The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
The Racing Hub Round-up: your catch-up on the week’s top stories
Racing and Racecourses
Next year’s Cheltenham Festival is unlikely to be held in front of full crowds according to the Racecourse Association’s chief executive David Armstrong.
Although racecourses have begun pilot initiatives, starting with the four days of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, Armstrong believes the return of full crowds is some way off.
On Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday, he said: “Looking ahead to next year, I think as things stand it’s unlikely that we could have a full-capacity Cheltenham Festival next March.
“There are a lot of developments happening almost daily and those will help us change the way we live in society, not just in sport. However, as the rules stand it is unlikely we could be ready for a normal Cheltenham.
“I also think it’s pretty unlikely we have full capacity at any racecourse this year. Venues have done their calculations on what their capacity is under the new rules and these range from 25% of normal to up to 40%, which is at Newmarket.”
Consultation into the regulation of shared ownership has been launched to identify risks and opportunities and how these can be addressed to promote growth and consumer confidence in syndicates and racing clubs.
The consultation, announced by the BHA, forms the first of nine key goals for British racing’s recovery, which aims to retain key investors by reforming the rules for shared ownership to protect existing owners and increase the appeal for potential new ones.
The project will look to help ensure that the regulation of shared ownership meets the needs of the sport’s participants and will investigate key areas including how:
- current registration structures can best support evolving ownership models
- prospective owners can make well informed decisions about shared ownerships
- shared ownership currently aligns to expectations;
- regulation could be strengthened to mitigate risks and promote growth
- appropriate information is held about those involved in shared ownerships
The consultation process will be open to all who wish to take part and will take the form of an online survey which will run for eight weeks from the 3 September launch date. The consultation can be accessed here: https://consultation.britishhorseracing.com/ownership/shared-ownership-consultation/.
Southwell’s next three Jump fixtures have been transferred as follows:
- Tuesday 15 September – Hexham
- Thursday 1 October – Ffos Las
- Thursday 22 October – Lingfield
This is due to the temporary suspension of Jump racing at Southwell.
All three afternoon fixtures will be seven race cards with the opportunity to divide to eight races if required. Entry and declaration deadlines will be as normal.
Overseas riders can take part in Irish Champions Weekend without having to endure a 14-day period of quarantine after Horse Racing Ireland announced a change in the regulation.
Jockeys who wish to ride in Group 1 races will be exempt from a fortnight of quarantine which Curragh chief executive Pay Keogh says will add to the occasion, saying:
“It’s a huge bonus. The use of Irish jockeys on runners coming over from Britain has worked well up to now, but our best jockeys will be in high demand for those two days and I think it’s great that jockeys will be able to retain their association with horses on the biggest stage of all. It’s a great development.”
Banning the use of the whip is something Racing Victoria should consider said its chief executive Giles Thompson who has proposed that the Australian state should undertake reforming the use of the whip, ultimately leading to it being used for safety purposes only.
Thompson believes changes are needed to safeguard the “long-term interests” of the sport and said: “As industry leaders, we are charged with not only managing the sport today but ensuring that it remains vibrant and successful for generations to come.
“Making progress on whip reform is important if we want to retain our existing audiences and ensure that we’re an attractive option for the fans and employees of tomorrow.
“It is Racing Victoria’s view that progress on whip reform is needed now and that the industry nationally, acting in its best long-term interests, should continue to work towards a prohibition on the use of the whip.”
Racing With Pride, the official LGBT+ network for British racing, has been launched by the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group
The network is designed for British racing’s participants, workforce and fans who identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other sexual orientations and gender identities (LGBT+) as well as allies of the LGBT+ community who want to demonstrate their support, regardless of their own identity. It will aim to:
- Support: offer a safe space for LGBT+ people and allies to meet, receive support, have fun and enjoy racing online and in person
- Awareness: promote a better understanding of LGBT+ inclusion to ensure racing is everyone’s sport, encouraging all to step up as allies
- Engagement: provide a platform for the sport’s LGBT+ community to have a collective voice in shaping the industry’s future LGBT+ activity
It is an increasingly challenging time for many in racing and this can be exaggerated for minority groups. Racing With Pride aims to be a community in which people can find support and camaraderie, as well as influence social change and promote a diverse and fully inclusive industry.
Everyone who identifies as LGBT+ should feel able to be their true selves without fear of discrimination.
Suppliers of long-term equine disease support services are being sought through an invitation to tender process following the recent closure of the Animal Health Trust.
The Trust delivered four pillars of equine disease support: disease surveillance across the National Herd, diagnostic testing, disease research and provision of expertise to the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.
Following the closure of AHT in July, members of its senior personnel (Richard Newton – Director of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance, and Maire O’Brien – Administrator) have been transferred to the payroll of the BHA on behalf of the industry in order to continue providing essential disease surveillance services.
This has been funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), with substantial contributions from racehorse owners and the TBA, through their existing allocation of funds for disease control.
Non-standard race times will be used on a permanent basis in Britain and Ireland from 1 October.
The decision follows a successful trial earlier this year and aims to provide more flexibility through periods of congestion and avoid clashes and delayed races. Non-standard race times also minimise the need for on-the-day changes, giving more clarity for broadcasters and racing’s customers.
Non-standard race times will be used when there are four or more fixtures across Britain and Ireland in one session or in the period of racing between afternoon and evening racing.
Race times for races covered by ITV will remain standardised whenever possible.
Over 100 lots are on offer in The Great Racing Welfare Auction, including a Coolmore Stud tour, a Grand National experience and a round of golf with AP McCoy at Sunningdale
The bidding is open in The Great Racing Welfare Auction. With over 100 lots on offer, the event is being hosted virtually and will raise much needed funds for the charity’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal. Bidding will run until 24 September when the auction will close.
♦ The Great Racing Welfare Auction details http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-4QV
Hollie Doyle, who secured a fantastic five-timer at Windsor on 29 August and rode a treble the day after at Yarmouth, has scooped the August Jockey of the Month prize
Doyle, 23, who received a commanding 86% of the vote, ahead of fellow nominees Jim Crowley (12%) and William Buick (2%), said: “I’m delighted to have been voted as Jockey of the Month, I never could have imagined to have such a brilliant month as I did in August with the five timer, reaching 50 wins in the Jockeys’ Championship and two Group 3 wins. I’m so grateful to everyone who voted for me, the support has been amazing!”
Andrea Atzeni joined the likes of Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa. when he reached a landmark British 1,000 winners. The 29-year-old secured his 1,000th win on Without A Fight at Haydock Park completing a double on the day.
On reaching the milestone, Atzeni, said: “When moving over here from Italy, from a family with no racing background, I would never have dreamed of reaching 1,000 winners at this stage in my career, so it’s a fantastic achievement.
“I’ve been very lucky to have great support throughout my career starting out as an apprentice and then the relationship with Roger Varian and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum which has obviously been a key part of my success. But I think I’ve ridden for nearly every trainer in Britain, so it’s very much a team effort.”
Jockey Ben Curtis has been unsuccessful in getting his 14-day provisional suspension for breaching Covid-19 protocols at Newmarket last week lifted. He has not been able to ride or been allowed at a racecourse since, and now faces the possibility of further sanctions for his actions at a full disciplinary panel inquiry into the incident, due to take place this Friday.
Curtis was immediately banned from riding after entering an area restricted to owners at Newmarket. He was removed from the course and provisionally stood down for 14 days.
Battaash could head to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint if things go according to plan in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.
Trainer Charlie Hills talking to Sky Sports Racing said : “He’s only had three runs this year. He’s fresh, he’s well and is in great shape. I couldn’t be more pleased will how Battaash is training,”
“He looks very proud at what he is doing. His enthusiasm levels are great. As long as the ground stays reasonably good for France then that’s where we’ll go.”
“There’s every chance. If he was really impressive in the Abbaye and he’s fit and well we’ll have to speak to Sheikh Hamdan and he’ll make the decision,” said Hills.
“He won at Royal Ascot first time out this year so why can’t he have his first run at Ascot again next year. There are plenty of routes to take.
“Battaash is the most important thing to us – his health and well-being. That is what we’ll train him for.”
Golden Horde, narrowly beaten into third place in Spring Cup at Haydock, will next tackle the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot where he’s likely to again face the winner Dream Of Dreams and runner up Glen Shiel.
On the Ascot race, trainer Clive Cox said: “He’ll most definitely go there,” and on the Sprint Cup he added: “That was definitely the worst ground he’s run on, which means we have a very versatile performer that can perform on quicker or slower ground – and that is always pleasing.
“He ran a super race. He was drawn in the middle and he would have had to cross over some pretty well-used ground even on the outer track that hadn’t been used as much.
Kirstenbosch, the 33/1 runner-up to Enable in Kempton’s September Stakes, could next be seen in the Pride Stakes at Newmarket on 9 October.
The filly’s trainer James Fanshawe said: “Poor old Kirstenbosch, she barely got a mention! Obviously, all the attention was on Enable and nobody really noticed Kirstenbosch ran the race of her life to be second.
“She got some black type, which was the plan, and we were delighted with her. We might look at the Pride Stakes at Newmarket next.”
Meanwhile, Fanshawe is looking at options for The Tin Man after he finished four-lengths sixth in Haydock’s Sprint Cup having won the race in 2018 and finishing second last year.
Fanshawe said:“ He’s come out of the race very well. He seems to have been in as good a form as he’s ever been this year at home and he’s run three very good races, I think.
“It would be nice to find him something a bit easier, but there aren’t many opportunities for him – you’ve got the Bengough Stakes at Ascot two weeks before the Champions Sprint, otherwise you’re looking at five and seven-furlong races.”
Alkumait, an impressive winner of a six-furlong Goodwood maiden, could be make an attempt at Group Two glory in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury later this month.
Trainer Marcus Tregoning said “I think the plan at the moment is to run him in the Mill Reef two weeks from last Saturday – that’s where he’s probably going to go.”
“If he didn’t go there, he could step up a furlong, possibly, and go for the Horris Hill. He may even do both – but at the moment it looks like we’re going to enter him in the Mill Reef and have a look at that.”
Betting and Bookmakers
Starting prices will continue to be based on odds supplied by the major off-course bookmakers for up to the next six months, regardless of crowds or on-course bookmakers being allowed access to tracks.
Instead of using on-course layers, SPs have been supplied to the Press Association by the major operators adopting the same formula as that used when prices were based on the racecourse betting market.