The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
Your weekly round-up of top racing stories in a nutshell
Racing and Racecourses
A hole in racing’s revenue of £193m has been estimated by the BHA if the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lock-down prevents the sport from taking place until July.
The forecast figure represents 13% of the sport’s annual revenue and is included in a letter sent by the BHA to trainers asking them to lobby their local MPs to support the Authority’s submission for financial aid to the government.
Racing in Ireland continues to be on hold as the Government has announced the current lock-down will not end before 5 May.
Horse Racing Ireland’s (HRI) Industry Education and Training Department have co-ordinated a range of practical services to support those working in the industry while racing is suspended due to Covid-19.
Funded by HRI, the Industry Assistance Programme (IAP) offers access to trained counsellors, psychotherapists and information specialists and provides practical and emotional support for any life challenges users may be dealing with.
There are a range of services and supports and they can be used as many times as necessary. The resource is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Confidential support is accessible by a free phone number, by email, by text or through a smart phone app.
Freephone: (ROI) 1800 303 588 or (NI) 0800 243 458
The Racing Welfare charity has launched an emergency £500,000 appeal in response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying the financial impact has been severe.
The charity, which provides support for all those involved in the sport, is experiencing a significant drop in income as fundraising events and activities have had to be cancelled and with no idea when they might be able to restart. Consequently, Racing Welfare are currently looking at a loss of fundraising income in 2020 of around £500,000.
They have also had to change the ways in which they support their beneficiaries as face-to-face contact is no longer possible.
Their appeal has been kick started by a “wonderful” donation of £50,000 from a prominent figure within racing who wishes to remain anonymous
You can support Racing Welfare by donating on a Just Giving page via their website https://racingwelfare.co.uk/
Newbury Racecourse have entered a partnership with Age Concern Newbury & District to feed the most vulnerable elderly in West Berkshire during the COVID-19 crisis along with Swift Couriers. Age Concern Newbury & District have developed a safe solution, scrutinised by Healthwatch West Berkshire in consultation with West Berkshire Council Adult Social Care and Public Health, to upscale their operation to help more vulnerable elderly people by working with Newbury Racecourse and Swift.
Newbury Racecourse are providing a Meals on Wheels hub in a contained and dedicated area, using the available kitchens and chefs to support the escalating number of vulnerable people who require the service, as well as donating £1,000 worth of food from their existing supplies and waiving any fees associated with the use of the site.
Chefs from both the Fair Close Centre, run by Age Concern Newbury & District, and Newbury Racecourse have joined forces to prepare hot meals up to seven days a week. Swift Couriers is making available technology and support to optimise delivery routes and have also pledged to provide vans to deliver snack packs to outlying areas to help the most vulnerable people in the Borough.
Prize-money for the world’s richest race, the $20m Saudi Cup is being withheld by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) because the winning trainer, Jason Servis, is facing criminal charges in the US.
Servis won the first running of the race in February with Maximum but is one of 27 people facing federal charges as part of an alleged widespread doping scheme, after pre-dawn raids by the FBI and prosecutors.
A subsequent indictment alleges a designer, performance-enhancing substance was administered to Maximum Security last year, when he was named the 2019 champion three-year-old colt in the US.
A statement said: “The JCSA is aware that Jason Servis has been indicted in the US on charges relating to the administration of prohibited substances to horses under his care and control.”
“The JCSA is conducting its own investigation into the allegations and until that is concluded, will withhold payment of prize-money to all connections of horses placed in prize-winning positions.
“The decision has been communicated privately to connections of Saudi Cup runners. Due to difficult operational circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the investigation is not yet concluded.”
The William Haggas’s trained Addeybb took his Australian winnings to nearly £900,000 when completing a Group 1 double with victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
It follows up taking the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill last month with jockey Tom Marquand on board on both occasions, who said: “”Honestly, I feel I had my dream day a few weeks ago but today I was kind of thinking Addeybb would be vulnerable.
“But what a tough, straightforward, genuine horse. He just switches off, knows when to turn it on, and he just drops his head and runs for you and you don’t even have to ask him. It’s an honour to ride a horse like that.”
Speaking from his Newmarket yard, Haggas said: “It’s been a stroke of luck.
“He was the right horse and conditions fell in his favour. It was a gamble and it’s paid off, which doesn’t happen very often.
“They had quite a bit of rain yesterday and then they had a sunny, breezy day today and it became very holding, it was really hard work. But he doesn’t mind that.”
Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider Andrew Thornton says he is nearly at full health after recovering from coronavirus which he caught in March.
He said: “The last week I have been just about back to 100 per cent.
“Where it came from, I don’t know, but luckily Yvonne (wife) and Harry (son) have both managed to avoid catching it. I just tried to separate myself – I used a different bedroom and bathroom, I just stayed away from them.
“I struggled to get up before 1pm, I’d brush my teeth and walk downstairs and I’d be struggling to breathe. After about five days I started to improve, but I lost about three-quarters of a stone in 10 days as I just lost my appetite and everything tasted of salt.”
Australian super horse, Might And Power, has died aged 26. The gelding won seven Group 1 races in the late 1990s, and is one of few horses to have won the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.
Betting and Bookmakers
Ireland’s on-course bookmakers have had their February pitch fees refunded by Horseracing Ireland and no charges will be collected in March.