The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Darren Weir to face cruelty charges
Oceania: Disgraced Australian trainer Darren Weir has been charged with animal cruelty, conspiracy and possessing an unregistered weapon. The 49-year-old received a four-year ban from the sport in February for possessing equipment used to deliver electric shocks to horses and is one of four men charged after an investigation by Victoria State’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.
The 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning conditioner is due to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on October 23, when he will face nine charges, including three counts of “engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a Thoroughbred racehorse” and three counts of “causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a Thoroughbred racehorse”.
Excitement in the ring at Tatts Book 1
Europe: Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale came to a close with ten yearlings commanding seven figures across the week, and two colts breaking the 3 million-guinea mark, one of them, a Dubawi colt out of Alina, achieving the highest price for a yearling colt in the world this year.
After eight consecutive years of growth with turnover rising from 51m gns in 2011 to last year's 106m gns, the aggregate fell a little short this year, but the sale still produced turnover in excess of 100 million gns - the second highest in the its history.
Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony commented, “As ever, we should acknowledge the fantastic support we have received from Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, as well as the Coolmore team.
The two pre-eminent operations had clashed over session-toppers, with the 3.6m-guinea half-brother to Barney Roy and the 3.1m-guinea Frankel sibling to Golden Horn both going the way of Godolphin after some heady sales-ring showdowns.
Curlin stud fee is unchanged
North America: Hill ‘n/ Dale Farms has announced its 2020 stud fees, led by world #1 dirt sire Curlin, whose fee remains at $175,000, and his book will not exceed 140 mares.
“I thank Barbara Banke for her support of mares and allowing his stud fee to remain unchanged at $175,000 when his accomplishments could have justified a raise,” said Hill ‘n’ Dale president John Sikura. “Allowing breeders to be profitable is essential and engenders loyalty to the Hill ‘n’ Dale stallions. I have always tried to provide fellow breeders with the best value possible.”
Kitten's Joy - overall leading sire and leading turf sire of 2018 - will also have his stud fee remain at $75,000. New to the farm’s roster is multiple G1 winner and millionaire World Of Trouble by Hill ‘n’ Dale stallion Kantharos. He stands at an initial fee of $15,000.
Approval for Turfway Park sale
North America: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has unanimously approved the sale of Turfway Park to Churchill Downs Inc (CDI), which revealed that it would double purses from an average of $12,000 to $24,000 for Turfway’s 2019-2020 meeting, which begins in December.
CDI announced its intention to buy Turfway for $46 million on October 3, as well as its plans to reconstruct the facilities, and add slot-like historical horse racing devices at a total cost of $150 million.
“I’m very encouraged by having Churchill come up and investing money in Northern Kentucky, especially in that particular facility,” said KHRC vice chairman Mark Simendinger, a past executive at Turfway Park. “Their commitment to tear down the grandstand and do things right, and to address the years of neglect in the barn area I think is great.”
Trio tied at the top
Europe: Waldgeist and Enable are now tied at the top of the Longines World Best Racehorse Rankings, along with the recently retired Crystal Ocean. The triumvirate have all been given a rating of 128 – one pound higher than Hong Kong superstar Beauty Generation – following the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.
John Gosden’s two-time Arc winner appeared on course for an historic third victory before being overhauled by Andre Fabre’s 5-year old in the closing stages, a performance that has resulted in a rating increase from 124 to 128.
Dalham Hall’s star recruits
Europe: 2018 Epsom Derby winner Masar and last year’s European champion 2-year old, Too Darn Hot, will stand their first seasons in 2020 at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, alongside their sires Dubawi and New Approach.
Sam Bullard, director of stallions, described it as an “honour to stand a horse of the quality” of Masar. Fees for the exciting pair will be announced at a later date.
Elsewhere in racing …
North America: Long-time director and executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association, Sherwood C Chillingworth, has passed away at the age of 93.
North America: The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has reported that warhorse Quick Call was humanely euthanized at the age of 35. More here
North America: Amber Doege has joined the Texas Thoroughbred Association. She will replace Jennifer Gibbs as accreditation manager and racing coordinator. More here