The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
The battle of the spring carnivals heats up
Oceania: Feature races during Sydney's spring carnival will carry additional prize money and new races have been created as Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club (ATC) bids to outgun Melbourne’s springtime season.
The expanded programme will see the state capital have at least one A$1 million race or above for eight consecutive weeks in October and November. The A$14 million Everest on October 19 is the centrepiece, with new races in the weeks either side of the world’s richest turf sprint and others with increased stakes.
Kevin Anderson , Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, said he “hear[s] it time and time again that people want to attend races in New South Wales, rather than travel to other states”. He added that ATC’s investment will be “significant”.
SYDNEY'S SEVEN-FIGURE SPRING RACES
September 28 @ Rosehill
$1m G1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m)
October 5 @ Randwick
$1m G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m)
October 12 @ Randwick
$1m G1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m)
October 19 @ Randwick
$14m The Everest (1200m)
$1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m)
October 26 @ Randwick
$1m Bondi Stakes (1600m)
November 2 @ Rosehill
$7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m)
$1m Winners Stakes (1300m)
November 9 @ Rosehill
$1m Golden Gift (1100m)
November 16 @ Newcastle
$1m The Hunter (1300m)
November 23 @ Kembla Grange
$1m The Gong (1600m)
Bid to boost the Cox Plate international challenge
Oceania: In a bid to increase international competition for the G1 Cox Plate, Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) will partner a number of the leading middle-distance weight-for-age turf G1s with the winners then eligible to take part in the 99th iteration of Australia’s premier weight-for-age race in October.
The MVRC has put up a A$2 million bonus, on top of the A$5 million prize money already on offer, for the Ladbrokes-sponsored contest, which has been won by Winx for the past four seasons.
The first event to be included is the G1 Takarazuka Kinen over 2,200 metres at Hanshin on June 23.
MVRC Chairman Don Casboult believes that the new bonus will “complement our International Invitations strategy” - introduced in 2012 whereby the club invites the best-performed horses for the Cox Plate.
The 11 international invitees for this year’s race, announced this week, are headed by Japanese star Almond Eye, Britain’s three-time G1 runner-up Crystal Ocean and recent Prix d'Ispahan winner Zabeel Prince.
Doleuze calls it a day
Europe: After 31 years in the sport, globetrotting French jockey Olivier Doleuze has announced his retirement from the saddle.
As is becoming common practice with many sportsmen, Doleuze revealed his decision via Twitter, saying: “I have decided to retire today from racing. I want to thank all the people who have been involved in this amazing journey!”
The winner of 30 G1s was first apprentice, at 14, and then stable jockey to Criquette Head-Maarek, who “had a lot of fun working with him”. He then embarked on the second phase of his riding career in Hong Kong in 2003, where he accrued 571 wins.
Despite leaving Hong Kong after 15 years in 2018, the Frenchman had appeared keen to continue competing – telling TRC in January that ‘I’m not quitting just yet’.
End of the line for Noseda
Europe: Classic-winning trainer Jeremy Noseda has retired at the age of 55.
After six years working for John Dunlop, and five as assistant to John Gosden, he joined Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation in 1993, and played a significant role in training such horses as Lammtarra, Halling and Balanchine. He started training under his own name in 1996, initially in California, returning to Britain in 1997.
Noseda enjoyed his first classic victory when Araafa took the Irish 2000 Guineas in 2006. He won the St Leger the same year with Sixties Icon and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park with Wilko in 2004.
He said: "The time is right for me to walk away. I will be leaving the sport with a smile on my face and with a lot of great memories.”
U.S. Navy Flag to stand in New Zealand
Oceania: After covering a full book in his maiden season at Coolmore Ireland, U.S. Navy Flag will shuttle to New Zealand stud farm Valachi Downs for the 2019 Southern Hemisphere season at a fee of NZ$20,000.
The three-time G1 winner is son a of Claiborne Farm sire War Front out of a four-time G1-winning daughter of Galileo, Misty For Me. Upon U.S. Navy Flag’s retirement from racing, trainer Aidan O'Brien paid tribute to “an amazing horse” blessed with speed, “but his heart is his next biggest [attribute]”.
A “beyond delighted” Jonathan Scully, general manager at Valachi Downs, believes that “there has never been a sprinter of this elite level stand at stud in New Zealand”, adding that the “epitome of a Danzig-line sprinter” will “add an enormous injection of high-quality speed to our broodmare population”.
Ascot in rude health
Europe: Ascot Racecourse has announced its financial results for the 12 months ending December 31, 2018. Chief Executive Guy Henderson called it “another year of balanced progress in our overall financial performance”, with Royal Ascot integral to the a 6.9 per cent rise in turnover.
Ascot Authority (Holdings) Limited (AAHL) reported a pre-tax profit of £6.1 million, which is marginally down from 2017’s £6.2 million. There is an increase in prize money to a record £13.45 million (excluding Qipco British Champions Day), a ten per cent growth of £1.2 million on last year’s £12.2 million.
The “balanced sustainable income streams to drive investment” have also boosted investment in facilities by £5.4 million, and £10 million of AAHL’s bank loan was repaid during the year - £3.4m more than the mandatory payment – reducing the net debt to £50.6 million.
Around 250 charities benefit from Ascot's support each year under the ‘Ascot Supports’ programme.
Elsewhere in global news …
Europe: Headed by a €58,000 February-born chestnut, the BBAG Spring Sale in Baden Baden, Germany, saw a total of 67 lots from 97 offered change hands, for a clearance rate of 69 per cent. Turnover came in at €697,600, up 33 per cent on the 2018 renewal, and the average of €10,412 rose by seven per cent. Sales results here.
North America: The New York Racing Association has released the names for the various hospitality areas at Saratoga Race Course’s all-new 1863 Club, which honors the year of the first organised Thoroughbred race meeting there.The suites and lounges will each be named for some memorable equine and human talent to have figured at the Spa, including Rachel Alexandra, John Morrissey, Leonard Jerome, Native Dancer and William Travers. More here
North America: Becky Thomas and Boris Schwartzman have announced that Graded stakes winner The Lieutenant will shuttle to Peru’s Haras Barlovento for the 2019 Southern Hemisphere breeding season. The Lieutenant, who currently stands at Sequel Stallions in New York, is a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify. More here
North America: NYRA will provide expanded simulcast coverage of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival today and tomorrow, highlighted by the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes. More here
North America: Keeneland President Bill Thomason led tributes to an “unquestioned master of his craft” long-time Keeneland starter Robert Lee ‘Spec’ Alexander, who passed away this week at the age of 80. More here
Europe: When the Charlie Appleby-trained Space Blues won the listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom he became the 100th stakes winner for world #1 sire Dubawi in Godolphin blue. More here
North America: The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) will be returning as the official partner and title sponsor of Canada’s Triple Crown. As part of the partnership, a new $500,000 bonus is being offered if there is a Triple Crown winner. More here
Europe: Goffs has announced the first entries for the 2019 Goffs London Sale, taking place on the eve of Royal Ascot, Monday 17 June. It is headed by South African champion 3-year old filly Just Sensual, who is in foal to world #3 sire Frankel. More here