TRC’s weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Highest yearling price of the year beaten twice in 24 hours
Europe: A sensational three days of the Tattersalls October Sale Book 1 ended on Thursday with 12 yearlings topping the million-guinea mark on the first two days alone. The clearance rate for day one was an impressive 85 percent. For day two, it was a remarkable 91 percent.
Sale-topper was the much anticipated Dubawi colt out of Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s wonderful broodmare, Dar Re Mi. Tweenhills Stud’s David Redvers paid 3.5 million guineas ($4.85 million) for him on behalf of Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar Racing.
A full-brother to Too Darn Hot, who is favourite for tomorrow’s Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, G3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes winner So Mi Dar and this year’s St Leger second, Lah Ti Dar, the yearling had been at the centre of pre-sale buzz when the catalogue was published. He became is the most expensive yearling sold in the world in 2018.
“This is the sort of horse that Sheikh Fahad and his brothers want to own - they want to participate at the highest level and have had a taste of it this year with Roaring Lion,” said Redvers. “He is out of an exceptional mare and by an exception stallion. It is very hard to put a value on a horse such as this – you can see lovely horses selling for good sums and they still are not the best.
“We are looking to make commercial stallions - let’s hope that he goes out and lives up to all the potential that he has.”
Day one produced plenty of fireworks too, notably when a Galileo full-brother to Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture, Group winner Sir Isaac Newton and recent Beresford Stakes winner Japan went for 3.4 million guineas to Coolmore’s MV Magnier. That lasted as the highest price in the world for a yearling in 2018 for barely 24 hours.
Stronachs at loggerheads
North America: Frank Stronach - founder and honorary chairman of racecourse operator the Stronach Group - is suing his daughter, Belinda, alleging that she froze him out of the business he built and mismanaged the family fortune and its trust funds.
The 86-year-old and his wife, Elfriede, are co-plaintiffs in the $520 million lawsuit that names Belinda Stronach, president of the Stronach Group, chief executive Alon Ossip, and Stronach’s grandchildren, Nicole Walker and Frank Walker, as defendants.
A statement from Stronach’s legal team said that he and Elfriede ‘regret having to commence proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court’ and did so as a ‘last resort’ despite making ‘considerable efforts over a period of almost two years to resolve the matters’
The press release surmised that Belinda, 52, had an indulgent lifestyle that had cost the company in excess of $70 million, including a new office in Yorkville, Toronto, that cost more than $10 million. None of these allegations have been proven in court.
Moreira out in the cold
Asia: World #14 jockey Joao Moreira has failed to secure a Japan Racing Association (JRA) licence.
The three-time Hong Kong champion jockey had made the decision to ride in Japan full-time in June after choosing not to renew his licence with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). The Magic Man has a short-term licence to ride in Japan until October 28, but the 35-year-old failed a written exam on the history of Japanese racing.
Moreira – who had employed a Japanese tutor since 2016 – was “disappointed in myself, and not with the JRA” for the failed test, which he thought was “difficult but fair”.
He stated that he needed “some time for the news to sink in” and did not comment on his possibility of a return to Hong Kong racing.
Lancaster Bomber off to stud
Europe: Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotting colt Lancaster Bomber has been retired to the National Stud in Newmarket with immediate effect.
The son of War Front will stand at a fee of £8,500 on October 1 with MV Magnier confirming that Coolmore have “retained some breeding rights” in the stallion. His second career will be managed by the Avenue Bloodstock team of John Ferguson, Mark McStay and Amy Lanigan.
The 4-year old was last seen on the track when winning the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh by two lengths in May.
War Front’s fee stays the same ...
North America: Kentucky’s Claiborne Farm has released stud fees for its 12 stallions currently standing for the upcoming breeding season.
Claiborne, the historic home of the legendary Secretariat, confirmed that world #18 sire War Front’s fee will remain at $250,000 next year. War Front, who was joint fifth on the list of the most expensive sires in the world for 2018, has sired 29 black-type horses in 2018, including top-flight winners U.S. Navy Flag, Lancaster Bomber, Fog Of War and Homesman.
The other standout sire on the Hancock’s roster is Eclipse champion and three-time G1 winner Blame (world-ranked 59), who boasts 14 stakes winners in 2018, including G1 winners Fault and Marley's Freedom. His fee will be announced following the Breeders' Cup next month.
… but Tapit’s is reduced
North America: Gainesway Farm has announced that three-time U.S. champion sire Tapit, who was the fourth most expensive sire in the world this year, will stand for a fee of $225,000 in 2019 - down from $300,000. Tapit’s book will again be limited to 125 mares.
The sire of 24 G1 winners and seven champions, he is currently ranked just 29th in the world, down from a high of #4 in 2017.
Guineas favourite returning ‘to his rightful place’
Oceania: Arrowfield Stud has acquired 50 percent of the Chris Waller-trained colt The Autumn Sun, who is an odds-on favourite to win tomorrow’s A$2 million Caulfield Guineas.
The Upper Hunter Valley farm bred the son of Redoute's Choice before selling him in partnership with the Aga Khan Studs. A “pleased” Arrowfield boss John Messara believed that the horse was returning to his “rightful place” to “race him and then develop his breeding career”.
“He has physique, athleticism and pedigree, all of the highest order, and I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of standing him at Arrowfield,” said Messara.
Irish bookmakers ‘distraught’
Europe: Ireland’s Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, has increased the overall betting tax in the country to two percent, reversing the 2007 budget, which had halved it to one percent.
“Over the last eight to ten years we have already lost 450 shops, all of which were independents, of which only 200 have survived, and they are now gone in one swipe of the pen,” said Sharon Byrne, chairperson of the Irish Bookmakers Association.
“We had 1,365 shops in 2008. We were down to 850 and it had kind of stabilised this year,” continued Byrne. “Now, the 200 independents that were able to survive have no hope. I’ve taken calls from them all morning – they are distraught. I’m calling an emergency meeting of the association for Friday morning to see what we can do.”
Irish operator Paddy Power, which has the largest footprint in the country and will suffer more severely than other mainstream bookmakers, warned the effects will have damaging consequences on the racing industry
Call to make Everest day a public holiday
Oceania: Racing New South Wales has asked senior politicians to consider declaring The Everest race day a public holiday in the Australian state, as a way of further promoting the race as NSW’s signature event.
Racing NSW believes that moving the A$13 million race to a Wednesday afternoon, for example, and declaring a half-day public holiday will continue to build its public profile after its successful debut last year.
The Everest – the second running of which takes place over 1,200 metres at Randwick tomorrow - is the richest turf race in the world. It has, nonetheless, drawn criticism from the non-racing public in Sydney the draw for this year’s race was projected onto the sails of Sydney Opera House.
National Trust NSW conservation director Graham Quint believed that projecting commercial material contravened state laws and “may be in breach of the Heritage Act”.