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

The start of something big: at the opening of the magnificent Conghua racing and training complex in China on Tuesday, the turf track was put to the test by six horses ridden by Hong Kong jockeys. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

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


Watch out for Hong Kong racing now

Asia: The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has officially opened its new Conghua Racecourse, in the Guangdong Province of south-eastern China. The opening ceremony was attended by more than 500 guests, including government officials from the mainland and Hong Kong.

Simon Ip, chairman of HKJC, believes that the state-of-the-art stabling, training and horse-care facilities will enable the HKJC to “elevate” the quality of its racing to an “even higher level of excellence”.

Operating as part of a dual-site model, Conghua Racecourse complements the existing training centre at Sha Tin. Ip added that the “high environmental standards” of the district will make a “superb place to train our horses".

Read Kristen Manning’s report on Conghua here.

Accelerate to stand at Lane’s End

North America: Three-time G 1-winning Accelerate, who is favorite for November’s Breeders Cup Classic, will stand at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky on retirement.

The son of Lookin At Lucky proved to be the best mile-and-a-quarter horse in training in America: in his five starts this year, he’s won four, including three G1s. He is one of only three horses to win the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and the G1 TVG Pacific Classic in the same season.

“Accelerate is the kind of horse that we seek out, that we believe in,” said Will Farish, founder of Lane’s End. “Tough, sound, fast, classic distance handicap horses. These are the type of racehorses that have made Lane’s End Stallions what it is today.”

Gosden horses climb in Cartier standings

Europe: Following a brilliant four days at York’s Ebor Festival, Newmarket trainer John Gosden has opened up a decisive lead of £1,283,529 over Aidan O’Brien in the British trainers’ championship. And, his form is reflected in the latest standings for the Cartier Racing Awards.

His Roaring Lion has moved into a clear lead in the race to be crowned champion 3-year-old after his stylish defeat of Poet’s Word in the Juddmonte International, and he has become a genuine contender for overall Cartier Horse of the Year.

Stablemate Stradivarius looks unopposable in the champion stayer category having completed the £1 million bonus offered by Weatherbys Hamilton with victory in the Lonsdale Cup.

While Charlie Hills’ Battaash may have failed to sparkle at York, finishing only fourth in the Nunthorpe Stakes, the 4-year old remains tied with the now-retired Merchant Navy at the top of the sprinters’ category.

Current standings

Cartier Horse Of The Year
Alpha Centauri 144
Poet’s Word 140
Roaring Lion 126
Stradivarius 112
Cracksman 88

Cartier Sprinter
Battaash 48
Merchant Navy 48
Blue Point 46

Cartier Stayer
Stradivarius 112
Vazirabad 55
Torcedor 36

New honor for Mike Smith

North America: Triple Crown-winning jockey Mike Smith will be honoured by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWB) with the Mr. Fitz Award, named for the late trainer ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons for typifying the spirit of racing.

The 53-year-old Hall of Famer, currently the world’s #2 rider, will receive the award at the 59th annual NTWB awards dinner on October 31 in Louisville.

Former jockey Donna Barton Brothers will receive the Jim McKay Award for excellence in broadcasting, publicist Jim Gluckson receives the Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing and Daily Racing Form writer Marty McGee is awarded the Walter Haight Award for career excellence in turf writing.

Fresh model for British stewarding

Europe: The British Horseracing Authority has enhanced its raceday officiating model to ‘raise the bar on integrity, safety and the management of risk’.

The new model will be introduced in 2019 as a result of extensive consultation and combines the best elements of current system with a host of new initiatives that it hopes will put British racing in to line with other sporting bodies and racing jurisdictions

A ‘One team’ approach will implement a programme of professional development of stewarding expertise among both new and existing stewards, with the introduction of a new Chief Steward role.

Melbourne Cup attracts even more interest

Oceania: This year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup has attracted 183 nominations - 43 more than in 2017.

The race was won by Rekindling, trained by Ireland’s Joseph O'Brien, ridden by Corey Brown, and the 3-year-old was the youngest horse in the field. Although the champion will not defend his title - for the first time since Fiorente won in 2013 – 50 international horses feature among the nominations, including early favourites Magic Circle and Withhold.

A A$1 million prize increase may be the main reason for the upsurge in nominations.

All change at Woodford

North America: Woodford Thoroughbreds has announced it will close its Kentucky farm and consolidate horse operations at its Florida farm.

The transition will take place at the turn of the year, but Woodford will continue to breed mares in Kentucky. Matt Lyons, who has been manager for the past decade, has chosen not to relocate but will continue to direct operations until the transition is complete.

John Gleason will assume the role of farm operations manager alongside his role as trainer and general manager of the racing and training division. Shannon Castagnola has been names as the director of marketing and client relations.

Gleneagles colt smashes Goffs UK Sale record

Europe: The 501-lot catalogue at the Goffs UK Premier Sale took an aggregate of £19,066,500, with an average lot going for £45,396.

A first-crop son of Gleneagles consigned by Newsells Park Stud was purchased by SackvilleDonald for £380,000, beating the previous record by £100,000. Other highlights from Tuesday’s opening session, which saw a clearance rate of 89 per cent, included Abbeville Stud’s Exceed and Excel filly, who was sold to Oliver St Lawrence for £200,000, and Trinity Park Stud’s Acclamation filly, who turned heads late in the evening when selling to Joe Foley for £185,000.

The opening lot of the second day was another Acclamation filly, offered by Highclere Stud on behalf of breeder Lordship Stud. Daniel Creighton, working for John Dance, outbid Richard Hannon, Joseph O'Brien and Shadwell’s Angus Gold for £240,000, a price that was not be bettered for the remainder of the session.

Latest stars of Minnesota

North America: The Canterbury Park Hall of Fame Committee has named its four newest members: five-time champion jockey at Canterbury Park Dean Butler, Minnesota HBPA president Jack Walsh, Quarter Horse breeders Rodney and Sylvia Von Ohlen and retired Minnesota-bred racehorse Heliskier.

The Class of 2018 inductees will join a group of more than 40 individuals and horses that comprise the best of Minnesota racing in a ceremony September 1.

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