The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
Your weekly round-up of top racing stories in a nutshell, plus upcoming fixtures
Racing and Racecourses
Horse Racing Ireland has announced that the Punchestown and Fairyhouse meetings, which were both cancelled in recent days, are rescheduled for the following dates:-
Punchestown will now be on Tuesday February 18 and will close for fresh entries by 12 noon on Thursday 13 February and declarations to run must be made by 10am on Monday17 February.
Fairyhouse will now be on Monday February 24 and will close for fresh entries by 12 noon on Wednesday 19 February with declarations to run to be made by 10am on Sunday 23 February.
Jockey Club Racecourses have scaled back plans for housing development at Kempton Park, which means racing will continue at the turf jumps and all-weather track for the foreseeable future.
Sandy Dudgeon (pictured), senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: “Having weighed up the latest information, we’ve now put forward another option alongside the original full site for their consideration. This would involve just a proportion of the available land there and allow jump and all-weather racing to continue.”
The original plan was to demolish the racecourse and build 3,000 new homes, but the proposal never found favour with the local Spelthorne Borough Council.
The revised plan is to build fewer homes on land that is not used for racing, much of it where the old Jubilee start was situated and which has not been raced on since the all-weather surface was installed.
The British Horseracing Authority is to provide integrity services for Irish racing in a new deal which is due to start in the spring.
Niall Cronin, communications manager at the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, said: “The IHRB issued a tender for an external company to provide additional monitoring of betting trends on Irish racing to support our existing integrity functions and provide additional information to our stewards with regard to any issues or concerns that may arise.
“Following the procurement process, the BHA were identified as the preferred supplier. The BHA will be supporting the IHRB in monitoring of betting on Irish racing and we will also be co-operating in other areas of intelligence.”
Grooms from racing yards are being offered free tickets by Jockey Club Racecourses to go racing in their spare time, as part of a new initiative with the National Trainers Federation website, RacingGroom.com.
Tickets will be on offer for 19 selected days and include selected days of The Festival™ presented by Magners, The Randox Health Grand National Festival and QIPCO Guineas Festival.
Jockey Club Racecourses is encouraging racing grooms to bring a guest for free by making available a pair of tickets for the fixtures.
Paddy Broderick, synonymous with riding Night Nurse, winner of the Champion Hurdle in 1976 and 1977, has died at the age of 80.
Born on 1 September 1939, the day the second world war broke out, Broderick began as a Flat jockey in Ireland before moving to Britain, joining Arthur Stephenson, and had his first British winner at Carlisle in 1961. Five years later he rode 50 winners.
Including the two Champion Hurdle victories, Broderick won 18 times on Night Nurse.
Robert Alner, trainer of 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Cool Dawn, has died in hospital, aged 76.
Having been a successful amateur jockey, Alner took out a training licence in 1993. His tally of other big-race winners from his Dorset stables included Kingscliff in the Betfair Chase, Miko De Beauchene in Welsh National, and The Listener in the Irish Hennessy.
A car accident in November 2007 left him paralysed and he and his wife Sally became the first couple to be granted a joint training licence in Britain a year later. They ceased training in 2010.
As well as wife Sally, Alner is survived by their two daughters Jennifer and Louise, who is married to trainer Robert Walford.
Walford said: “He’s been a boss, father-in-law and inspiration to me. He was a brilliant, top-class trainer who did so well with horses that were not expensive. He was tough and had plenty of courage.
“It’s a day of mixed emotions as it’s very sad but Robert had not been particularly well in the last week and had a bad day yesterday.”
Jockey Jimmy Quinn, 52, fractured his hip when his intended mount, Dilly The Pink, kicked him before the six-furlong novice stakes at Lingfield on Saturday.
Quinn, who hasn’t set a date for his race-riding return said: “I’m a bit stiff and sore. It comes with the job.
“I’ve got a fracture at the top of my hip, my pelvis, on the waistline. I’m mobile and I’m able to get about slowly.
Kieran Fox, 30, has called time on his riding career, finishing fifth on his last ride at Chelmsford. Blaming financial pressure, Fox, who rode 223 winner, said he was going to work on the roads, tarmacking.
Tiger Roll and stablemate Delta Work, with respective ratings of 170, have been allotted top weight of 11st 10lb for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday 4 April, details of which are revealed today.
Tiger Roll, who is trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Gigginstown House Stud, is aiming to emulate the legendary Red Rum as a three-time winner of the Randox Health Grand National and, if victorious, would become the first horse to do so in consecutive years. He is the 13/2 favourite with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National.
The 10-year-old had an official rating of 150 in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National and defied a rating of 159 in last year’s edition.
British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper Martin Greenwood (pictured), said of the weight assigned to Tiger Roll.
“This decision was made essentially on two factors – historical compression which was brought in by Phil Smith and has been used for the last 10 years or so. On the other hand, I have to give Tiger Roll this mark based on his efforts over the national fences at Aintree where he is of course unbeaten.
♦ Special Grand National weights report http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3qa
The possibility of Betfair Hurdle Winner Pic D’Orhy being supplemented for the Champion Hurdle has not been ruled out by trainer Paul Nicholls.
Nicholls said: “I’ve been asked whether I would consider supplementing him for the Champion Hurdle, and I probably wish I had put him in – but hindsight is a wonderful thing.”
The option has yet to be discussed with owner Johnny De la Hey, but Nicholls said “we don’t have to make a plan yet. He would probably have one or two runs at most this season, because we are looking forward to the day he goes chasing.
“I could see him running tidy in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One at Aintree, because that flat track would suit him well. There are not too many more options for him, and we could even go to France with him.”
Regarding the Champion Hurdle Nicholls added: “It is not a thing you can make a quick decision on. I will keep our options open. He is a horse for the future.
“The other day was the first time I had him really right, because that was only his fourth run. He is a really exciting chaser for next season, and we have to have that in mind.
Paul Nicholls has said that Cyrname is “showing me all the right signs” ahead of Saturday’s Betfair Ascot Chase, which he is attempting to win for the second year in succession
After beating Altior at Ascot in the Christy 1965 Chase in November, Cyrname was runner-up to stablemate Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, when he was attempting three-miles.
Nicholls said: “When you have an odds-on favourite there is always pressure on you – because you want to get the right result and you don’t want to let anyone down.
“He is coming back off an underwhelming run in the King George, and the pressure is on me to get him back right, but he is showing me all the right signs.”
Betting and Bookmakers
All Tote win dividends will at least match starting prices by the time the Cheltenham Festival is underway.
The “Tote Guarantee” has already been trialed at Wolverhampton, and will be rolled-out at other meetings in the coming weeks.
Media and Marketing
After announcing last month that they would not be renewing their support of the Ayr Gold Cup, William Hill have confirmed that they have ended their support of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster.
They have sponsored the final classic of the season for three years, having taken over from Ladbrokes.
Upcoming TV racing
Saturday 15 February : ITV
Ascot: 1.50, 2.25, 3.00 and 3.35
Haydock: 2.05 and 3.1
Subject to change. ITV/ITV4
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