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Daily News | 1st April 2020

  • NEW Kia Ora Stud A Key Easter Drawcard

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    One of a small roster of serious boutique thoroughbred Hunter Valley nurseries, Kia Ora has an astonishingly successful history – one laid down many decades before its new owner Ananda Krishnan took charge in 2000 but kept up to the mark since. Like its esteemed principal who likes to sail beneath the radar, Kia Ora goes about its business in a no-fuss way and lets its graduates like champion Igugu do the talking on the track. That they also walk the walk is obvious; these current graduates add to a recurring successful story: Loving Gaby, Positive Peace, Wild Ruler, Nafaayes, Tarka and Ravi. From last year’s small Easter draft of nine, Rotator and Chicago Bull are both stakes-placed winners already. In 2020, Kia Ora presents 10 yearlings, with a Sebring half-sister to Loving Gaby (ex Maastricht) being one of the jewels on offer from a magnificent consignment. To preview their draft, click on the image below.

    Kia Ora Stud

    HQ Insurance

  • NEW VIC Official Infers Lockouts Likely Until Spring

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Despite the current ban on Victorian racetrack attendance technically due to conclude in less than two weeks – it was originally put in place for 4 weeks on 13 March – racenet.com.au reports it mightn’t be until the Spring that racing fans and ‘non essential’ particpants are allowed to return to the track. The chief of Country Racing Victoria, Scott Whiteman, suggested an initial extension until the end of May is likely. “The official line is no customers until 14 April but that is going to be extended out until the end of May, if not longer,” he said, adding, “If I had a crystal ball, I would say we’re not going to see customers back on course until September, if not October.” Acknowledging that most country clubs “run on the smell of an oily rag” Whitman confirmed, “There is no discussion at all about closing any of the country venues. In fact many are in mothballs right now and ready to help the industry should we get to a half-way house between current (racing restrictions) and no racing at all."
  • NEW Inglis Creates Easter Digital Sale Advisory Guide

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    In the approach to the 2020 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale which, technically, gets underway on Sunday, Inglis is engaging strongly with the thoroughbred industry to communicate how the online sale will operate, including advising that it is not necessary to register in order to simply follow proceedings. Although bidding opens at 10am on Sunday, the actual first sale won’t occur until after 10am on Tuesday. Starting at 9.30am on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, Caroline Searcy will host a preview, and then live coverage throughout the day’s auction. Inglis will host a trial Easter Yearling Sale this coming Friday, April 3 from 10am-3pm, whereby interested participants who have registered for online bidding will be able to test the online facility. The test site can be accessed via inglis.com.au from 10am on Friday. Test bidding will begin closing on lots from 12 noon. For an extensive, and helpful overview of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
  • NEW 20 Percent Reduction For All WA Codes

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) has announced that, as of next Monday, each of the thoroughbred, standardbred and greyhound codes will have prizemoney reduced by 20 percent, reports thewest.com.au. The decision follows a 50 percent plunge in turnover advised by RWWA’s chief executive Richard Burt. The long-standing racing executive said, “Unfortunately our business, like so many, has been hit by the pandemic crisis. In view of the impact on RWWA income, the decision has been made to reduce overall expenditure. This will help sustain WA racing and boost the industry’s long-term future.” Burt also advised, “RWWA has adopted reductions across all aspects of our own operations, and distributions to the three racing codes. To ensure business continuity, there have been funding changes to RWWA internal operations, with a significant reduction of expenses as we face declining income.” He pointed out that certain feature races would have their stakes levels retained as those were specified by the Racing Bets Levy Act which sees betting operators pay higher levies on $100,000-plus races.
  • NEW Brutal Retirement Brought Forward

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    The cancellation of the 2020 Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, which many pundits believe was decided too soon, is the main reason behind an early retirement of exciting stallion prospect Brutal (O’Reilly-Alberton Princess, by Golan). Also forced to forego a tilt at the Gr1 Queene Anne Stakes (one mile) at Royal Ascot, Brutal was at his devastating best when jumping from an extreme barrier under Glen Boss to post an authoritative victory in last year’s Gr1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m). The versatile sprinter-miler, a full-brother to stakes-winner Talaria, also won the Gr2 Premier Stakes (1200m), Listed Mitchell McKenzie Stakes (1200m) and Listed Exford Plate (1400m), as well as recording placings in the Gr1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), Gr3 Frederick Clissold Stakes (1200m) and Gr3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) from just 10 career starts. Brutal is half-owned by Newgate Farm, whose managing director Henry Field conceded to racing.com, "It's disappointing but that's the way the cookie crumbles… If we could have envisaged this would have happened we would have got him ready for the All Aged Stakes but it wasn't to be. It's just a shame we couldn't knock off a few more Gr1 races before he went to stud.” Field noted, “He's owned by a very powerful syndicate of leading breeders who are all very committed to crafting his career as a stallion. Brutal is a beautiful horse with an out-cross pedigree that ticks all the boxes and I'm sure will be well received in the Hunter Valley.”

    Brutal

    Brutal will have plenty of time to let down (pic: Steve Hart)
  • NEW Field Sizes & Races Limited in Victoria

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Further restrictions are being put in place by Victorian racing authorities, reports punters.com.au. In addition to limiting field sizes for genral races to 14 starters, Racing Victoria will also restrict races at any meeting to nine events. The one exception is black-type races, where RV may use its discretion. With the situation being reviewed on a Daily basis, RV’s chief executive Giles Thompson observed, "Whilst racing and training is currently permitted to continue in Victoria under strict biosecurity protocols, we cannot rest on our laurels. The introduction of maximum field limits of 14 starters at metropolitan tracks and 12 at country tracks seeks to further reduce the number of required race day attendees and assists in ensuring appropriate social distancing occurs.” Thompson explained, "In determining the differing field limits between metropolitan and country tracks, consideration was given to size, infrastructure and average field sizes."

    Field sizes restricted

    Victorian field sizes will be kept to 14 runners (pic: Mark Gatt)
  • Boss Confident He Can Bag Group Ones

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Jockey Glen Boss is confident he can win at least two of the four Gr1 races on the first day of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday, reports racing.com. After riding Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible-Maastricht, by Mastercraftsman) in trackwork on Tuesday, Boss said, "Wow - she is a weapon. I haven't been on her back before, but she gave me a great feel this morning. She's ready to go. She's a filly that's built like a four-year-old entire and her form is very strong coming into this but she's up against a great field, so she'll need to be every bit as good as she feels to be winning." Loving Gaby will run in the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes. Boss will aim for an eighth Doncaster victory on board Brandenburg (Burgundy-Wansesingyee, by Galileo), saying, "I thought this horse was a Gr1 horse as early as last spring and I've been really taken with the way he's progressed through his campaign. He's got no weight (50.5kg), a good draw (barrier seven) and I am determined to give him a good ride, so I think he's right in this. He was just super this morning in his work. He blew a bit after the race last Saturday and he gives me the feeling he is peaking going into this." In the Gr1 Sires Produce Stakes, Boss will partner Larimer Street (Brazen Beau-Original Choice, by Redoute's Choice). "He's a really nice progressive horse and I didn't have a lot of luck on him when he finished third at Warwick Farm a couple of runs back," Boss said. "I zigged when I should have zagged and zagged when I should have zigged on him and he's gone on from that and looks a really strong chance there on Saturday."
  • Nature Strip Holds TJ Smith Key

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Having come up with the rails draw, a good thing in his case, Nature Strip has firmed slightly with TAB to become the outright $4.60 favourite for Saturday’s Gr1 TJ Smith (1200m). Based purely on the sequence of his past five runs – first, fourth, first, fourth and first – Nature Strip is due to get rolled again, particularly with the step-up to 1200m on a testing circuit. In his most recent 1200m run, the brilliant but enigmatic sprinter blew away a top class Gr1 field down the Flemington straight six. If he can lead easily (Redzel has drawn 3) and control the tempo then it’s his race to lose. If not and there’s lots of early pressure applied, then this is the line-up of potential closers James McDonald will have in his rear-view mirror: Pierata, Santa Ana Lane, Trekking, Vegadaze, Bivouac, In Her Time, Exceedence, Tofane, White Moss, Standout and Loving Gaby.

    Nature Strip

    Nature Strip has drawn to lead (pic: Steve Hart)
  • VRC Succession Plan Announced

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    The Victoria Racing Club announced their succession plan in a press release, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic had altered the timing of the change of chairman. Current Chairman Amanda Elliott said, "As stated at our AGM in December, the Board has had a clear view of who should be our next Chairman for some time. The Board decided on Friday that it intends to appoint Neil Wilson, our current Chief Executive Officer, as the next Chairman. However, because of the extremely challenging COVID-19 situation, and with stability and continuity being crucial at this time, the effective date of that baton change needs to be flexible." Mr Wilson was appointed to the VRC Board in 2012 and became Honorary Treasurer in 2017. He was appointed Interim CEO in 2017 and CEO in 2018. He has remained a member of the Club's board in his capacity as CEO. He has extended his CEO contract and the club said that the recruitment of a new CEO is well advanced, and when COVID-19 is deemed under control, and the VRC can resume business as usual, the appointment will be formalised. "We are thankful to have such a dedicated and caring workforce, and want to take this moment to acknowledge them and all the other people in our community who have been affected by COVID-19. The tireless work being done by so many people on the frontline of this global pandemic should also be acknowledged. To the broader community our message is stay safe, adhere to the restrictions and look after each other. We look to the future with optimism, and hope that we can welcome everyone back to Flemington again soon."
  • Grounded Planes Affect Horse Travel

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    International Racehorse Transport hasn't flown since March 26, and is working with authorities to develop protocols for horse transportation, reports bloodhorse.com. "Obviously, in light of what the world is trying to do in terms of reducing the risk, we need to strike a balance between trying to resume commercial operations but at the same time doing it in a safe way," IRT's managing director Chris Burke told ANZ Bloodstock News. "The main thing we're working on now is trying to find a medium-term solution whereby flying grooms is seen like aircraft staff and they are in isolation when they are on the ground. The freighter aircraft themselves are playing a more important role than ever flying around the world because there's limited freight moving in the belly of passenger aircraft. The freighters are having to take on a heavy burden of all these pharmaceuticals and all these other things that we require (being shipped globally)." The peak time for moving horses to Asian racing jurisdictions is May through July, with monthly flights booked, and the list of horses that require transportation is building. "Already we are working with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Singapore Turf Club to try and find a solution in the medium term to allow those racehorses to travel to those Asian countries where they are needed for racing." Horses wanting to return home after The Championships are currently unable to move, with Japan's Danon Premium (Deep Impact-Indiana Gal, by Intikhab), and British pair Young Rascal (Intello-Rock My Soul, by Clodovil) and Addeybb (Pivotal-Bush Cat, by Kingmambo) affected; while the shuttle stallions pose a potential new problem. "(If it got to that) then we perhaps need to look at charter options by sending a whole plane up to collect them and bringing them back (to Australia)," Burke said. "The beauty is, we are only talking about a limited number of people that get on a freighter aircraft. Typically, a freighter aircraft would have a maximum of five people on board, and if that means that we have to quarantine those staff before they go and quarantine them when they come home, as long as we know we are safe to do it, then we will be looking at those options."

    Young Rascal

    Young Rascal needs a flight home after The Championships (pic: Steve Hart)
  • Valuable Snitzel Colt To Debut at Rosehill

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    The Hyland Race Colours Maiden 2YO Handicap at Rosehill today over 1200m will feature the debut of $650,000 yearling War Flag (Snitzel-Alice's Smart, by Smart Strike). Sold by Edinburgh Park to James Harron Bloodstock at last year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, War Flag is a full-sibling to Gr3 placed winner Miss Wonderland and a half-brother to city winner of six races Spencer (Pierro). His dam, Alice's Smart, is an American bred winner, whose dam Darling Alice (Northern Flagship) is a Listed winning half-sibling to Afleetaffair, and this is the family of Criterion (Sebring). Also in the field is Gundy Bridge (I Am Invincible-Bareena, by Filante) who ran second on debut, and was a $420,000 yearling sold by Yarraman Park at the same sale at War Flag. Pricey $900,000 colt Colonel (Snitzel-Peron, by Husson) has been scratched from this race and holds nominations for several races over the weekend including the Gr3 Widden Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

    Snitzel-Alice's Smart

    War Flag (Snitzel-Alice's Smart) as a yearling (pic: magicmillions.com.au)
  • Melody Belle Joint Doncaster Top-Weight

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Champion New Zealand mare Melody Belle, winner of 10 Gr1 races, will carry the #1 saddle-cloth in Saturday’s Gr1 Doncaster Handicap. That’s not something her trainer Jamie Richards was aspiring too, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled after Racing NSW advised weights for the race would go up half a kilogram which sees her asked to lump 57kg – the same as Kolding. “It’s obviously not ideal, we didn’t want to be topweight, but given the circumstances, it’s understandable,” he conceded to dailytelegraph.com.au. “It’s likely we will get a soft track but even with 57kg that is no problem. Obviously it is a bit easier when she is racing at weight-for-age because those horses down on the minimum are going to be hard to beat in the Doncaster.’’ If Melody Belle, an easing $8 chance after drawing 14, were to win on Saturday she would be joining elite company. The only mares to have carried more weight to win the big mile are Sunline (58kg) and More Joyous (57.5kg). Meanwhile, Te Akau Racing’s self-isolated trainer Richards is having to liaise via mobile with his Sydney-based father Paul from Matamata in New Zealand which is experiencing a COVID-19 cluster outbreak.
  • Cox Plate Centenary Could Be Delayed 12 Months

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    In what would have been an unthinkable scenario just over a month ago for the Moonee Valley Racing Club, there is no a possibility that the one hundredth anniversary meeting of the Cox Plate might have to be moth-balled until 2021. Acording to an interview on RSN927, the Club has put a hold on planning for the special event until it has further clarity on the effects of COVID-19 on racing. The MVRC’s chief executive, Michael Browell intimated a preference for not proceeding in 2020 if crowdless racing is still likely to be in place during October. Browell suggested, "One of the options we may have to consider is putting a line through the Cox Plate this year if everything isn't back in normal working conditions and then postpone it until October 2021.” He qualified, "This is my personal view. My least preferred model would be running the Cox Plate with no-one on course.” He added, "It's the one hundredth year. We've got a massive celebration planned, flying people in from around the world for this, but I'm not going to pre-empt what the decision might be.” That decision is likely to be made as early as 1 June.

    Lys Gracieux

    Lys Gracieux won last year's Cox Plate (pic: Mark Gatt)
  • Standout Sibling a Likely Easter Standout

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    There are only two genuine empirical arbiters of thoroughbred success: the racetrack and the sales ring. On that score alone, George Altomonte’s Corumbene Stud can be said to be one of a handful of elite boutique breeders in Australia. With a relatively small band of broodmares, Corumbene sold last year’s $2.8 million Inglis Easter Sale-topper and has bred a production line of outstanding 2YOs and 3YOs including not one, but, two Golden Slipper winners. The vendor’s 2020 Inglis Easter offering is a power-puching group of 10 yearlings that includes an Exceed and Excel full-brother to home-bred Group-winning weight-for-age winner Standout, potentially the best 3YO raced by Corumbene’s principal in years. Click on the image below for a preview of Corumbene’s 2020 Easter consignment.

    Corumbene Easter

    HQ Insurance

  • Doncaster Dream Over for Fifty Stars

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Subsequent to a Sydney trial last Friday where co-trainer David Hayes says he pulled up “uneven in his action”, top class 5YO entire Fifty Stars has been withdrawn from Saturday’s Gr1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick. An import by Galileo’s champion half-brother Sea The Stars (Cape Cross), Fifty Stars has been in a purple patch of form. Winner of the Gr1 Cantala Stakes as a 4YO, this summer he has been a revelation, finishing fourth in the Gr1 C.F.Orr Stakes before triumphs in the Gr2 Blamey Stakes and then the Gr1 Australian Cup at his last start. According to racenet.com.au, Hayes revealed, "It's all a bit of a mystery as x-rays on the knees have come back all-clear. It may be a deep-seated foot abscess or something like that. But we haven't been able to work him for three days so he is on his way back to Lindsay Park." Although guaranteed a start in the All-Star Mile, connections chose, instead, to target the future stallion at the Doncaster on Day-1 of The Championships.

  • HKJC Simulcast Betting Impacted by COVID-19

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    The COVID-19 pandemic has affected racing jurisdictions globally, with simulcasts, betting pools, horse sales, and commingling all affected, reports scmp.com. Compared with other sports, racing has managed to continue because it doesn't need spectators to be profitable. Hong Kong is one of the few jurisdictions – with Japan, Australia, Singapore and some tracks in the USA among the others – who have found a way to continue in these tough times. With Britain, France, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa all out of play for the time being, there are flow-on effects for the Hong Kong Jockey Club – both positive and negative. The biggest impact has been simulcasts, felt on last Saturday night with the cancellation of the Dubai World Cup meeting. The HKJC will replace that meeting with this Saturday's Doncaster Mile meeting in Sydney, but it's not a simple process to switch one for another. There are agreements in place with other international racing bodies and it becomes more complicated if the races themselves are postponed, rather than cancelled. Chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges plans on talking to the government to try to change the current date restriction on horse racing betting (from July 16 to end August). "I'm still hopeful we can get some flexibility in relation to the summer break especially in these circumstances," he said. "If you look at the French Derby, the French Oaks – all these meetings we have scheduled, they likely will not transpire. There are a lot of questions. It would be helpful to have some flexibility and allow us to make contributions to the tax dollar and satisfy our customer demands."
  • Global Pool Hosting At Risk for HKJC

    Wednesday, 1st April 2020
    Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is scheduled to host the "world pool" for Royal Ascot – which combines the betting from 10 countries to create more liquidity and price certainty for punters – for all five days, meaning they will all be simulcast in Hong Kong. If Royal Ascot is moved into the non-betting period, this creates a big problem. "Under the current regulation, we would not be able to host the world pool," Engelbrecht-Bresges said. "It shows that our current regulations put us in a very difficult position to maintain our global reputation. If you look at the world pool, it would be a tragedy that we wouldn't be able to host it. If you host it and you would not allow Hong Kong people to bet it, one of the key propositions – liquidity – would be gone. The effectiveness of the world pool would not be there and it would not make sense to go through to all this effort." All of this is countered by the increase in global betting on Hong Kong, as one of the few nations still racing, with the commingling turnover for last Sunday's card up.

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