28 January 2011

RSPCA: “Study reveals futility of whipping horses”

B&R Reports: WHIPPING racehorses “is pointless and does not make a difference to the outcome of the race,” according to new research from 2 University Of Sydney veterinarians. The RSPCA-funded study (published by the Public Library Of Science) investigated the impact of whipping on performance in thoroughbred races. Study co-author Professor David Evans said the results “offer no support for the retention of whipping in horse racing” and noted: “We looked at running times in a series of races, how whips were used and whether that whip use influenced the outcome of a race. What we found was that whipping did not affect the probability of whether or not a horse finished a race in the 1st 3 placings. How a horse ran in the 1st part of a race, when it wasn’t being whipped, was the most critical factor in racing success. So horses are being whipped in the final stages of a race, in the face of muscle fatigue, for no benefit.” Co-author and animal behaviour expert Professor Paul McGreevy said he hoped this research “would highlight the fallacy and futility of whipping” and declared: “The reason for whip use has traditionally been the need to be seen to ride the horse out and the suggestion that you can steer a horse with the whip. Many horse riders, and certainly these findings, refute that. Top performance horses have been bred and prepared to give of their best. Add to that excellent horsemanship and you’ve got a winning combination. That’s all you need. We have evidence here that great horsemanship does not involve flogging tired horses.” RSPCA chief scientist Dr Bidda Jones said the results “will help end the debate over whether there is a place for whipping in the future of Australian thoroughbred racing” and added: “This study has found that jockeys use whips just as people would expect – to try to make their slowing horse recover speed in the closing stages of a race in the hope they will get a place. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is the finding that whipping doesn’t make any difference. Jockeys may as well save their energy, keep their hands on the reins and head straight for home. Their horses will be so much better off for it.” Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University Of Sydney Professor Rosanne Taylor said this report “will challenge traditional thinking” and commented: “Science has the ability to challenge our views of what is otherwise considered the norm. This result is a good example of how evidence can inform the way we work with animals to promote their optimal performance and welfare. In this instance, the future wellbeing of Australian racehorses is looking brighter, because we now better understand that horses give their best when they are not whipped, before the 400m mark, positioning themselves for a win or place.” (Jan 28)

27 January 2011

Moffat 3-Weeks Ban After Jockeys Trade Punches

NSW apprentice jockey Ben Moffat "who attacked 2 senior riders" at Muswellbrook on Friday & was suspended by stewards for 3 weeks "vowed last night he would not take a backward step if he was provoked again" reported The Daily Telegraph. Newcastle-based Moffat, 26, "verbally abused & shoved fellow rider Dale Spriggs in the jockeys' room" & was also "accused of spitting on another rider Andrew Gibbons before the pair traded punches". Senior jockeys told how "there had been words exchanged after a race & that Moffat had taken them to heart". But Moffat (who is apprenticed to trainer Steve Hodge) claimed he had only been defending himself & declared: "I don't take s..t & I'm fairly hot-tempered. I don't like it when people bad-mouth me. I'd do the same thing over. When I first arrived from Canberra last October the smart remarks started back then. I'm just the apprentice who snapped." (Jan 25)

11 January 2011

Nikolic Promises To "Keep My Mouth Shut"

Controversial jockey Danny Nikolic "has decided to remain in Melbourne & plans to base himself at Caulfield when his 2-month suspension expires on Australia Day" reported The Herald-Sun. The newspaper noted: "Many believed he would move interstate, possibly Queensland, to relaunch his career after a year in which he repeatedly clashed with Racing Victoria stewards, particularly chief stipe Terry Bailey." However Nikolic, 36, declared: "I'm not running away from anything or anyone, that's not me. ... I'm going to base myself at Caulfield & do as much track-work for whoever wants to use me. I've always had a lot of support from the trainers at Caulfield." However Nikolic "admitted that he must curb his propensity to speak his mind" & summed up: "I've got to try to keep my mouth shut!"

Socks Wins Tasmanian Guineas

Swettenham Stud’s 2nd-crop stallion Keep The Faith (Sunday Silence-Duelling Girl, by Dayjur) recorded his 1st stakes-winner when favoured gelding Socks (Keep The Faith-Count The Kisses, by Mukaddamah) scored a half-length victory in yesterday’s $90,000 Listed Betfair Tasmanian Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs at Launceston. Socks (ridden by Kelvin Sanderson for trainer George Blacker) defeated fellow gelding Second Dozen (Bianconi-Barbaloot, by Rory's Jester) & the filly Magnetosphere (Al Samer-Magnetic Force, by El Moxie). Socks (a $15,000 yearling consigned by Armidale Stud at the 2009 Magic Millions Tasmanian Sale) took his record to 6 wins & 2 placings from 9 starts for $192,575 earnings. (Click on the link for full race details from Group Race Results at AAP Racing.) (Jan 7)

Australia's Global Racing Magazine

10 January 2011

E Dubai Adds US Gr2

In the US, Gr1-winning former Darley shuttler E Dubai (Mr Prospector-Words Of War, by Lord At War) added a graded-stakes success when favoured 6YO gelding Aggie Engineer (E Dubai-Papalma, by Dixieland Band) scored a 3.25-lengths victory in the US$150,000 Gr2 San Pasqual Stakes (8.5 furlongs) for 4YOs & up at Santa Anita Park in California. Aggie Engineer (ridden by Joseph Talamo for trainer Patrick Gallagher) defeated 6YO entire Spurrier (Dixieland Band-Humble, by Valiant Nature) & 5YO entire Quindici Man (Came Home-Humble, by Valiant Nature). Aggie Engineer now has 7 wins (also including 2010's Gr3 Native Diver Handicap over 9 furlongs at Hollywood Park) & 6 placings (including 2010's Listed Wicker Handicap over 8 furlongs at Del Mar) from 17 starts for US$358,279 earnings.  

Val Royal Adds French Black-Type

In France, deceased former Eliza Park shuttler Val Royal (Royal Academy-Vadlava, by Bikala) added a black-type success when Irish-bred 4YO mare Love Queen (Val Royal-Lone Spectre, by Linamix) scored by a neck in the €52,000 (A$68,000) Listed Prix Miss Satamixa (1500m) for mares 4YO & up at Deauville. Love Queen (ridden by Francois-Xavier Bertras for trainer Valerie Dissaux) defeated fellow Irish-bred 4YO mare Rada Angel (Le Vie Dei Colori-Red Letter, by Sri Pekan) & another 4YO mare Boise (Marchand De Sable-Yezidis, by Ski Chief). Love Queen was a €35,000 (A$46,000) weanling at the 2007 Deauville December Sale & now has 4 wins & 4 placings from 13 starts for €87,960 (A$114,000) earnings.

Lloyd Buys UK Farm To "Prepare Horses For US Export"

Bloodstock agent Jamie Lloyd "has bought the former Warwickshire base (Far Westfields Farm) of trainer George Baker to help prepare horses for export to America," reported racingpost.com. Lloyd (whose purchases include Gr1-winners Ticker Tape, Monzante, Magical Fantasy & Singhalese) confirmed: "There is a growing demand for horses to be kept in training so they are ready to compete upon their arrival in the US. But this leaves buyers with a few choices: you can either leave the horse with their previous trainer; use a new trainer who perhaps you have a relationship with; or send them to a livery based yard. To me, both as an agent & trainer, this has never really been an ideal situation. Our idea is to open a family-run operation specialising in the transition of horses for export. What would be better for a US trainer than to receive a horse that's already half-acclimatised on arrival? The property has an excellent all-weather oval track that would lend itself ideally to this purpose."  

4 Australian-Bred Wins in Sth Africa

Aust-Breds Quinella South African Lady's Bracelet
Former Coolmore shuttler Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat-Mariah's Storm, by Rahy) added a South African black-type success when Australian-bred 4YO mare Illumiere (Giant's Causeway-Inspired, by Fasliyev) scored a 1.75-lengths victory in the R120,000 (A$20,000) Listed Lady's Bracelet (1600m) for fillies & mares at Fairview. Illumiere (ridden by Gavin Venter for trainer Alan Greeff) defeated fellow Australian-bred 4YO mare Ocean Of Time (Refuse To Bend-Illustria, by Seeking The Gold) & another 4YO mare Sarah Em (Tamburlaine-Dancing Slipper, by Shoe Danzig). Illumiere took her record to 3 wins & 5 placings from 14 starts.

Emerald Cove Wins South Africa Gr1 Paddock Stakes

In South Africa, 3YO filly Emerald Cove (Captain Al-Resolution Bay, by Caesour) scored a 0.75-length victory over her older rivals in the R1 million (A$150,000) weight-for-age Gr1 Paddock Stakes (1800m) for fillies & mares at Kenilworth. Emerald Cove (ridden by Felix Coetzee for trainer Justin Snaith) defeated 4YO mare Flirtation (Silvano-French Treasure, by Mullineaux) & 5YO mare Love Is In The Mare (Jet Master-Careful Step, by Jungle Cove). Emerald Cove took her record to 5 wins & 6 placings (including 2010's Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas over 1600m at Kenilworth, Gr2 Odessa Stud Fillies Championship over 1400m at Kenilworth & Listed Irridescence Stakes over 1500m at Kenilworth) from 12 starts.  

Mother Russia Wins South Africa Gr1 Queen's Plate

In South Africa, favoured 5YO mare & last year's Equus Award-winning Champion Older Female Mother Russia (Windrush-Russian Muse, by Russian Fox) scored a 2.25-lengths victory in the R1 million (A$150,000) weight-for-age Gr1 Queen's Plate (1600m) at Kenilworth. Mother Russia (ridden by Anton Marcus for trainer Mike de Kock) defeated 4YO gelding Tales Of Bravery (Kahal-Emperor's Warning, by Caesour) & 3YO filly Ebony Flyer (Jet Master-Sunshine Lover, by Badger Land). Mother Russia took her record to 13 wins (also including 2010's Gr1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein & Gr1 Paddock Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth, plus 2009's Gr1 Majorca Stakes over 1600m at Kenilworth, Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge over 1600m at Turffontein, Gr2 Gold Bracelet over 2000m at Greyville & Listed Sweet Chestnut Stakes over 1400m at Kenilworth, as well as 2008's Gr2 Odessa Stud Fillies Championship over 1400m at Kenilworth & Listed Lady's Slipper Stakes over 1400m at Fairview) & 10 placings (including 2010's Gr1 Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein, Gr1 J&B Met over 2000m at Kenilworth, Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein & Gr2 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m at Turffontein, plus 2009's Gr1 Woolavington 2000 over 2000m at Greyville, as well as 2008's Gr1 Cape Guineas over 1600m at Kenilworth, Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas over 1600m at Kenilworth & Gr1 Thekwini Fillies Stakes over 1600m at Clairwood) from 26 starts.  

Buena Vista Wins Japan Horse-Of-Year

In Japan, multiple Gr1-winning 5YO mare Buena Vista (Special Week-Biwa Heidi, by Caerleon) was named 2010 Horse-Of-The-Year & Champion Older Female. Buena Vista (previously Japan's champion 2YO filly in 2008 & 3YO filly in 2009) won the Gr1 Tenno Sho-Autumn & Gr1 Victoria Mile during 2010, as well as sensationally finishing 1st-past-the-post in the Gr1 Japan Cup before being controversially relegated to runner-up by the stewards; she also finished 2nd in the Gr1 Arima Kinen, Gr1 Takarazuka Kinen & UAE Gr1 Dubai Sheema Classic. Other award winners included:

46 Australian-Breds Win In Asia

In Hong Kong yesterday, 4 Australian-bred gallopers scored at Sha Tin:
  • 3YO gelding The Prince (Flying Spur-Miss Mocha, by Senor Pete) won over 1000m for trainer Caspar Fownes. The Prince was a $230,000 yearling consigned by Willow Park at the 2009 Magic Millions Premier Sale on the Gold Coast.
  • 8YO gelding Joyful Years (El Moxie-Private Gem, by Pirate Army) won over 1650m for trainer Peter Ho. Joyful Years was a $30,000 weanling consigned by Emirates Park at the 2003 Inglis Victorian June Sale & subsequently a $50,000 yearling consigned by Haunui Farm at the 2004 NZ Bloodstock Premier Sale at Karaka.
  • 4YO gelding Rich Unicorn (Danehill Dancer-Onwards, by Zeditave) won over 1200m at Sha Tin for Australian trainer John Size. Rich Unicorn was a $90,000 yearling consigned by Millbrook Stud at the 2008 Magic Millions Premier Sale on the Gold Coast.
  • 4YO gelding Paganini's Soul (Show A Heart-Magic Bow, by Magic Of Sydney) won over 1400m for Australian trainer John Size. 

Gr1-Winner Scenic Shot Returns After 12-Months Break

Trainer Dan Morton confirmed Gr1-winning 8YO gelding Scenic Shot (Scenic-Sweepshot, by Dr Grace) will return in Saturday's Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in Melbourne, 13 months after his last racetrack appearance. Scenic Shot (who last raced in the C.B.Cox Stakes at Ascot in Perth on 19 December 2009) finished 5th behind superstar So You Think in the 2009 Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley & then a week later won the Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, but Morton said Scenic Shot's subsequent absence from the track was "nothing more than the effects of wear & tear", emphasising: "He didn't really have any major problems. He's an 8YO with wear & tear after a couple of big campaigns under his belt." Morton said Scenic Shot will run "almost every 2 weeks" leading up to the $1 million Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 12 & declared: "I'm really pleased with how he's come up."  

Trainer Edwards Pleads Guilty To "Electric Shock" Device

The immediate future of leading trainer Shane Edwards "hangs in the balance after he pleaded guilty to 2 charges laid by West Australian stewards, following their investigations into an assault on track rider/stable-hand John Anderson" reported The Sydney Morning Herald. Edwards was charged with misconduct & for possession of a device "capable of delivering an electric shock to a thoroughbred". In December, Edwards, 36, was fined $900 in the Midland Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon & to common assault. Edwards admitted he had bought "4 mobile telephone stun-guns during a holiday in Bali last year". The phone has 2 nodes at the top & a trigger on the side and, according to evidence given by electrical contractor Michael Frecker, "is capable of delivering voltage of similar power to a police taser". Edwards claimed the phone was kept in his wife Julie's underwear draw at his home on a separate property & he had taken it with him as protection prior to the altercation with Anderson. Chief steward John Zucal announced that, due to the seriousness of the matter, the penalty would not be handed down until Tuesday (tomorrow).

First Command Wins Cleary Stakes

Gr3-winning & multiple Gr1-placed Darley stallion Commands (Danehill-Cotehele House, by My Swanee) added a black-type success when favoured & top-weighted 5YO gelding First Command (Commands-River Serenade, by Hurricane Sky) scored a 1.25-lengths victory in the $100,000 Listed L.T.Cleary Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in Melbourne. First Command (ridden by Dwayne Dunn for trainer Lee Freedman) defeated 6YO geldings Diplomatic Force (Oamaru Force-Talk It Over, by Umatilla) & Maxisun (Choisir-Venere, by Marscay). First Command (a $170,000 yearling consigned from Baramul Stud at 2007 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale) took his record to 9 wins (also including 2009's Gr2 Caulfield Sprint over 1100m & Listed Clamms Seaford Stakes over 1100m at Caulfield) & 3 placings (in 2010's Listed Swisse Vitamins Stakes over 1100m at Flemington & Listed Lightning Handicap over 1000m at Eagle Farm, plus 2009's Gr2 Gilgai Stakes over 1200m at Flemington) from 17 starts for $491,901 earnings. (Click on the link for full race details from Group Race Results at AAP Racing.)  

09 January 2011

Brisbane says no to sell-off of Albion Park

New Albion Park General Manager, Nathan Hand to learn from HP sale debacle:
"Hand wants to save Albion Park going the way of Moonee Valley and Harold Park and closing in favour of a new purpose-built track.
'My priority is to put Albion Park Harness Racing Club in the best financial position possible for it to remain a viable product,'' he said.
''It would be a tragedy for the industry and for the city to lose this iconic sporting landmark.'"

Brisbane says no to sell-off of Albion Park

McMullen Dinghy
Chris Roots in the SMH: Albion Park General Manager, Nathan Hand to learn from HP sale debacle: "Hand wants to save Albion Park going the way of Moonee Valley and Harold Park and closing in favour of a new purpose-built track. "My priority is to put Albion Park Harness Racing Club in the best financial position possible for it to remain a viable product,'' he said. ''It would be a tragedy for the industry and for the city to lose this iconic sporting landmark."

07 January 2011

Canadian Jockey Landry Retires With 2,045 Wins

In Canada, leading jockey Robert Landry (who boasts 2,045 winners from 17,656 mounts for C$69,786,382 earnings) “has announced his retirement & will take over the reins as racing manager for Chiefswood Stable,” reported bloodhorse.com. Landry, 48, rode his 1st winner at Fort Erie in June 1981 & was “Canada’s outstanding jockey in 1993 & 1994” as well as leading “all Woodbine riders in stakes wins in 1993 (13), 1994 (18) & 1996 (18)”.

US Approval For New Mare Reproductive Health Drug

In the US, after “years of intensive research, a product called SucroMate has achieved the coveted status of FDA-approved for reproductive health in mares” reported thehorse.com. This is “no easy feat as only 2 veterinary drugs obtained FDA approval in 2010”. SucroMate “is licensed to induce ovulation in mares being bred with fresh, cooled or frozen semen” & Edward Squires PhD (a specialist in equine reproduction at the University Of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center) explained: “SucroMate contains a drug called deslorelin acetate. It is administered intra-muscularly once the mare has an egg-containing follicle on her ovary measuring 35mm in diameter or larger, is in estrus & has a open cervix. Ovulation should occur within 48 hours of administration.” Pre-approval studies found that after injecting 140 mares, 72% of mares ovulated within 48 hours of treatment with SucroMate, compared to only 27% of the 143 mares in the placebo group. Squires noted: “This new deslorelin acetate product is a very effective tool for inducing ovulation in mares & is produced in a FDA-inspected facility here in Louisville in Kentucky. This product should replace compounded deslorelin products & give veterinarians an FDA-registered product to use for inducing ovulation in mares.”  

NZ Minimum Weights Up 1kg From Feb 1

Minimum riding weights in NZ handicap flat races will increase by 1kg from February 1. NZ Thoroughbred Racing announced the decision “has been made to enhance the health & welfare of riders” after advice provided by NZTR’s medical advisor Dr Phil White showed “the weight of the general population has increased by about 5% in the last decade” which “equates to about 2.6kg for a 52kg rider”.

Wyong Satellite Stable For Trevor Bailey

Gold Coast trainer Trevor Bailey will open a satellite stable next week at the Wyong track on the NSW Central Coast just north of Sydney. The 15-box stable will be managed by former Paul Perry foreman Keyren Forbes. Bailey (who grew up at Wyong, where his father Alan Bailey was a leading trainer before relocating to the Queensland Gold Coast in the 1980s) noted: “Wyong is an ideal location, being within an hour of most of the major tracks around Sydney. It also has good access for our Queensland clients, with direct flights to Newcastle from both Brisbane & the Gold Coast.” Bailey will continue to prepare a 30-horse team from his main Gold Coast base.

Higgins Says “Too Much Money” Tempts Young Jockeys

Former champion jockey Roy Higgins declared in The Winning Post: “Why is it so many young jockeys go through hell before either disappearing from racing altogether or somehow getting their careers back on track? Well, I think the reason is obvious – money, too much of it.” Higgins noted: “Kids these days can earn between $500 & $1,000 a day in losing rides. They can be out of their apprenticeship at 18 & have access to massive amounts of cash. Most parents with adult children will remember a time their kids went a bit ‘off the rails’ late in their teenage years. That may have involved drinking to excess or doing silly things. Imagine the temptation for a kid with sudden access to huge amounts of money. And remember we are in a time of another great evil in easily accessible & dangerous drugs, which incidentally, could be seen as an ideal alternative (to beer) for a jockey fighting to keep weight off.

Shinn & Robl Betting Appeals To Be Heard Separately

Racing NSW stewards “will hear the appeals of jockeys Blake Shinn & Peter Robl against their lengthy riding bans on separate dates next month,” reported The Daily Telegraph. Chief steward Ray Murrihy confirmed Shinn's appeal (against a 15-months ban) “is set for February 22, while Robl's (against a 12-months ban) is due 2 days later”. Shinn & Robl “were found to have placed numerous bets on a TAB telephone account”.

Racing Qld $1.55m Flood Relief Package

Racing Queensland announced “an industry relief package to assist racing industry stake-holders devastated by recent catastrophic floods”. RQ chairman Bob Bentley said the relief package “would assist in keeping Rockhampton & other affected racing communities afloat” & “is aimed at providing access to critical funds for those licensee groups unable to ply their trade due to the closure of Callaghan Park for training & racing.” Bentley added: “RQ believes this package will protect & ensure members of our racing fraternity can survive this hiatus & that facilities are quickly made safe to recommence full training & racing activities.” Bentley said there will be 2 tiers of funding available:
  • $1 million facility remediation fund;
  • $550,000 licensee relief & relocation package.