishref said that it was an “easy decision to invest” with Phoenix Thoroughbreds, adding that the investment fund’s “international ambitions mirror my own”.

The horse – named for retired New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski – is now trained in Dubai by Salem bin Ghadayer, after previously being conditioned by Jeremy Noseda in the UK and world #3 Chad Brown Stateside.

Elsewhere in racing …

Europe: This year’s 2000 Guineas winner, Magna Grecia, the only colt by sire of sires Invincible Spirit to win G1s at both two and three, has been retired to Coolmore Stud in Ireland for 2020. More here  

Europe: Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain has been retired to stand at the Irish National Stud for 2020. More here

North America: Flameaway, a multiple Graded stakes-winning son of Scat Daddy, has been retired from racing and will stand the 2020 breeding season at Darby Dan Farm for an initial season at stud for $7,500 S&N. More here

Europe: G1-winner Mabs Cross will be offered at Tattersalls December Mares Sale on December 2. The 5-year-old will enter the ring as lot 1818. More here

North America: WinStar Farm has set 2020 stud fees for its 21-stallion roster, headed by world #16 More Than Ready, who will stand for an unchanged fee of $80,000. More here

Europe: BetVictor has agreed a three-year renewal with the Jockey Club to remain as the title sponsor of the BetVictor Gold Cup, which takes place on November 16 and is the flagship race of the November meeting at Cheltenham. More here

North America: Laurel Park-based jockey Julio Correa, leading all apprentice riders in the U.S. in wins, has revealed that he intends to ride at Aqueduct form the middle of November. More here   

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