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

Justify: “He has the obvious pedigree advantages through [his sire] Scat Daddy, and we think that will work very well on the grass,” says John Magnier. Photo: Susie Raisher/NYRA.com

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


Justify could be ‘a Northern Dancer’ - Magnier

North America: John Magnier believes Triple Crown winner Justify has the potential to be “a Northern Dancer or a Sunday Silence”, the Coolmore supremo said in rare interview at Coolmore Australia’s virtual stallion parade.

The Hunter Valley farm was forced to stage its annual stallion parade online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Its impressive roster of shuttlers and residents were on display, with additional input from dual Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert, Winx’s handler Chris Waller and world #1 jockey Frankie Dettori.

Likening Justify two of the world’s great breed-shaping sires, Magnier said, “He could be a Northern Dancer or he could be a Sunday Silence. He could be the next big thing. He fulfils the good looks and the masculine type of horse that you must have for a good stallion.

“Then he has the obvious pedigree advantages through [his sire] Scat Daddy, and we think that will work very well on the grass. And there’s proof of it, so we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, as it were.”

Justify, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky for the Northern Hemisphere breeding season, will shuttle to Coolmore Australia for the 2020 Southern Hemisphere season, standing for AU$66,000.

The Irishman shrugged off negatives surrounding the stallion’s lack of starts as a 2-year old, saying that his then-connections tell him that Justify “had shown a lot of ability but he just didn’t get to the track”. “It was very important for us that we had to know that. We’ve committed a lot of our own best broodmares in Europe and America to him also.”

Saudi Cup: Why DQ could be ‘automatic’ for Maximum Security

Middle East: Maximum Security will receive an “automatic” disqualification from the Saudi Cup if he is found to have “received performance-enhancing drugs of any kind within the previous six months of the Saudi Cup,” HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA), confirmed on Nick Luck's daily podcast on Tuesday.

He described the process by which Maximum Security would be disqualified from his February 29 victory in the $20 million race.

Prince Bandar said that, while he sympathised with the horse’s owners, if the results of the U.S. federal investigation involving trainer Jason Servis provides “concrete evidence” of any misdemeanours, then “by the race book and our own rules in the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia” a disqualification was imperative.

Maximum Security is the likely favorite for the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Saturday.

Derby Dan plea over Country House

North America: Darby Dan Farm has announced that its 2021 breeding season roster will include 2019 Kentucky Derby winner Country House, who was awarded the race on the disqualification of Maximum Security.

Bred by the late Joseph V Shields, Country House, an earner of more than $2.1 million, will be participating in Darby Dan’s ‘Share the Upside’ program, and his fee has been set at $7,500 S&N.

Country House is by multiple champion and Classic winner Lookin At Lucky. Ryan Norton, Darby Dan Farm’s stallion director is encouraging “breeders to come out to the farm and see him”.

Ascot staying on At The Races

Europe: Ascot and At The Races have agreed a three-year extension to their partnership on domestic pay TV and digital platforms, committing the racecourse’s rights to the channel until January 1, 2024.

The new agreement covering non-terrestrial television in the UK and Ireland will see Sky Sports Racing broadcast live coverage from all Ascot's 25 annual fixtures. At The Races will continue to manage licensing and distribution of Ascot races for live streaming to UK betting operators under a separate long-term agreement. 

“We have developed an excellent partnership with the whole team at Sky Sports Racing since re-joining the refreshed channel last year,” said Juliet Slot, COO at Ascot. “The growth in their audiences across our time as our pay TV partner has supported our desire to bring Ascot and all our annual racing to a broader, wider consumer base alongside our terrestrial partner ITV; reaching new audiences is an important part of our brand strategy.”

New Jockey Club board members

North America: Dr Larry Bramlage and William S Farish Jr have been elected to the board of stewards of the Jockey Club, filling the expired positions of Barbara Banke and Michael O’Farrell Jr.

Bramlage is an internationally recognised equine orthopaedic surgeon and a shareholder in Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington. He is a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

A member of the Jockey Club since 1996, Farish, whose family owns Lane’s End Farm, previously served as a steward from 2015 through 2019. He is on the board of directors for Breeders’ Cup and served two terms as chairman.

In addition to Bramlage and Farish, the board of stewards consists of Everett R Dobson, C Steven Duncker, Ian D Highet, Stuart S Janney III, William M Lear Jr, John W Phillips, and Vinnie Viola.

Elsewhere in racing …

Africa: Embattled Phumelela Gaming, which is licensed to operate horseracing and totalisator betting in seven of South Africa’s nine tracks, has published a business plan confirming Mary Oppenheimer Daughters has provisionally acquired its horse racing assets and business. More here  

Europe: ID and age verification platform provider 1account has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with British jumps trainer Warren Greatrex. More here

Europe: The Arabian Racing Organisation’s Wathba Stallions Cup Series will return to the UK for 2020. More here

North America: Keeneland has released its condition book for the 2020 fall meet and  the stakes races to be run on the Breeders’ Cup undercard in November. More here

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