The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Secretariat award goes to Winx
North America: Australian champion Winx has been voted the winner of the 2018 Secretariat Vox Populi – or ‘Voice of the People’ – Award, an annual accolade that recognises the international horse that combines popularity and racing excellence.
Winx, who has won 29 consecutive stakes races, including a world record 22 G1s, topped U.S. polls as well as one of international voters representing 60 countries. This year Chris Waller’s 7-year old won all seven of her contests, including a historic fourth straight victory in the G1 Cox Plate, Australia’s top middle-distance weight-for-age race.
Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s owner, the late Penny Chenery, who established the award in 2010, believes that Winx “represents everything Mom envisioned when she created this award” and her triumph shows the international “growth of the award” as well as Winx’s “global appeal”.
A custom-made trophy will be presented to two of the Magic Bloodstock group that owns Winx, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke, on January 12 at Santa Anita
Yet another huge prize on the way in Australia
Oceania: Racing NSW is to extend the Sydney spring carnival with another multi-million-dollar event, which is believed to be worth more the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
The Sydney Morning Herald says the race will have more than A$8 million in prize money.
The middle-distance contest will not be slots-based, like The Everest or the Pegasus World Cup, nor will there be a public vote like Racing Victoria’s recently publicised intention to turn its autumn Blamey Stakes into the $5m All-Star Mile.
Death of Pioneerof The Nile’s dam
North America: Zayat Stables has confirmed the passing of its first-ever broodmare, Star Of Goshen, at the age of 24.
The Lord At War mare, competing for Cobra Farm, broke her maiden on debut by ten lengths as a 3-year-old in 1997. A short, if somewhat unspectacular, racing career was brought to an abrupt end when she pulled up in the G2 Hollywood Oaks.
Star of Goshen produced 11 foals, five that raced, which were led by multiple G2-placed Forefathers, and multiple G1 winner Pioneerof
The Nile, the sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Ahmed Zayat said the mare had been “unbelievable to my family and the industry”. Zayat spoke of the mare’s “grace and class”, adding that her “progeny speaks for itself”, ensuring that “her legacy lives on”.
Justify half-brother to stand in New York
North America: The Lieutenant, a G3-winning half-brother to 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, has been retired to stand at Sequel Stallions New York from next year at a fee of $6,500.
The Lieutenant, the first foal out of Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, was bred by John Gunther in Kentucky and raced by William Warren Jr and wife Suzanne. Sequel Stallions’ Becky Thomas said that, when the opportunity presented itself to stand the brother of “a very special horse”, Justify, she “just couldn't pass it up”.
“Standing brothers of famous horses has served me very well. Giant's Causeway’s brother, Freud [currently world-ranked 21] has become the very cornerstone of the breeding program in New York,” she said.
Racing TV’s Irish line-up
Europe: Racecourse Media Group (RMG) is rebranding its international racing channel Racing UK. It will be called Racing TV from the start of next year.
RMG holds the broadcast rights to 61 racecourses, which chairman Simon Ellen says equates to “75 percent or so of all the British and Irish racing available” and covers “90 odd percent of all the Group and Graded races”.
RMG announced ten months ago that Racing UK had secured the rights, previously held by rival At The Races (ATR), for all the action from Ireland’s racecourses, as well as Chelmsford’s all-weather track in the UK.
Gary O’Brien will spearhead the Racing TV team in Ireland, where he will be joined by Kevin O’Ryan, Kate Harrington, Ruby Walsh and TRC contributor Donn McClean.
RMG chief executive Richard FitzGerald said: “This is the start of an exciting new era for the channel. We’ve coveted Irish racing for nine years and we’re honoured to be entrusted with the broadcasting rights.”
Sky Sports names new racing team
Europe: Sky Sports’ racing channel ATR, which will also be re-launched on January 1, also revealed its presenting line-up and 2019 schedule this week.
After 15 years as a key component of Sky Sports News, Alex Hammond will head the broadcasting giant’s racing coverage. She will be joined by Jason Weaver, who was named Britain’s racing broadcaster of the year at the Derby Awards in London on Monday, as well as last year’s winner, Luke Harvey. Station stalwarts Matt Chapman and Hayley Moore (sister of world #1 jockey Ryan Moore) remain integral to plans, while former jockey Freddy Tylicki will be adding insight from his experiences in the saddle as a pundit, as will Mick Fitzgerald, Kevin Blake, Josh Apiafi and Jamie Lynch, with Lynch leaving Timeform to join Sky Sports Racing on a full-time basis.
Sky will have exclusivity over French racing, while there will be a presenter at every televised meeting. Monday Night Racing will be launched in January on the channel, covering evening racing. Hammond will host the show alongside Lynch.
Abel Tasman the star lot at Keeneland
North America: Keeneland has 1,555 horses in its catalogue for its 61st January Horses of All Ages Sale, which runs from January 7 through January 10.
There are 701 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 597 yearlings, 252 horses of racing age and five stallions. Supplementary entries are being accepted.
The most exciting lot is six-time G1 winner Abel Tasman, who is catalogued as a broodmare prospect and will sell on the opening day as Hip 288. Keeneland vice president of racing and sales Bob Elliston believes her presence “adds a great deal of excitement to this year’s January Sale.
“This sale traditionally gives breeders – both domestic and foreign – an opportunity to purchase quality broodmares just before the start of breeding season,” said Elliston. “It also is a notable marketplace for buyers shopping for racing prospects and horses of racing age.”
January Sale catalogues are available online at Keeneland.com. Print catalogues are scheduled to be delivered the week of December 17.
Eight tracks to stage new race series
Europe: Epsom, Goodwood, Newbury, Newmarket’s July Course, Leopardstown, Ayr, Haydock and Sandown will host the inaugural Championship Horse Racing (CHR) Series next year. The meetings do require approval from the BHA.
The proposed addition to the British flat racing calendar will see branded teams compete in 48 races between July 25 and September 12 - each worth more than £100,000.
Jeremy Wray, chief executive of CHR, said “agreeing the likely racecourse schedule is a key milestone” for the series, which will announce the competing teams and international media partners “over the next few months”.
Five more years’ support
North America: The South American Organization for the Promotion of Thoroughbreds has renewed its sponsorship agreement with Keeneland for further five years.