The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Melbourne Cup international entries down
Oceania: Last year’s winner Cross Counter heads the 152 nominations for the 2019 A$8 million Melbourne Cup, which has once again has attracted a host of international competitors looking to win “the race that stops a nation”.
Of the nominations 39 are trained overseas (down from last year’s 50), including last year’s English-trained trifecta - Cross Counter, Marmelo and Prince Of Arran - as well as the remaining four of the first seven home in last year's race. Aidan O’Brien, who is yet to win the race, has 11 entries.
“Racing Victoria are really pleased that there is a balance between the quality of international runners and also the domestic runners,” said Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper, Greg Carpenter. “It's great to see Cross Counter given his chance to become the first dual international winner of the Melbourne Cup.”
Australian owner Lloyd Williams, who has won a record six Melbourne Cups, is mounting his regular assault on the race with 17 nominations in the 3,200-metre contest. The race will be run on Tuesday, on November 5.
The Caulfield Cup on October 19, the world’s richest 2,400-metre turf handicap, has attracted 143 entries including 25 internationally trained horses.
Weights for the two races will be released on Tuesday, September 10.
‘Brilliant’ Mitole acquired by Spendthrift
North America: Spendthrift Farm has acquired the breeding rights to Mitole, winner of three G1s, the most recent of which was Saturday’s $600,000 Forego Stakes at Saratoga.
Campaigned by owners Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt and trainer Steve Asmussen, the leading sprinter-miler is set to retire at the end of this year and enter stud in 2020 at B Wayne Hughes’ Lexington-based farm.
Spendthrift is offering breeders the opportunity to lock in at a fee of $20,000 S&N for 2020. Mitole’s fee will be subject to change depending on future results. An earner of more than $2 million to date, Mitole is by Eskendereya, who is also the sire of 2017 G1 Met Mile winner Mor Spirit, another Spendthrift stallion.
“The term ‘brilliance’ gets used a lot in this business but there aren’t many horses in recent history that have shown as much consistent brilliance as Mitole,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager.
Kingman colt breaks record at Doncaster sale
Europe: For the second year in a row the opening session of the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale at Doncaster produced a new record sale: a colt by Kingman selling for £440,000, breaking the previous high of £300,000.
Consigned by Charlie and Tracy Vigors’ Hillwood Stud, the colt out of the listed-winning Exceed And Excel mare Shamandar was knocked down to Kevin Buckley on behalf of Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. The colt was one of 19 horses who sold for six-figures, which drove the sale average up ten percent to £49,300 with a superb clearance rate of 91 percent.
Day two was headed by Coulonces Sales’ Wootton Bassett colt selling to Goffs UK Agent Richard Ryan on behalf of an undisclosed client for £280,000.
Arlington Park racino shock
North America: After a decade of lobbying Illinois governors and legislators for permission to offer casino-style games, Arlington Park’s owners, Churchill Downs Incorporation (CDI), has decided not to pursue supplemental gaming at the track.
A statement from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said it was “stunned and profoundly disappointed” by CDI’s failure to pursue a racino license for its Chicago operation, adding that in recent years CDI “elevated its lobbying push by insisting that the track be granted the authority to offer table games”.
While many thought a proposed racino would safeguard the economic feasibility of the racecourse, Churchill Downs chief executive officer Bill Carstanjen said the “economic terms under which Arlington would be granted a casino gaming license do not provide an acceptable financial return and we cannot responsibly proceed”.
Sad end for Roaring Lion
Europe: Just over a year from his signature performance in the Juddmonte International at York, Tweenhills Stud announced the sad news that 2018 Cartier Horse of the Year Roaring Lion has been euthanized after suffering another bout of colic.
The 4-year old had just finished his first breeding season this year at a fee of £40,000, and Weatherbys records him as having covered 133 mares. The mares included G1 winners Bateel, Giofra, Golden Lilac, Lightening Pearl, Molly Malone, Seal Of Approval, Shonan Adela and Simple Verse. He had been shuttled to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand, where he fell ill earlier this month.
He was by El Prado's North American champion sire son Kitten's Joy also out of Vionnet, a G1-placed Street Sense half-sister to G2 winners Moulin De Mougin and Schiaparelli.
David Redvers, racing manager for Qatar Racing, described the likeable grey as a “a true champion”, while a “distraught” Qatar Racing owner Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani said Roaring Lion – “a horse of a lifetime” - was “so brave right to the end”.
Elsewhere in global racing…
North America: Keeneland Library’s has launched a new initiative designed to capture industry stories called the Life’s Work Oral History Project. The first instalment of the series, featuring Claiborne Farm’s Seth Hancock, is already available. More here
North America: The Del Mar Turf Club and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board have approved a model rule for the regulation of bisphosphonates. More here
Europe: Britain’s Jockey Club has agreed a five-year commercial partnership with Ladbrokes, which will see the bookmaker become the new sponsor of Kempton Park Racecourse’s flagship jumps meeting - the two-day Ladbrokes Christmas Festival. More here
Europe: The 10th Duke of Roxburghe, Guy Innes Ker, has died at the age of 64 following a lengthy battle with cancer, at his ancestral home, Floors Castle, near Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. His stud at Floors produced Attraction, who was the was the first horse to win both the 1000 Guineas and the Irish 1000 Guineas in 2004. More here
Europe: Russell Ferris is the new Weatherbys chief executive. Ferris, former head of At The Races in Ireland and previously managing director of Limerick racecourse, has been with the organisation for three years, during which time he has been involved in key digital Stud Book projects.