Australian Turf Club has released race dates for the 2018/19 season, with 114 metropolitan fixtures to be held across four Sydney metropolitan racecourses and supporting provincial venues. The highly-anticipated Sydney spring starts on Saturday 18 August 2018 with the recently upgraded Group 1 Winx Stakes, and continues to the Melbourne Cup Day Race Meeting at Royal Randwick on Tuesday 6 November 2018. The pinnacle of the carnival will be the world's richest turf race, The Everest, to be run for a new record $13 million in prize money on Saturday 13 October at Royal Randwick. Feature racing in autumn begins with Inglis Classic Race Day at Warwick Farm on Saturday 9 February 2019, and concludes with Gr1 All Aged Stakes Day at Royal Randwick on Saturday 21 April 2019. The inaugural Inglis Millennium will be run for $2 million prize money and provides another highlight on the Golden Slipper pathway. Australia's biggest day of Group 1 racing is Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday 23 March, 2019, while the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the showpiece event of The Championships held across two world-class race meetings at Royal Randwick on Saturday 6 and Saturday 13 April, 2019. Click here to view race date fixtures.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore Stud stallion and former Australian Champion racehorse So You Think (High Chaparral-Triassic, by Tights) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred mare The Pinnacle (So You Think-Spire, by Danehill) broke through for a valuable maiden stakes win in the $150,000 Gr3 Epona Stakes (1900m) for 3YO+ fillies & mares, defeating Domed & Nettoyer. Raced by her breeder Torryburn Stud, The Pinnacle is a half-sister to Gr3 Sandown Stakes winner Under The Eiffel and Listed WATC Grandstand Cup winner Tower Of Lonhro. She improved her record to 3 wins and 7 placings (including the Gr3 ATC Aspiration Handicap & Listed Gold Coast Bracelet) from 11 starts for $250,425 in earnings.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Little Avondale Stud's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes-winning stallion Nadeem (Redoute's Choice-Candide, by Sound Reason) added a Group race success when 4YO New Zealand-bred mare Karavali (Nadeem-Just Diamonds, by No Excuse Needed) burst through a gap late to open her stakes account in the $150,000 Gr3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) for 3YO+ fillies & mares, defeating The Pinnacle & Nettoyer. Racing in the Throsby family's conspicuous red and green hooped silks, Karavali improved her record to 4 wins and 6 placings from 15 starts for $214,659 in earnings. Trainer Kris Lees said Karavali will head to the Gr3 Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on 24 March. "It's great to get some black-type with a nice mare for Edward Throsby and I think she has more races in store when she gets over a bit of ground," Lees told Sky Racing. Karavali hails from the prolific Betty Box (IRE) family of VRC Derby winner Hit The Roof, Gr1 Railway Handicap winner Alynda, Gr1 winning sprinter and sire Turffontein, and Gr3 winning sire Fast 'N' Famous.
Karaka graduate Gilt Complex (Gold Centre) hit the pinnacle of Singapore racing with a superb fight back victory in Sunday's S$1.35 million Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) at Kranji. The Cliff Brown-trained runner had also won the S$700,000 Raffles Cup (1800m) at his previous start, giving him victories in the final two legs of Singapore's Triple Crown series and an additional S$50,000 bonus for connections. Fellow Karaka graduate and defending Gold Cup winner Bahana (Elusive City) finished second. "I thought he was gone at the 600 metres," winning jockey Michael Rodd said. "But he found another gear when I took him to the fence, he was just pushing himself to get there and it's just so amazing to win the Gold Cup." A $10,000 purchase at the 2013 NZB Festival Yearling Sale, Gilt Complex now boasts 8 wins and 7 placings from 26 starts for approx. S$1.5 million in prize money – 150 times his purchase price. He is raced by New Zealanders Graham Mackie and Trish Dunell.
The BHA has announced it will introduce a minimum rating requirement for all Group One Flat races for 3YOs and older to preserve the prestige of its biggest races, reports Racing Post. The move comes after 1000-1 shot Diore Lia was declared to run in this year’s English Derby. From now on, all runners will have to have a rating of 80 to take part. "The question of whether races that form the pinnacle of our sport should require a minimum standard of competitiveness from equine participants is one that has been discussed in the past, but without agreement being reached,” said Ruth Quinn, the BHA's director of international racing and racing development. "Introducing a minimum rating for these races has three clear benefits. First, it will help protect the welfare of the human and equine participants in our major races by reducing the risk that comes with inferior horses competing against far superior opponents, second, it will ensure the risk of unsatisfactory results in these races is reduced by taking out the unknown factor…that can be caused in running by an inferior horse, and finally, it will help preserve the reputation and public perception of our top races as crown-jewel events.”
Following a decorated career spanning almost 6 years and 59 starts for $1.3 million in earnings, Gr1-winning sprinter Famous Seamus (Elusive City-Clinique, by Dance Floor) has been retired, reports theinformant.co.nz. Owners Jim and Janice Smith decided to call time on the 8YO gelding's career after he finished down the track in his final last appearance at Rosehill on Saturday. A durable, consistent galloper in a highly competitive sprint era, the pinnacle of his career came with victory in the 2014 running of the Gr1 BTC Cup where he defeated fellow Gr1 winner and now Eureka Stud stallion Spirit of Boom and multiple Gr1 winner Buffering. He also took the Gr2 ATC Premiere Stakes and in 2015 the Gr3 MRC Kevin Heffernan Stakes. His swansong victory came via the Listed Hawkesbury Ladies' Day Cup in late 2016. Famous Seamus was a NZ$70,000 purchase from the draft of Trelawney Stud to the bid of Flagtown Pty Ltd at the 2010 NZB National Yearling Sale.
At the Gold Coast in Queensland, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a black-type success when 3YO filly Dawn Wall (Fastnet Rock-Mennetou, by Entrepreneur) added another stakes win in her brief but exciting career when landing the $125,000 Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) for 3YO fillies, defeating The Pinnacle & Candika. Purchased for $1.3 million at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud, Dawn Wall improved her record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Arrowfield Kembla Grange Classic) from 6 starts for $268,050 earnings. Raced by a high-profile group of owners including the Niarchos family's Flaxman Stables and Coolmore Stud, the beautifully bred Dawn Wall is by Fastnet Rock out of the unraced Entrepreneur mare Mennetou (IRE), a half-sister to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and sire Carnegie from fellow Arc winner Detroit (Riverman-Derna, by Sunny Boy). This is the family of Cambridge Stud's deceased multiple champion sire Zabeel, Australian Guineas winner Baryshnikov, and Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Durtal. Dawn Wall will head to the Gr2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on 20 May as a prelude to her primary winter target, the Gr1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on 3 June.
At Trentham in New Zealand, talented 5YO Kiwi mare Aide Memoire's (Remind-Explain, by Success Express) value received a significant boost when scoring by 1.25 lengths for trainer Fraser Auret in the NZ$200,000 Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, over 7YO geldings Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) & Ringo (Fastnet Rock-Akris, by Zabeel). Aide Memoire improved her record to 7 wins (including the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup) and 6 placings from 16 starts for NZ$217,285 earnings. "She really kicked well in the straight," jockey Robert Hannam told NZ Racing Desk. "You can't beat a Group One – they are the pinnacle of horse racing." Trainer Fraser Auret added: "Robert and I go back a long way and he rode my first winner. This is very special, just massive." Triple Gr1 winner Volkstok'n'barrell showed he was on track for the summer features when making up good ground to finish sixth.
Champion Japanese galloper Orfevre (Stay Gold-Oriental Art, by Mejiro McQueen) has been inducted into the Japanese Hall of Fame after receiving an incredible 95.9 per cent of the votes, reports Racing Post. The Japanese Triple Crown winner retired in 2013 after an outstanding career that yielded 12 wins from 21 starts, as well as two narrow losses in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. "For me, it is a huge honour to have Orfevre selected as a member of the Hall of Fame. He was a horse that gave us many varied memories," Orfevre's trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said. "I think the memories that most stay with us are his 2012 run in the Prix l'Arc de Triomphe when he came so close to achieving the pinnacle of racing and his last run in the Arima Kinen, a performance that just how big a cut above he was." He added: "He wasn't able to realise our dream of winning the Arc, but it is my belief that his children will carry on that dream." Orfevre defeated former champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa to become the 31st inductee into Japan's Hall of Fame. Both horses are now standing at stud.
Mill Ridge Farm stallion Johar passed away on Monday at the age of 15 after injuring himself in a paddock accident at the farm near Lexington, reports bloodhorse.com. He will be buried at the farm next to his sire, Gone West, Mill Ridge said in a release. Trained by Richard Mandella, Johar's career highlights were dead-heating with High Chaparral in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Turf and winning the Gr1 Hollywood Derby. Johar has been represented by progeny that have earned in excess of US$10.3 million, with his 15 stakes winners including Gr1 winners Joha and Guiseppina (Gr1 Telegraph Handicap in New Zealand), millionaire Keertana, Canadian champion 2YO filly Tu Endie Wei, and multiple Group-winning Australian galloper Folding Gear. "It is a sad day for us to inform the passing of Johar," said Mill Ridge managing partner Headley Bell. "He was with us a long time, having been raised at Mill Ridge and bred and raced by Thoroughbred Corp. He reached the pinnacle of racing, dead heating in the Breeders' Cup Turf with High Chaparral and as a sire with grade I winner Joha. We will miss him here at Mill Ridge."
Donna Logan says a Caulfield Cup victory would rate as the biggest of her training career, eclipsing the wins of Rising Romance in the Australian Oaks and Victory Smile in the Metropolitan Handicap, reports NZ Racing Desk. "It would be the ultimate, the pinnacle of my lifetime. Every trainer dreams of winning one of the big ones and knowing we're here now with the horse at 100 per cent, it's a pretty good feeling," Logan said. Rising Romance is the horse Logan is relying on to deliver her first Cup, and the New Zealand horsewoman says the 4YO Ekraar mare is primed for a big performance. "She looks a treat. She's just so bright and well in herself," Logan said. "She thrives on racing and she's so relaxed at the stables and at the track. I really couldn't hope to have her in better condition and what really gives us confidence is lots of other trainers are saying 'gee, your horse looks well'. The other trainers are backing up what we're thinking." She added, "She's licking her bowl clean morning and night and we're expecting a bold showing. Lucia Valentina is the race favourite and we've already seen there's not much between them. A lot of it will come down to luck. She's got to be out of trouble and if that happens, she'll be right in it." Rising Romance will be ridden by fellow Kiwi James McDonald and will jump from barrier 17.
At a gala function held last night in Hamilton, New Zealand, 2014 Arrowfield Stud First Crop sire Dundeel (High Chaparral-Stareel, by Zabeel) defeated a quality field of equine talent to secure the title of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Horse of the Year for season 2013/14. A spectacular season that was highlighted by the lowering of the hitherto unbeaten Atlantic Jewel's colours when winning the Underwood Stakes and victory in the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, saw the son of High Chaparral take the coveted title at the expense of high-class mare Silent Achiever. Part owner Murray Andersen spoke on behalf of the syndicate and admitted the award was a "dream come true", commenting, "He has been a sensational horse, great for New Zealand and this is the pinnacle." Dundeel also earned the Award for Champion Middle Distance performer. The 6-time Gr1 winner will be presented to Australian breeders for the first time at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House from August 21 to August 24. Below, courtesy of TVN, is his Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes win.
The 35th Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong from May 5-8 will include a presentation on the Pattern System, clearly one of the most important structures and institutions in racing's international framework. With Group and Listed races the pinnacle of achievement in the sport and the flow-on effect of black-type the signpost for residual worth in the breeding barn and sales ring, one of the key questions to be posed at the conference is if its use is consistent throughout the world in what is clearly a global marketplace. Discussions and analysis will be led by International Federation Vice Chairman, Brian Kavanagh, and a panel drawn from around the globe will address this and other key issues, including:
Multiple group-winning 5YO entire Alternation (Distorted Humor-Alternate, by Seattle Slew) has been retired and will stand at the Pin Oak Stud operation of his breeder and owner, Josephine Abercrombie, reports drf.com. No fee has been announced. The talented Alternation won 9 of his 19 starts, including the Gr2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont, the Gr2 Oaklawn Handicap & the Gr3 Pimlico Special Stakes, for prize money of US$1,059,727. "There was a point in the spring of his 4YO year he was probably right at the top of the handicap horse list," said Alternation's trainer, Donnie Von Hemel. "The Oaklawn Handicap was probably his biggest career win. He beat Grade 1 winners from Florida and Grade 1 winners from California that day. That would probably be the pinnacle of his racing career." Alternation is out of the stakes-winning Seattle Slew mare Alternate, a half-sister to duel Gr1 winner and former Canadian Horse Of The Year, Peaks and Valleys. Pin Oak's General Manager, Clifford Barry said the farm was delighted to secure such a well-performed young stallion. "We're pretty excited at Pin Oak to bring a horse of that caliber home," Barry said.
Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) has announced that an additional $360,000 has been added to the winner's prize for the 2013 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap, the pinnacle of the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. This will mean the race now boasts a $1 million first prize purse when run in Brisbane on June 8. RQL chairman Kevin Dixon believes the $1 million winner's prize will ensure the AAMI Stradbroke Handicap remains the peak of winter racing in Australia, noting: "We understand the importance of funding grassroots racing and have made good progress in that area. We are on track to deliver $2 million in increased prizemoney across Queensland this year. However, it's also important to keep Queensland's most time-honoured race relevant and ensure that it remains one of the most important on the Australian racing calendar." The increase is supported by Queensland Racing Minister Steve Dickson.
Tuesday Odd Spot: Under the memorable headline "Flummery And Frocks Merely Increase The Oik Quotient", commentator Will Buckley went for the jugular in a memorable column on guardian.co.uk slamming the BBC for "not dividing their Royal Ascot coverage, with one channel broadcasting the racing while the other showed the fashion. As it was, the presence of the most infuriating lick-spittling gobshite in modern broadcasting ruined everything. It only needed James Sherwood to say 'a whisper of green' or 'flip-flops make me livid' and, without even bothering to look for my remote, I was on my feet & charging to turn off the telly at source." Buckley thundered: "Among the many inanities he uttered before I could switch him off, the most idiotic was his statement about the royal procession: 'This is what the British do best'. Is it really, James? Is driving a horse & carriage round a paddock as good as the Brits get? More than 2 millennia of sweat & struggle & that is the pinnacle"? After branding fashion expert Sherwood "the repellent jackass" & "this snivelling counter-jumper" who "must be suffering from one of the severest doses of minor-public-school-itis ever recorded", Buckley declared "next time Clare Balding (fellow commentator) is forced to broadcast with the poltroon" she should "smile sweetly before saying: 'And now here with the fashion, it's ok'. That might make Sherwood shrivel."
After missing 21 months of racing & "checking into rehab in 2003, jockey Garrett Gomez has turned his life around & reached the pinnacle of his profession," declared thoroughbredtimes.com. "His dependability & consistency in 2007 helped him establish a single-season record for stakes wins with 77" to take the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey. During the season, ultra-consistent Gomez won 21% of his main track starts & 21% of his turf starts; he also won 21% of his starts at one mile or more & 21% of his sprint races. Gomez also led all North American riders by earnings for a 2nd successive year. Voting for Outstanding Jockey was: Garrett Gomez 248; Robby Albarado 11; Russell Baze 2; Calvin Borel 1; Ramon Dominguez 1; Voter abstentions 4.
Queensland Turf Club chairman Bill Sexton announced the traditional Queen's Birthday Public Holiday Monday meeting at Eagle Farm will be run for the last time this year, to be replaced in 2009 by a Super Saturday of racing on Stradbroke Day boasting 3 Gr1s, 2 Gr2s & 3 Listed races. Sexton commented: "Combined with the recent partnership between QTC & Queensland Events, this will further cement Stradbroke Day as Queensland's premier raceday & one of the pinnacle days on the Australian racing calendar."