The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
Your weekly round-up of top racing stories in a nutshell, plus upcoming fixtures
Racing and racecourses
The reasons for an independent disciplinary panel overturning the ten-day bans on seven jockeys received after the void London National at Sandown have been given as poor visibility and the yellow stop-racing flag not being actively waved.
The jockeys, James Davies, Philip Donovan, Daryl Jacob, Jamie Moore, Stan Sheppard, Harry Skelton and Adam Wedge, received the bans for failing to stop when the yellow flag was deployed before the third-last fence after Houblon Des Obeaux had suffered a fatal heart attack on the previous circuit.
After an appeal last week, the bans were overturned and the riders can now compete over the Christmas and New Year period.
Now, the panel’s reasons for overturning the bans have been made available.
The panel were satisfied, having interviewed the jockeys in depth, that they were telling the truth when they said they had not seen the flag deployed by head groundsman Craig Williamson. (more at http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-Mx)
A series of unethical and/or unlawful practices have been identified in the report of BHA’s review of the buying and selling of bloodstock and racehorses in British racing. The report also says the bloodstock industry is not being regulated in any meaningful way which it described as not an acceptable or sustainable state of affairs.
As a result, a number of recommendations have been made including tighter regulation through an enhanced new Bloodstock Industry Code of Practice and the introduction of a BHA operated licensing system for all Agents operating in the British bloodstock industry.
(more at http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-Mx)
Jockeys and Trainers
Having broken the record for the number of winners ridden by a female jockey in a calendar year, Hollie Doyle won her first race outside Europe when she rode the Archie Watson trained Maystar to victory in Doha, with first place prize money just short of £45,000
Hollie Doyle was among the winners when she was named Lady Jockey of the Year at the Professional Jockeys Association’s 2019 Lesters Awards. The winners were:
- Lady Jockey of the Year: Hollie Doyle
- Apprentice Jockey of the Year: Cieren Fallon
- Flat Ride of the Year: Paul Hanagan, Dutch Decoy, Hamilton, 30 August
- Flat Jockey Special Recognition: Pat Smullen
- Conditional Jockey of the Year: Jonjo O’Neill Jnr
- Jump Ride of the Year: Mattie Batchelor, Noble Glance, Fontwell, 22 August
- Jump Jockey Special Recognition: Noel Fehily
- Flat Jockey of the Year: Oisin Murphy
- Jump Jockey of the Year: Richard Johnson
A new agreement has been reached between the Professional Jockeys Association and the Racehorse Owners Association which will mean jockeys will receive half the riding fee for any horse becoming a non-runner after the final declaration stage. The new deal replaces the current arrangement where jockeys receive 40% of the fee if the horse is scratched after 9am on the day of the race.
Riding fees will remain unchanged at £127.14 on the Flat, and £173.59 in jump races
Following an encouraging performance on the Lambourn gallops, Altior is set to defend his title in Friday’s two-mile Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
The Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old had been stepped up in distance this season with the King George VI Chase being his main objective. But he suffered his first defeat in 20 starts over jumps when beaten by Cyrname at Ascot last month in the 2m5f Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase and, after an unsatisfactory piece of work, Henderson decided against a run in the Boxing Day race.
Having been non-runner at Ascot on Saturday because the ground was too soft, Paisley Park will “probably” be entered for the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, but Emma Lavelle prefers Cheltenham’s Cleeve Hurdle on 25 January, saying “my overriding feeling is we will head straight for the Cleeve.”
Philip Hobbs trained Defi Du Seuil, who won the Schloer Chase at Cheltenham and then the Tingle Creek at Sandown, is set to run at Ascot on 18 January in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase. Frank Berry, J P McManus’ racing manager said: “You’ve got the weather and everything to take into account, but at this stage we’re going to Ascot.
“He’s a star, and you can only be proud of everything he’s done.
“He’s such a great little horse – he missed a season, but to come back better than ever is incredible. Philip has done a marvellous job with him, all credit to him.”
The Evan Williams five-year-old, Esprit Du Large is to have a break after winning the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown earlier in the month, with his next intended race the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Betting and Bookmakers
Paddy Power are to return to sponsoring British racing when they back three races at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day:
- The Paddy Power Broken Resolutions Already Dipper Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
- The Paddy Power Handicap Chase Grade 3
- The Paddy Power 68 Sleeps To Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle
The Flutter-owned bookmaker last sponsored at Cheltenham at the end of 2015.
The Tote is set to return to Bangor and Chester racecourse in 2020, after a seven-year absence. The Tote will supplement the existing Chester Bet operation at the Roodee, whilst it will be the exclusive pool operator at Bangor.
As part of the deal, the Tote will sponsor a number of races at Chester, including the Chester Cup, which will have prize money of £154,000, as well as races at Bangor.
William Hill have not responded to reports that they are considering the sale of around 30 betting shops based in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, which they acquired from Stanley Leisure in 2005 for £595m. In their latest trading update in November, William Hill reported that like-for-like betting shop revenue had fallen 16% against prior year.
With the addition of Betfair and Paddy Power, six bookmakers have signed-up to a new streaming rights agreement with the At the Races affiliate racecourses.
The new model is based on bookmakers paying a percentage of their turnover on racing, rather than profit, with the reasoning behind the new approach that it protects media rights owners from racing being used as a loss-leader.
The other bookmakers are BetVictor, Betway, BoyleSports and Unibet and, as well as covering tracks owned by Arena Racing Company, the deal includes Ascot, Bangor and Chester.
The Racing Post has launched a new Friday racing preview programme available on social media called What A Shout hosted by Dave Orton.
Upcoming British fixtures
Fixtures subject to change. ITV/ITV4
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