The Racing Hub’s Round-up: the week’s top stories
The Racing Hub Round-up: your catch-up on the week’s top stories
Racing and Racecourses
Revised stop-race procedures for British racing will take effect from 4 January 2021.
Developed by the British Horseracing Authority in conjunction with the Racecourse Association and Professional Jockeys Association, the changes have been made to ensure the procedure is as clear and safe as possible for riders, racecourse staff carrying out the procedure and for those on course and watching on.
The main changes are:
- The stop-race flag has been redesigned from yellow to orange and yellow quarters, to be as visible as possible and consistent with other racing jurisdictions
- The stop-race procedure now explicitly requires multiple flags to be deployed, either in multiple locations or multiple flags in one location if that is all that is possible
- Fox 40 whistles will continue to be used, but there will now be no additional verbal instructions to ensure only the sound of the whistle can be heard
- There will be tailored announcements via the public address system to ensure there is as much clarity as possible for those on course and broadcasters
The stop-race flag will continue to be used by starters and advanced flag operators to ensure there is consistency for riders and that deployment of the stop race flag means they must not continue riding, irrespective of their position on the course.
Arena Racing Company intends to replace the current fibresand surface at Southwell with Tapeta, which is in use at sister tracks Newcastle and Wolverhampton.
Fibresand has been used at the Nottinghamshire venue since the inception of all-weather racing in 1989 yet despite several regeneration efforts, the time has now come for it to be replaced.
ARC chief executive, Martin Cruddace, said: “Racing at both Wolverhampton and Newcastle has benefitted hugely from the installation of Tapeta, as we have worked closely with Michael Dickinson, Joan Wakefield and their team on the maintenance and upkeep of both surfaces.
“Tapeta represents the next generation of artificial all-weather racing surface, in terms of its appeal to both trainers and jockeys, and it offers a number of benefits regarding its safety record, relative lack of kickback and fairness for horses. In addition, it has the ability to handle very low temperatures and significant rainfall.
“The installation of Tapeta will give us an opportunity to look at the flat programme at Southwell and possibly introduce some Fast Track Qualifier races for the All-Weather Championships, for example.
“This work represents another significant step forward for racing at Southwell, which we intend to be one of the finest all-weather tracks in the world.”
It is expected work will start in the spring and be completed by summer 2021.
Nevin Truesdale, 46, has been promoted to the position of the Jockey Club’s Group Chief Executive from 1 January 2021.
Nevin (pictured) has led the company in an ‘acting’ capacity since the end of August, when Delia Bushell left the organisation after an internal enquiry and subsequent report upheld allegations of gross misconduct.
Truesdale said: “The Jockey Club is full of talented and hardworking women and men who are passionate about the future of British Racing, whether they have come into the industry from a whole range of different sectors or had a career within the sport to date. I’d like to pay tribute to how our teams have handled the challenges of the pandemic and its impacts so far and I’m confident we will navigate this crisis and on to a very exciting future.
“Over the past few months, I’ve enjoyed strengthening working relationships and making significant progress for the industry with our diverse range of stakeholders and commercial partners.
“Collaboration and strong relationships are so important to delivering success, as is listening to your customers, providing fantastic experiences for all and constantly embracing change and innovation. We’ll be working hard to continue our success in these areas in the years to come.”
The BHA has apologised for allowing a horse to run with a racially offensive name, and has instructed her to be renamed.
The BHA was made aware that a David Evans-owned and trained three-year-old carried the derogatory name Jungle Bunny and henceforward would be called Jingle Bunny.
In an apology, the BHA said: “We reiterate today the apology that was issued yesterday after the horse ran. Racist language is not tolerated in our sport, whether intentional or accidental.
“We are opposed to racism and prejudice in all its forms and are committed to making British racing an open, diverse and inclusive industry that is welcoming to all.
“We have taken steps today to ensure the horse was renamed immediately. It is now called Jungle Bells. This will be reflected in records of the race result and horse form.”
Head of media Robin Mounsey added: “We are deeply concerned as to how this happened and are reviewing the processes for approving the names of racehorses.”
Emma Evans, wife of the horse’s owner-trainer, said the naming had been an innocent mistake deriving from the name of the filly’s sire, Bungle Inthejungle.
“David’s daughter gave us the horse and there’s a computer game called Jungle Bunny Run, which her son loves playing,” Evans said. “I just thought, that’ll do. I had no idea. It was completely innocent and that is the gospel truth.
“None of the staff said anything, nobody else said anything and I’m totally flabbergasted,” she added. “I’m upset because we’ve had our Sunday ruined by everybody ringing about it. It makes you look like a racist, which I am certainly not.”
John Oxx and Barry Geraghty were among the winners of the annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards 2020 announced today. Both recently retired, they were honoured with the Contribution to the Industry Award and the Irish Racing Hero Award respectively.
The 10 winners of the 18th annual awards were:
- Contribution to the Industry Award: John Oxx (pictured)
- Irish Racing Hero Award: Barry Geraghty
- Horse of the Year Award: Al Boum Photo
- Emerging Talent Award: Gavin Ryan
- National Hunt Award: Rachael Blackmore
- National Hunt Achievement Award: Eugene and Maxine O’Sullivan
- Point-to-Point Award: Colin Bowe
- Flat Award: Colin Keane
- Flat Achievement Award: Tony Mullins
- Ride of the Year: Gavin Ryan
Apprentice jockey Billy Garritty has been banned for 21-days for ignoring the veterinary surgeon’s advice at Newcastle after Princess Of Lir was withdrawn at the start of the 6f nursery.
The starter took the two-year-old was taken out of the race after she became unruly in the stalls and was found to be lame. However, the 5lb claimer rode the filly back down the track from the start, acting against the instructions of the vet who examined Princess Of Lir.
A stewards’ inquiry deemed Garritty to be in breach of the rules and he will serve a suspension from 29 December 29 to 18 January 18.
The stewards’ report said: “An inquiry was held to consider why Billy Garritty, the rider of Princess Of Lir, had ridden back from the start when his horse had been withdrawn, ignoring the veterinary surgeon’s instructions.
“The rider, veterinary surgeon and the starter were interviewed. Having heard their evidence they found the rider in breach, in that he had acted against the instructions of the veterinary surgeon. Garritty was suspended for 21 days.”
Horses and Races
Thyme Hill has been confirmed by trainer Philip Hobbs as on course for Saturday’s Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
After a spin over five furlongs on the woodchip gallop at Hobbs’ Minehead yard on Tuesday, Hobbs said on Nick Luck’s podcast: “Thyme Hill had his last proper gallop before the race this morning, and he went particularly well. We’re very happy with him and intend to run.
“Everything has gone particularly well since Newbury. He’s been very healthy, very well – and most importantly he worked well this morning.
“Richard Johnson schools him on Thursday morning – and all being all right, we’ll be there on Saturday. I don’t see any reason that the testing track and the very soft ground should be a problem.”
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Lake View Lad, the 16/1 winner of Aintree’s Many Cloud Chase, when he beat favourite Santini, is now heading to another Grade 2 contest in next month’s Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham, won last year by Santini.
Nick Alexander, who trains the Trevor Hemming’s 10-year-old said: “He’s in great form, he’s come out of his race really well. If all goes to plan, he’ll go to Cheltenham for the Cotswold Chase at the end of January.”
“He seemed happy enough in that company. We’ll have another go and we’ll probably burst our bubble! Aintree was very special.”
Betting and Bookmakers
Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the Betting & Gaming Council, said on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday that racing could lose out if tight affordability restrictions are put in place for the gambling industry.
Speaking about the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act, she urged the racing industry to work with the betting operators or the £350m the sector generates for the sport will be reduced.
“This issue of affordability is really important. We need the horse racing industry to step up and be supportive, because that £350million a year that is currently going into racing via the betting industry is going to reduce if there are more restrictions,” said Simmonds.
Media and Marketing
The Racing Post and Guardian shared the top honours at the 54th Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards.
David Carr of the Post was crowned Racing Writer of the Year for the first time, whilst Bill Barber, also of the Post, was named Specialist Writer. Racing Reporter of the Year went to the Guardian’s Chris Cook.
Racing TV’s Nick Luck was Broadcaster of The Year.
The British Horseracing Authority Chief Medical Adviser Dr Jerry Hill (pictured) was awarded the George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in Racing.
The full list of 2020 award winners is:
- Writer of the Year – David Carr (Racing Post)
- Reporter of the Year – Chris Cook (Guardian)
- Specialist Writer – Bill Barber (Racing Post)
- Photographer of the Year – Tracy Roberts
- Picture of the Year – Francesca Altoft
- Broadcaster of the Year – Nick Luck (Racing TV)
- Emerging Talent – Nick Seddon
- Flat Jockey of the Year – Hollie Doyle
- Flat Trainer of the Year – John Gosden
- Jump Jockey of the Year – Brian Hughes
- Jump Trainer of the Year – Willie Mullins
- Owner of the Year – Hamdan Al Maktoum
- International Trainer of the Year – William Haggas
- Arabian Achievement Award – Jessica Quinlan
- The George Ennor Trophy – Dr Jerry Hill
FRIDAY 18 DECEMBER (1.00 – 4.30) ITV4
- 1.20 Sky Bet Money Back Maiden Hurdle
- 1.55 Sky Bet Extra Places Every Day Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
- 2.30 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
- 3.05 Sky Bet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
- 1.35 Navan Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
SATURDAY 19 DECEMBER (1.30 – 4.00) ITV4
- 1.50 Ascot Handicap Chase
- 2.25 Porsche Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1)
- 3.00 Silver Cup (Listed Handicap Chase)
- 3.35 Betfair Exchange Trophy (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle)
- 2.05 Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle
- 2.40 Betfair Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase