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

Gone but not forgotten: Defoe (Andrea Atzeni) winning the G1 Coronation Cup at Epsom last year from Kew Gardens. Photo: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com

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


Hugh Bowman banned for careless riding

Oceania: Top Australian jockey Hugh Bowman has been banned for six weeks after being found guilty of careless riding during a horrific accident where a horse and rider were trampled.

The 40-year-old's horse, Smart Image, collided with Hot 'N' Hazy at the 300m mark at Rosehill in Sydney. The  incident forced Hot ‘N’ Hazy to clip the heels of Duchess and crash to the ground.

Hot ‘N’ Hazy’s rider, Andrew Adkins, suffered a broken left leg and collapsed lung. The 22-year-old's injuries are so severe he will be off the track until next year. He took to social media to thank his supporters. “All good. There is a smile under the rona [face] mask! Thanks everyone for the messages,” Adkins wrote on Instagram.

Bowman, the rider of the great Winx, said he made a “calculated decision”, which resulted in “devastating circumstances”, but he said he disagreed with Racing NSW Acting Chief Steward Wade Birch, who said that the world #9 rode in a “careless manner”.

Varian’s tribute to Defoe

Europe: The Roger Varian-trained Defoe suffered a fatal injury on the gallops on Wednesday. The Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned 6-year-old grey won nine of his 22 starts, including the G1 Coronation Cup and G2 Hardwicke Stakes.

A post on Varian’s website said that “although not large in stature, Defoe had the heart of a lion” and that “fans from around the world will no doubt join us in mourning his loss and celebrating his achievements”.

"He was a lovely horse who had been around for a few years,” said Varian. “He climbed the ranks from humble beginnings to a Group 1 like the Coronation Cup. He’s been a star and was one of those nice guys.

Ashford in Southern Hemisphere stallion offer

North America: Ashford Stud will offer the services of its stallions remaining in the U.S. for the summer and fall for matings on the Southern Hemisphere season’s schedule.

Coolmore’s American arm will offer world #26 Uncle Mo (2020 fee in America $125,000) at a Southern Hemisphere fee of $30,000, while 14-year-old world #74 Munnings ($40,000 in the U.S. for 2020) will stand for $15,000. World #12 Lookin At Lucky ($20,000) and Practical Joke ($25,000) are advertised at $10,000.

Search for new Derby sponsor begins

Europe: International banking firm Investec has confirmed that it has ended its sponsorship of the Epsom Derby six years early.

It had sponsored the race, as well as the Coronation Cup and the Oaks, since 2009, and the deal was due to run until 2026. It was one of the highest-profile non-bookmaker sponsorships in the sport

The withdrawal signals a change of marketing strategy and completes the exit from sports sponsorship for a company that had previously backed the England cricket team and England’s women's hockey team.

The St Leger at Doncaster in September is also currently without a sponsor, which means that three of the five Classics in British flat racing are now currently without a backer.

Boom times at Oregon’s top track

North America: Grants Pass Downs, Oregon’s premier  racing track, concluded its second commercial meet on July 8 following a four-week run of Tuesday and Wednesday racing that began on June 16, carding 78 races over nine dates.

The meet saw a dramatic jump in online and off-track betting, with nearly 94 per cent of the  handle being driven by off-site betting – representing an astounding 859 percent increase from last summer’s meet.

It handled a total of $2,235,303, nearly quadruple the total amount from last year’s non-commercial summer meet. The horsemen and horsewomen received $619,511 in purse money on the season at an average of $68,835 per race day and $7,942 per race.

Compared to summer 2019, average race-day purses rose by $38,863 – up 130 percent. Additionally, the track’s field size jumped to an average 7.94 horses per race over last summer's 5.34.

Elsewhere in racing …

North America: Keeneland’s president-elect, Shannon Arvin, has said in an open letter to the industry that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required upon arrival at September Sale. Full letter here

Oceania: Australian Sam Freedman will join father Anthony in a new training partnership. More here  

Europe: Online bookmaker Unibet has announced its support of British racing’s #GoRacingGreen project, which makes UK racing accessible to those who suffer from mental health problems. More here

North America: Remington Park in Oklahoma has released its 2020 stakes schedule, which sees a purse reduction of $820,000 from the 2019 stakes.

Europe: A documentary on Khadijah Mellah, the first female Muslim jockey to win a race in the UK, has been named Best British Short Film at the British Documentary Film Festival. More here

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