Following on from some very promising trial form, Jungle Queen not only launched her racetrack career with a strong win in the 3YO Fillies Maiden at Echuca on Monday but in doing so became the debut winer for Victorian Stud Bombora Downs' sire Jungle Ruler (Lion Hunter–Calista, by Zeditave). The grey iron horse, who started 115 times for 20 wins and 24 placings, including stakes placings in the Gr3 MRC Sundown Stakes, Gr3 Moonga Stakes and Listed VRC Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes, has being getting great reports from breakers and trainers and additional winners shouldn't be far away. Homebred Jungle Queen is the fifth to race from Made of Gold mare Tinge of Gold and second winner following her God's Own half-sister Friday Saviour. It's a solid family that also includes stakes-placed geldings Parhelia, Don't Say Goodbye and NZ Gr2 runner-up Blizzard. Third dam Jalapa was classy enough to take third in the Gr3 Longchamp Prix de la Nonette. Trained by Wangaratta based Christopher Davis and ridden by Rebeka Prest, Jungle Queen defeated a large field which included some handy types, none more so than High Chaparral filly Fern, sixth placed only recently in May behind Saturday's Gr2 Thousand Guineas Prelude winner Booker.
At Shat Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, Arrowfield Stud's Gr1-winning high profile stallion Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) celebrated an elite Gr1 success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Sun Jewellery (Snitzel-Tan Tat Star, by Umatilla) scored by a head for trainer John Size in the HK$10 million Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), over fellow 4YO geldings Werther (Tavistock-Bagalollies, by Zabeel) & Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice, by Redoute's Choice). This was consecutive Gr1 victories for Sun Jewellery who took his record to 8 wins (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Mile) and 2 placings from 11 starts for $2,982,053 earnings. Sun Jewellery's wins in the Hong Kong Classic Cup & Hong Kong Classic Mile puts him in line for a shot at history in next month’s Gr1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) as no horse has ever won all three of Hong Kong’s four-year-old majors. “He’s got to go around a bend past the winning post and that makes it a little bit more awkward – you’ve got gates to deal with and things like that but at least he’s won the first two races; that’s a big help for him and now he gets a shot at the Derby," trainer John Size said. "The distance doubt is always there, it’s something I don’t think about, we just roll onto the next race and hope he gets it.” Champion jockey Ryan Moore seems quietly confident that the Derby distance will pose little concern for Sun Jewellery. "Sun Jewellery’s a class horse and class usually tells over a distance,” he said. "He’s probably just better than them, he’s just got a class edge and that allows horses to go further than you’d think they would.”
At Sha Tin in Hong Kong overnight, Arrowfield Stud's high profile stallion Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a new Gr1 winner to go with his recent local Gr1 winners Wandjina, Sweet Idea & Hot Snitzel. In the HK$10 million Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Mile for 4YOs, 4YO gelding Sun Jewellery (Snitzel-Tan Tat Star, by Umatilla) scored by 0.3-lengths for trainer John Size over fellow 4YO geldings Werther (Tavistock-Bagalollies, by Zabeel) & Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice, by Redoute's Choice). The victory – Sun Jewellery's first attempt at stakes level – took the son of Snitzel's record to 7 wins and 2 runners-up from 10 starts for $940,390 earnings.
A Melbourne Cup start remains on the agenda for Pondarosa Miss (High Chaparral-Bak da Princess, by Danske) despite her unplaced effort in last Saturday's Gr1 Livamol Classic at Hastings, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Te Awamutu mare was denied clear running when rider Lisa Allpress took a gap inside the final 300m only for the inside horse Blizzard to shift out under pressure and the outside horse Farm Boy to lay in. Co-breeder and part-owner Darrell Hollinshead said Pondarosa Miss had taken no harm from the incident and had trained as usual this week as she prepares for Saturday week's newly-named Listed Jakkalberry Classic (1950m), formerly known as the Rotorua Challenge Plate. "She's come through Hastings well. She's good. We just got chopped in half - she was lucky to stay on her feet," said Hollinshead, whose father Peter trains the High Chaparral mare. "She'll head to Rotorua and as long as we're happy, she'll fly to Melbourne the Wednesday before the Cup. We would prefer the Rotorua race was a longer distance, but speaking to [former Matamata trainer] Jason Bridgman, he said a lot of the Melbourne Cup field would be using the Mackinnon Stakes as their lead-up so it's much the same." Pondarosa Miss will be stabled with Bridgman at Pakenham for her Melbourne trip, with the Gr3 Queens Cup (2600m) at Flemington on November 7 the fallback option should she fail to make the field for the $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 3.
The Cambridge father and daughter training combination of Jeff McVean and Emma-Lee Browne are favouring a start in the Gr1 New Zealand Derby for talented filly Nigelissima (Pentire-Posing Zero, by Danzero) because of her preference for the clockwise-direction of racing, reports theinformant.co.nz. "There's a question mark on her not being as good left-handed and she'll be happier back at Ellerslie," Browne said. "We'll make a final decision after the right-hand theory is tested again on Saturday." Nigelissima will join stablemate Blizzard (Any Suggestion-Deune, by Green Line Express), also on the Derby path, in the Gr2 Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie on Saturday with both 3YOs likely to appreciate the 2100 metre journey. "Both our horses look like they need more ground now and fortunately they both like Ellerslie," Browne said. "She [Nigelissima] needs a bit more ground than the Waikato Guineas and Sam (Spratt) was really pleased with her at Te Rapa - she was winding into it nicely." Three-year-old gelding Blizzard has progressed well since his maiden win at Tauranga in December to finish runner-up to Show The World in the Gr2 Championship Stakes before his last-start sixth in the Gr2 Waikato Guineas. "We're super happy with him," Browne added. "He went into Te Rapa after a week off following the Championship Stakes and he was a little bit fat. The Waikato Guineas didn't really suit him as he needs a genuine tempo, but we were quite happy with the way he finished off."
Associate Professor Leigh Blizzard said "being a professional thoroughbred racing jockey is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world", following a major study by scientists at the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart (who analysed 75,000 races at more than 10,000 race meetings held around Australia from 2002-2006) reported The Sydney Morning Herald. The study found "a licensed Australian jockey would have 1 race fall for every 240 rides in flat racing" & while any fall could be career-ending, "27% of falls resulted in an injury & 1 in 620 resulted in death". There were 3,101 race falls during the research period, resulting in 836 injuries & 5 deaths. Blizzard also noted: "There has been a study done in the US which showed it (working as a professional jockey) was riskier than being a metal worker, a logging worker, a pilot, a sky diver & a boxer. It is only (deep-sea) fishing workers who have a higher fatality rate."
The Australian study (published in the Journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine) also highlights the "common factors across race falls" in flat racing in Australia "which could be addressed with targeted training for jockeys or with tougher requirements for horse preparation" reported The Sydney Morning Herald. Falls were "more common in a jockey's 1st race of the day", which Associate Professor Leigh Blizzard said could indicate a problem with jockeys "not being properly warmed up". Falls were also more common in maiden races (for horses yet to record their 1st win) showing less experienced horses posed a higher risk. Amateur & apprentice jockeys were involved "perhaps predictably in more falls, but there was a surprise result: jockey falls increased when there were fewer horses in maiden races". Female jockeys were also found to be more likely to fall in certain circumstances. "Female sex only seemed to matter in the major races of the day where they're riding a younger horse," Blizzard said. "Possibly it is necessary to have a bit more strength to restrain a young fractious horse, when it is aroused by a large crowd in these important races." Falls were also more common in shorter races, particularly for jockeys who were thrown before a race started. Blizzard summed up: "Up to this point in time, there has not been a study of risk factors for falls for jockeys anywhere in the world. We can make changes to apprentice training programs to try & overcome some of those factors. What might also come out of this is stronger, tougher requirements on the preparation of a horse before it is allowed to race." Australian Racing Board chief executive Andrew Harding commented: "This study was carried out with the assistance of the ARB, Principal Racing Authorities & Racing Information Services Australia. The industry enabled researchers to carry out this study because of our commitment to doing whatever possible to promote safety in Australian racing. The Board's National Jockey Safety Review Committee is well equipped to consider the study and, to the extent that it has yielded the requisite information, formulate appropriate OH&S policy recommendations."
A study by Associate Professor Leigh Blizzard of the Menzies Research Institute (published in the Medical Journal Of Australia) has found "jockeys had a higher risk of fatality than pilots & flight engineers, logging workers, structural metal workers, farm workers & truck drivers or participants in sports such as skydiving, motorcycling & boxing. Only fishers & related fishing workers had a higher fatality rate." The study analysed stewards' reports over 4 years (covering more than 75,000 races Australia-wide from August 2002-July 2006) & examined 3,360 race falls which resulted in 861 serious injuries & 5 jockey deaths. While Australia's jockey death & injury rate was equivalent to (or lower than) other racing jurisdictions including Britain, Ireland & Japan, the study was raceday-focused & did not include falls during trackwork "which a separate Victoria-only investigation found accounted for more than 30% of jockey injuries in that state," noted The Sydney Morning Herald.
In the US, owners Karen & Mickey Taylor announced 6YO entire Council Member (Seattle Slew-Zoe Montana, by Seeking The Gold) "the final horse in training by Triple Crown winner & 3-time champion Seattle Slew" has been retired, reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Kentucky-bred Council Member recorded 5 wins from 24 starts in the US, France & England for US$347,306 earnings; he was originally campaigned by Godolphin in Europe (placing in 3 Group races) before being purchased by the Taylors & moved to the US in 2007 (he was unplaced in 6 starts this year). Mickey Taylor commented: "It's a sad day to think we will never see another son or daughter of Seattle Slew race again. But it's also a day of hope, as Seattle Slew was the most complete thoroughbred our industry has ever seen. Now we have his son Council Member, a good looking horse who raced against top-class company during his 5 years on both turf & dirt." Council Member's stud plans have still to be finalised. In 1977, Seattle Slew won the US 3YO Triple Crown on his way to being named Horse-Of-The-Year. Subsequently as a stallion he sired 1,103 foals (including 8 champions & 63 graded stakes-winners) from 24 crops; his top earner was Japan-based Taiki Blizzard with US$5,523,549. Seattle Slew was North America's leading sire in 1984 & leading broodmare sire in 1995 & 1996. Seattle Slew died in 2002 at age 28.
Saudi Arabian agent Saad Al Kahtani out-bid David Loder & paid 425,000 guineas (A$1.105m) for Listed-winning 3YO Cozzene colt Rockall Blizzard during the 2nd session of the 4-day UK Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale at Park Paddocks overnight. The 2-time winning colt (consigned from Noel Meade's Tu Va Stables in Ireland on behalf of owner Pat Garvey) is from stakes-winning Dynaformer mare Kentucky Storm. Al Kahtani indicated Rockall Blizzard will target the King's Cup in Riyadh in February for new owner Prince Faisal & trainer Fahat Rzek.