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

Masar (left) wins the Epsom Derby ahead of, from left: Roaring Lion (third), Saxon Warrior (fourth) and Dee Ex Bee (second). Photo: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com

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


Derby winner Masar to begin stud career

Europe: Following two disappointing showings at Royal Ascot and Newmarket’s July course, Masar, winner of the 2018 Derby, has been retired from racing with immediate effect. The colt gave world #1 trainer Charlie Appleby and Godolphin their first wins in the Epsom Classic. 

Appleby said that, while the son of New Approach had come out of the G2 Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes in “good order”, connections “feel he owes us nothing and the time is right to retire him from racing”.

A decision about his stud future will be made in due course and Appleby believes that Masar will be a “great addition to the Darley stallion roster”.

Zac Purton: ‘I wouldn’t have minded if this season had kept on forever’

Asia: World #5 Zac Purton has regained the Hong Kong championship, 78 wins ahead of his nearest rival, Joao Moreira, but two short of Moreira’s record for the number of wins in a single season of 170, set in 2016-17.

“It’s amazing what I’ve been able to achieve this season,” reflected the 36-year old Australian at Sha Tin on Sunday. “It’s quite astonishing and it’s going to be very hard to equal and extremely hard to top. I wouldn’t have minded if this season had kept rolling on forever.”

Australian trainer John Size held compatriot John Moore at bay on the final day of the season to secure an 11th Champion Trainer title. Only two wins separated the pair entering the 11-race Sha Tin card, and world #11 Moore looking claim an eighth title in what was his penultimate season in the jurisdiction.

However, a Size double paved the way for a three-win victory for the world #14. 

Hollendorfer: the fight goes on

North America: Along with the California Thoroughbred Trainers organization (CTT), Jerry Hollendorfer has filed a civil complaint again Del Mar racetrack for being denied stalls at the summer meet.

CTT lawyer Darrell Vienna said the Hollendorfer legal team would be back in the same San Diego court seeking an immediate restraining order that prohibits Del Mar from denying Hollendorfer’s entries and denying him stalls.

“I would say the odds are against us,” warned Vienna.

On June 22, he was told by the Stronach Group (TSG) he would no longer be allowed to race or train at Santa Anita. TSG would go on to scratch the four horses that he had entered, an act that led TRC’s Charles Hayward in this recent View from the Rail column to opine whether this “is this really how the industry collectively treats a Hall of Fame trainer.  

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) did welcome the veteran handler to race at NYRA tracks but reversed that decision a week later.

Shergar Cup: star line-up for ‘Girls’ team

Europe: the make-up of all the teams has yet to be finalised for the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup jockeys’ at Ascot on August 10, but one thing seems certain from an announcement this week – the defending champions, the ‘Girls’, are going all out for back-to-back successes.

Their team of three features not only Briton Hayley Turner, who last month became only the second female ever to ride a winner at Royal Ascot, and Japan’s recent World Jockeys’ World Cup winner Nanako Fujita, but also the highest-ranked woman rider in the world, 23-year-old Australian Jamie Kah, #138 in the TRC Global Rankings.

Turner captains the side, and her rival team leaders were also named this week: former UAE-based Irishman Tadhg O’Shea does the honours for the Britain and Ireland trio (which will include Danny Tudhope, who rode four winners at the Royal meeting), German Filip Minarik (world #128) is in charge of the Europe team and Japan’s world #26 Yuga Kawada has the role for the Rest of the World.

The Shergar Cup will be run for £360,000, an increase of £90,000, with each race run for £60,000 (2108: £45,000). 

Blue Point to stand in Ireland

Europe: Champion sprinter-elect Blue Point will join Darley’s Irish stallion roster next year, standing at Kildangan Stud alongside his father, world #14 Shamardal.

Nominations manager Eamon Moloney said it was a “tough decision”, with interest coming from breeders both sides of the Irish Sea, but the “value that the Irish breeders are going to try to bring to Blue Point” tipped the scales towards Sheikh Mohammed’s Irish operation.

Moloney also highlighted the 5-year old’s brilliant Ascot record (five wins from six races), where he created created history at this year’s Royal meeting, becoming only the second horse in 85 years to win successive King’s Stand Stakes and, four days later, rounding off his career with victory in the G1 Diamond Jubilee.

More cobalt controversy in Australia

Oceania: Victorian trainer Monica Croston has been suspended for four months on a cobalt charge stemming from a race run more than three years ago.

Croston pleaded guilty to one charge of causing the administration of cobalt to Hezza Tidal Wave in June 2016 but argued that the illegal levels of cobalt found in the horse's system either came from cleaning blocks she used to fight algae build-up in her water tank and troughs or via vitamin injections.

Curragh boss moving on

Europe: Derek McGrath has confirmed he is departing as Chief Executive of Curragh racecourse in October, ending a three-year tenure that included overseeing the largest capital development project in Irish racing history, the €81 million grandstand redevelopment, which reopened in May.

McGrath subsequently suggested to The Irish Times that a lack of unity exists at the County Kildare racecourse due to “a very complex stakeholder and shareholder mix”, which includes influential private figures within racing, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and the state funded Horse Racing Ireland. 

McGrath felt that having “completed the project that [it] was a good time to look for a different future somewhere else” but conceded that there was failure to “integrate behind a shared vision for what we want the Curragh to be”.


Elsewhere in global news …

North America: FanDuel Group, the parent company of TVG, has been named as the official wagering partners of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. TVG will also become the name-in-title sponsor of the $2 million G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the $2 million G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile races. More here

Europe: The Aidan O’Brien-trained Japan’s half a length success at ParisLongchamp in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris provided world #2 Galileo with a landmark 80th G1 winner. More here

Oceania: Godolphin has secured the 12th and final slot in October’s The Everest, Australia’s richest race and the world’s richest sprint. It will finalise its entrant after the stable’s likely contenders begin their spring preparations in the coming weeks. More here

North America: The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) has announced that Olivia Lorello, VMD, PhD, has joined the New Bolton Center’s Equine Field Service team. More here

Europe: Sandy Dudgeon is beginning a five-year term as Senior Steward (non-executive chairman) of the Jockey Club. He succeeds Roger Weatherby. More here

North America: Fasig-Tipton has reached an agreement with Colonial Downs to sponsor the $150,000 Virginia Oaks on August 31. More here

North America: Owner-breeder Brereton C.Jones has been nominated by the Thoroughbred Club of America’s board of directors as the 2019 honor guest. The three-time Kentucky Oaks winner is to be honoured by the club at its 88th Testimonial Dinner in Keeneland on September 27.

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