The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
The Racing Hub Round-up – your weekly briefing on racing’s top stories
Racing and Racecourses
The Horserace Betting Levy Board has agreed to fund new requests from racing for £3.2m of immediate and short-term funding.
It has agreed to fund £1.46m of one-off costs incurred by racecourses to meet regulatory standards and guidance for hosting fixtures in the current environment. A cap of £75,000 per course is in place across all racecourses meaning that 34 of the 40 racecourses with costs to date will be funded in full.
There is the potential for other remaining racecourses to incur similar costs in the near future and the Board was mindful of this in making overall provision for that possibility.
The Board also agreed to the funding of £1.5m for PPE and face coverings used on racedays.
A request from racing for additional funding of £259,000 in September to cover potential divided races has also been approved.
Paul Darling, HBLB Chairman said: “The Board has acted once again in an agile way to consider and agree new proposals from Racing and we are pleased to be able to offer another £3.2m of support, now, when it is needed. We will consider further requests at our next formal Board meeting in September. As always, these will be judged against the context of HBLB reserves and cashflow and how we optimise our support for the sport and industry.”
The BHA has confirmed that the Chief Executive of British Cycling, Julie Harrington, is to be the new head of British horseracing’s governing body and regulator. She will take over the post at the beginning of 2021 after nearly four years leading British Cycling, which has more than 160,000 grassroots members and is responsible for the elite team preparing for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
♦ Full details in The Racing Hub’s News Update http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-3WN
Phoenix Thoroughbreds, linked to allegations of money-laundering, is to quit British racing a year on from achieving Group 1 success at Royal Ascot with Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup.
The man behind Phoenix, Amer Abdulaziz, was accused in a New York court of involvement in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam. The investigative journalism website Inner City Press said in a Tweet that Abdulaziz was called “one of the main money launderers” by a prosecution witness who himself pleaded guilty to charges in the case.
Phoenix has not responded to questions raised about its funding and its decision to leave the UK came after the Racing Post first reported the allegations in relation to Phoenix and raised a series of questions which it said needed answering.
Under this cloud, Phoenix has continued to have horses with a number of trainers including Karl Burke, Peter Chappel-Hyam, Martin Meade and John Quinn.
Phoenix categorically denied all allegations and said it would co-operate with relevant authorities if asked.
Since the allegations first came to light nine months ago, the BHA has remained on the side-lines and has not taken any apparent action.
The Professional Jockeys Association has called on social media platforms to ban abusers after an anonymous survey conducted by BBC Sport revealed 30% of elite British sportswomen – including female jockeys – have been trolled, a figure that has doubled in five years.
The BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s Survey was sent to 1,068 women in 39 different sports and received 537 responses.
A jockey anonymously revealed she had been told by a man after a fall that he “hoped the horse was okay and not you”, adding that “a man should have been on it”.
PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said: “We know social media abuse is a major issue for jockeys generally, and across sport. Some of the abuse jockeys receive is appalling, for anonymous male posters to abuse any female athlete in the way they do needs to be addressed.
“We would encourage all of our members on the receiving end of any abuse to report it to us and the BHA, who can then advise on any additional action that could be required, including approaching the police.
“We would call on social media organisations to take this issue far more seriously than they do and ban any individual who abuses athletes this way.”
Coral Pritchard-Gordon, the long-term partner of trainer Sir Michael Stoute, has died at the age of 73 after a long illness.
Born in Ireland, her father, Paddy Harbord, founded the Curragh Bloodstock Agency, Coral Pritchard-Gorden was an enthusiastic charity fund raiser, particularly for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Formerly married to Gavin Pritchard-Gordon she used to ride out regularly and once rode in the Newmarket Town Plate, finishing third.
Trainer Gary Moore was fined £750 for breaching Covid-19 regulations at Glorious Goodwood when he entered prohibited owners’ zones at the racecourse.
Moore (pictured) was removed from the track after racecourse staff saw him in the owners’ area near a champagne bar. In the hearing, he claimed he was leaving the racecourse and abiding by the rules.
Moore had been excluded from all courses in Britain for a week before the disciplinary hearing, which was the first relating to a breach of the BHA’s coronavirus rules.
The BHA’s head of regulation, Andrew Howell, submitted a case of multiple breaches of Covid-19 requirements to follow all racecourse signage and obey the instructions of staff and officials, and to avoid areas of the racecourse unrelated to their role.
Moore was told to vacate the owners’ area after watching his first runner of the day, Junkanoo, win the Unibet You’re On Handicap at 50-1 from the March grandstand, cordoned off for essential raceday staff. The trainer said it was his regular spot and he was unaware the area was restricted.
In the BHA’s submission, the Sussex-based trainer was also asked to leave restricted areas on four other occasions. After his last runner Moore was seenwith two people by racecourse officials who said he “walked briskly away” when spotted. Moore then had his wristband removed and was ejected from the racecourse.
The trainer told the hearing he was on his way to leave the racecourse and unaware that he was in the owners’ zone. Moore also argued the rope separating the owners’ areas was confusing and made clear his actions were not deliberate and he had no intention to access the restricted areas at any point.
He also he felt he was being made an example of and other trainers were also upset by officials.
The BHA proposed a three-month exclusion from the racecourse, but the panel decided to fine Moore £750.
Nicholas Wrigley (pictured), the senior steward of the Jockey Club from 2009 to 2014, has been appointed new chairman of Aintree racecourse.
Since 2019, he has been Chairman of The National Stud in Newmarket, which is also owned by The Jockey Club.
Nicholas has been on the York Race Committee since 1992, serving as Chairman from 2005 to 2011. He is also a Director of Pontefract Racecourse. He is currently chairman of investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons Limited.
He succeeds Rose Paterson who died earlier this year.
Judicial, the Julie Camacho trained resounding winner of the Listed Queensferry Stakes at Chester on Monday, could now head for either the Group 1 Betfair Haydock Sprint Cup on 5 September or York’s Listed Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Garrowby Stakes on 6 September.
Of the Elite Racing owned sprinter, assistant trainer Steve Brown said:
“We can get him ready for that weekend and run him in the race we feel is the most suitable for him.
“The Group 1 looks very hot, as it should do, so we might stick to what we know.”
Fancy Blue is in “great shape” after winning the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood says trainer Donnacha O’Brien.
Already the winner of the French Oaks at Chantilly Fancy Blue will probably make her next appearance in either the Matron Stakes or the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on 12 September. Another option is the Prix Vermeille.
O’Brien said “Fancy Blue is in great shape and still being aimed at Irish Champions Weekend. It will be either there or France, which is the same weekend.”
Two Curragh Classic winners and a Royal Ascot heroine head the entries for the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes, one of three Group 2 races at next month’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Strong entries for the main supporting races to the six Group 1 events at Leopardstown on Saturday 12 September and at the Curragh on Sunday 13 September include 20 British-trained horses.
Topping the 53 entries for the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes at the Curragh are Ger Lyons’ Juddmonte Irish Oaks winner Even So and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Peaceful, successful in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Alpine Star which went so close to adding to her victory in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot when runner-up in the Prix De Diane Longines, with Peaceful in third place, at Chantilly heads a seven-strong entry for Jessica Harrington which includes Cayenne Pepper, runner-up to Even So in the Irish Oaks and Albigna.
Lyons has also entered Lemista which took the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh last month and his recent Killarney maiden winner Thunder Kiss while Aidan O’Brien has put 15 horses in the race, among them his Epsom Oaks runner-up Ennistymon, Magic Wand and Fleeting.
Last year’s winner Tarnawa impressed on her first run of the season when accounting for Cayenne Pepper to win the Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork on Saturday and is among Dermot Weld’s entry of seven. Weld has won five of the last six renewals of the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes.
There are seven British-trained entries in the race including the dual Meydan Group 2 winner Magic Lily for Charlie Appleby and Mark Johnston’s Rose Of Kildare, a three-time winner at Group 3 level.
Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas winners Romanised and Siskin lead the way in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown on Saturday, September 12.
Romanised, the Irish Guineas winner in 2018 and successful in the Group 1 Jacques le Marois at Deauville last year, made a thoroughly impressive return to action when successful in the Group 2 Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh last month and has been entered by Ken Condon while Ger Lyons’s Siskin went on to finish third in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood since his Curragh win in June.
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmoon is also among the 46 entries as are Aidan O’Brien’s Lope Y Fernandez, Lancaster House and Wichita, Jessica Harrington’s Ancient Spirit and the Paddy Twomey-trained Sonaiyla.
The Group 1 winner Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara, is one of 12 British-trained entries for the race. Dark Vision, Duke Of Hazzard, Ostilio and Zakouski are all Group 2 winners and are also included in the potential raiding party.
Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground, successful at Royal Ascot and more recently at Goodwood, is among an exciting entry of 61 horses for Leopardstown’s Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes. O’Brien dominates with 21 hopefuls but there is no shortage of opposition to the Ballydoyle battalion.
His sons Joseph and Donnacha are well represented and their early entries include the course winners Federal and Fernando Vichi. Sunday’s impressive Curragh winner Thunder Moon is also among Joseph’s entries.
Jessica Harrington (pictured) has entered her nine-length Leopardstown maiden winner Cadillac and the Navan scorer Los Andes, Dermot Weld could call upon Galway festival winner Blue For You and Ger Lyons has entered his Leopardstown winners Masen and Ides Of August. The Newmarket maiden winner Dhahabi could yet run for Charlie Appleby.
Hamish, who had headed York’s Ebor Handicap ante-post market will not race again this season after sustaining an injury.
Winner of the Melrose Handicap at last year’s Ebor meeting, which gave the four-year-old automatic entry to the Ebor incurred a setback following Royal Ascot’s Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes in June.
Trainer William Haggas said: “It’s very disappointing. He was injured after Ascot and is out for the season. It’s a shame. The Ebor had been the race to aim at, but it just wasn’t to be. Hopefully he’ll be okay and we can year.”
Enable (pictured) will not run at the York Ebor meeting and, instead, will run at Kempton in the September Stakes, a race she won in 2018 on her return from a setback which prepared her for her second victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
In a statement, owner Kahlid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “Prince Khalid has decided that Enable’s next start will be the September Stakes Group Three at Kempton on September 5.
“As has been stated, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Group One remains her main objective.”
Betting and Bookmakers
Matchbook betting exchange, which had its license suspended in February by the Gambling Commission, is now free to offer to provide its services to UK customers.
After a two-year investigation, Matchbook had to cease UK operations as one of a number of sanctions for social responsibility and money laundering failings.
As well as the licence suspension, owners Triplebet was fined £740,000.
However, the Gambling Commission has now said Matchbook has made “significant improvements” to it compliance practices and were confident that they were “among the very best in the industry”.
A Matchbook spokesman said: “This announcement marks the culmination of many months of hard work and investment across our entire business.
“We’re extremely proud of the dedication and commitment of our staff during a very challenging economic period that has enabled Matchbook to once again offer a much-improved exchange platform to UK residents as we continue to grow our market share and deliver an industry leading platform and liquidity pool for our customers.”
SATURDAY 15 AUGUST (1.30 – 4.00) ITV1 & STV
- 1.50 The Denford Stakes (Class 1)
- 2.25 Unibet You’re On Handicap Stakes (Class 2)
- 3.00 The Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Class 1) (Group 3)
- 3.35 The Unibet Hungerford Stakes (Class 1) (Group 2)
- 2.05 The Heed Your Hunch at Betway Handicap Stakes (Class 4)
- 2.40 The Betway Handicap Stakes (Class 3)
- 3.15 The Betway Grey Horse Handicap Stakes (Class 4)
SUNDAY 16 AUGUST (1.30 – 4.00) ITV4
- 1.50 Unibet Extra Places Every Day Handicap Stakes (Class 4)
- 2.25 Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Stakes (Class 3)
- 3.00 Unibet You’re On Handicap Stakes (Class 3)
- 3.35 Unibet St Hugh’s Stakes (Class 1)
- 2.05 William Hill Handicap
- 2.40 Hornblower Stakes
- 3.15 William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap