The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
Your weekly round-up of top racing stories in a nutshell, plus upcoming fixtures and TV races
Racing and Racecourses
Horse Racing Ireland’s five-year strategic plan for the horse racing and breeding industry for 2020-2024 has been unvieled. Setting out six strategic priorities, with a focus on people and horses, HRI’s strategic plan outlines actions that will drive an increase in the return on government investment, significantly improve the worth of the industry to the rural economy and build on the numbers employed across the country.
The strategy’s ambition comprises six key goals:
- achieve sustainable employment in racing and breeding at 35,000
- broaden the interest and appeal in racing to increase attendance to 1.5m
- introduce a second all-weather track at Tipperary
- redevelop the equine campus at the Irish Equine Centre
- increase fixtures to 416 with minimum race prize money of €125,000
- conduct education and training programmes to meet the racing industry’s employment needs
The Racing League, a new ground-breaking initiative on the Flat this summer, was unveiled in London on Monday.
Championship Horse Racing is hoping the team-based league format will “bring increased levels of innovation, fan engagement and accessibility” to the sport.
Twelve teams each consisting of two to four trainers working together, three jockeys, stable staff and a squad of 30 horses, will battle it out for a total of £1.8million in prize money, as well as an overall prize to the team that wins the league title.
Held over six consecutive evening race meetings in July and August, the Racing League will be contested at four racecourses – Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle and Windsor.
Racing in bespoke team colours, the 12 teams will compete across 36 handicap races (rated 0-90), each worth £50,000.
The Racing League’s inaugural meeting is set to be held on 16 July. Each race meeting’s six races will be contested over distances between five furlongs and a mile and a half, with all 36 races broadcast live on Sky Sports Racing.
Pictured at the Racing League’s launch are Matthew Imi, Alex Hammond, Martin Cruddace, Martin Dwyer and Jeremy Wray.
Robert Havlin rode his 1,000th British winner when the John Gosden trained Pitchers Point won at Lingfield.
Trainer Richard Guest, 54, is to train out of Exning near Newmarket whilst keeping his Wetherby, West Yorkshire stables. At his new location he will have over 40 boxes whilst the Yorkshire site will be used for pre-training and recuperation.
Jockey Danny Hand received a 14-day ban from Leopardstown stewards for “supplying false information” at an enquiry.
Initially, Hand had said that he pulled up his mount School Lane after the first fence of a handicap chase but, after a race video was played he was asked for further comment. At this point he said he had bypassed the second fence in error.
Cheltenham Festival contenders Tiger Roll and Envoi Allen were among eight horses trained by Gordon Elliott took part in gallop at Leopardstown on Monday. Others included Delta Work and Samcro.
Elliott said: “Envoi Allen went well. Fury Road always works well and I was very happy with him.
“Lisa (O’Neill) rode Tiger Roll and I was delighted with him. I just needed to get a good blow into him and we’re happy with him.
“Samcro schooled and Mark Walsh gave Delta Work a pop as well. Coeur Sublime worked well and we were happy with all of them.”
Also at Leopardstown was Gavin Cromwell’s Unibet Champion Hurdle hope Darver Star.
Cromwell said: “He went well and I was happy with him. He came home in front and worked well, so it’s all systems go.
“It’s a massive ask, but at the same time he deserves to run and has a place chance. It’s not the best renewal.
“I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t come up the hill.”
Leading Qipco 1000 Guineas hope Powerful Breeze has met with a setback and the Hugo Palmer trained three-year-old, winner of Doncaster’s Group 2 May Hill Stakes, will not race in the first half of the season.
Betting and Bookmakers
The new Tote guarantee will be available on all four days at the Cheltenham Festival.
The guarantee ensures the Tote will always match the industry starting price if the dividend is lower than the SP, which went live on their website last month.
The guarantee has been trialled at a number of fixtures where the Tote claim it has generated an uplift in turnover not just in the win pools, but also had a knock-on effect to other pool bets.
The guarantee will not only be available at Cheltenham but also at all other courses operating over the four days.
The Tote also say that each day’s Placepot pool will be an estimated £1m.
Sandown 1.20, 1.55, 2.30, 3.05
Wolverhampton 1.35, 4.10, 2.45
Subject to change. ITV/ITV4