International

International Thoroughbred horse racing previews, recaps, video, sales and breeding

First Cheltenham; Now Grand National

First the Cheltenham meeting was cancelled in England, now the foot and mouth outbreak will cause Irish horses not to travel to the Grand National meeting on April 5. This is because the Irish government continues to ask the industry in the country not to ship horses or travel to the country until 30 days after the last confirmed outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

Shuttlers Should Be Safe From Foot and Mouth<br>

Appalling livestock losses in England caused by the foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreaks are unlikely to affect the general movement of shuttle stallions from Britain. The situation could change, however, if the measures taken by English authorities fail to control the disease over the next six to eight weeks.

All Points North

Northerly trounced a strong field in winning the Australian Cup (Aust-I) at Flemington March 12. With the exception of Sunline, now in Dubai, and Tie the Knot, the best horses in training assembled in Melbourne's main fall event over 2,000 meters.

Officials Consider Mid-April Dates for Cheltenham Festival

Discussions to continued to take place over the weekend with all interested parties about the re-scheduling of Cheltenham, with the aim of confirming as soon as possible the new dates for the three days. The Cheltenham Board Sunday and gave its backing to the process. Progress has been made but there are still various issues to be determined -- the main one being what will happen to Ireland's Punchestown Festival which is scheduled from April 24 to 27.

Captain Steve, Aptitude Have World Cup Preps; Frankel Names Stevens

Mike Pegram's Captain Steve and Juddmonte Farms' Aptitude, America's two entries in the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 24, each worked in Southern California on Friday, one day before they are scheduled to leave on their long journey to the desert nation. Also on Friday, trainer Robert Frankel indicated that Gary Stevens will ride Aptitude for the first time in the World Cup.

Japanese Racing Suffers Business Declines Again in 2000

Like its ailing economy, racing in Japan is slumping. The Japan Racing Association reported a third consecutive year of declines in 2000 in both on-track attendance and total handle. With government-sanctioned wagering on soccer set to begin in Japan this year, 2001 promises to be a major challenge for the JRA.

Cheltenham to Retake Entries for Postponed Festival

Britain's Cheltenham Racecourse announced Friday that discussions were taking place between course officials and "all interested parties regarding the availability of dates for the rescheduled National Hunt Festival." Cheltenham further requested ticket holders to retain their tickets until the Festival dates are announced, at which time "they will then have the option of attending on the same day of the week or applying for a full refund."

Captain Steve, Aptitude Confirmed For Dubai World Cup

Representatives of 17 different countries totaling 80 international runners have confirmed their participation at the 2001 Dubai World Cup meeting at Nad Al Sheba on March 24. The $6-million group I Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates and the opening leg of the 2001 Emirates World Series Racing Championships, is likely to attract 14 runners, including Captain Steve and Aptitude from the U.S.

British, Irish Breeders Hopeful Despite Restrictions

British and Irish breeders are hoping mares that can't be shipped to stallions because of restrictions imposed by the foot-and-mouth outbreak will be able to do so later in the breeding season. Movement of horses in Great Britain, outside the immediate exclusion zones around the 70 confirmed British outbreaks of foot and mouth, is not controlled. Dispensation, with proper precautions, is possible even within such zones.

French Horses May Miss Cheltenham Festival Due to Disease

France on Monday banned exports of animals at risk from foot-and-mouth disease after tests on nine herds showed traces of the highly contagious virus. In Belgium, tests showed no evidence of the disease in suspected pigs. The BBC reported French horses are set to pull out of the Cheltenham festival as a result of the country's restrictions on movement of animals. managing director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said the meet is still scheduled for March 13-15.

Golfing Phenom Meets Sheikh, Tours Stables

Tiger Woods, the reigning champion of the golfing world, spent Wednesday afternoon touring the state of the art Al Quoz Stables in Dubai, the home of Godolphin Racing. During the tour of Al Quoz, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum told the golfer that one of Godolphin's most promising 2-year-olds was to be named Dubai Tiger. A son of Storm Cat out of the Saratoga Six mare Toga Toga Toga, Dubai Tiger was purchased for $1.8 million at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Sunline In Prep for Dubai on Saturday

Sunline, the leading money earner in Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), is expected to start next in the Apollo Stakes (Aust-II) on March 3, her prep for Dubai. Sydney race fans should pack Warwick Farm as the race will feature a return bout between Sunline and local star Tie the Knot, who resides fourth on the list with $5.5 million (Australian funds).

Top European Rider Asmussen to Assist on Family Ranch

Cash Asmussen is stepping back from race riding, and for the first time in many years will not be based in France. The jockey will instead assist with his family's Texas-based racing and breeding operation. A long-standing relationship with the Niarchos family has come to an end, which is the main reason for Asmussen's decision to end his European involvement.

Arc Added to World Championship Series

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere will join the Emirates World Series Racing Championship in 2001, it was announced in Paris by France Galop's Director General Louis Romanet, and by the Emirates World Series Committee in New York. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere, which will be run on Oct. 7, 2001, will be the seventh race of 12, in the World Series, which starts with the Dubai World Cup on March 24 and ends with the Hong Kong Cup on December 16.

China Visit Ends Layoff With Nad Al Sheba Victory

Godolphin Racing's China Visit put forth solid credentials to be labeled a leading Dubai World Cup contender following his brilliant return to racing in the Listed opening round of the Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba Thursday night. China Visit hadn't raced since his unplaced effort behind Giant's Causeway in the St James' Place Stakes at Royal Ascot, a month after his sixth to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Kentucky Derby.

Dubai Millennium Tops International Classifications

Godolphin Racing's Dubai Millennium, the impressive six-length winner of the Dubai World Cup, has been accorded top weight of 134 on the International Classifications announced in London Wednesday. Among horses trained in the U.S. on the International Classification, sprinter Kona Gold and Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus both were rated at 127 pounds. That placed Kona Gold behind only Dubai Millennium and Montjeu (130 pounds) on the older horse list and Fusaichi Pegasus' weight assignment exceeded only by Sinndar.

Japan Sire List: Sunday Silence on Top -- Again

Sunday Silence's 2000 progeny earnings of $53,672,791 (¥6,065,025,400) makes for some interesting comparisons, and perhaps none is more fascinating than comparing it to a weekly average. With 52 weeks in a year, that comes out to a little more than $1 million a week, which is what his average was in 1999, when his runners earned a grand total of $52,346,090.

The Aga Khan Comments on Trends in Breeding Industry

In his speech to the British breeding industry, The Aga Khan reflected on his philosophies as well as the industry's future. The top British breeder said what he and other traditional breeders find it "particularly difficult to manage today is the way in which the financial drivers of the breeding industry are changing it. An example is the 40-share stallion syndicate of a horse that never left his operating base, which is now being replaced by limitless books of mares for stallions who will travel to any market that will purchase their services."

Japan Cup Winner Unanimous as Country's Best Horse

Japanese superhorse T.M. Opera O was the unanimous choice for 2000 Horse of the Year in his native country, according to the list of champion released by the Japan Racing Association. A son of Opera House, T.M. Opera received all 296 votes for Horse of the Year. Winner of the Japan Cup (Jpn-I), T. M. Opera O was undefeated in eight starts last year, with earnings of ¥1,036,004,000 (about US$9,466,254) as he was also named champion older horse.

Horse Race Wagering Soars in Ontario

The Ontario Jockey Club reported today that wagering continued its strong upward trend in 2000. A record $1,221,684,460 in wagers was handled by the company, up 11.6% from $1,094,511,000 in 1999. Total wagering at the two OJC tracks, Woodbine and Mohawk, at 27 off-track wagering sites in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and by telephone account bettors, totalled $854,866,100, an increase of 7.4% over the $795.8 million recorded in 1999. T

Helicopter Crash Kills Top Breeder in India

One of the top horse breeders in India, Major Pradeep K. Mehra, his wife Mrs. Beena Mehra, and their daughter Radhika Mehra, died in a helicopter accident Tuesday. According to published reports, the helicopter took off from a helipad in the higher reaches of Mussoorie under foggy conditions, at 12:05 p.m. and was headed toward Jollygrant airport in Dehra Dun when it crashed into a hill.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Fines Jockey Childs

Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club on Friday fined jockey Greg Childs HK$300,000 (about US$$37,514) for breaching rules of racing by "engaging in conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of horse racing in Hong Kong." The action stems from a conversation Childs reportedly had with another rider, Justin Sheehan, prior to the Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 17 and Childs' reported post-race public comments about the conversation with Sheehan. Childs rode the top New Zealand mare Sunline to victory in the Mile; Sheehan finished third aboard Adam.

Hong Kong Mile Inquiry Friday; Newspaper Issues Statement

Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club have scheduled an inquiry for Friday into quotes attributed to jockey Greg Childs following his winning ride aboard the New Zealand mare Sunline in the Hong Kong Mile. The inquiry centers around a Sydney Morning Herald article with quotes attributed to Childs concerning a pre-race discussion he had with Justin Sheehan, rider of eventual Mile third-place finisher Adam.

Cecil Fined by Hong Kong Stewards; Sunline's Win May Be Reviewed

California-based trainer Ben Cecil has been fined HK$50,000 (about US$6,410) by Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards as a result of Falcon Flight testing positive for a prohibited substance prior to Sunday's Hong Kong International Cup. HKJC stewards will also reportedly review the circumstances surrounding the impressive victory by Sunline in the Hong Kong Mile. Greg Childs, who rode Sunline, said that he and another jockey discussed strategy prior to the race.

British EBF Issues 2000 Sponsorship Report

The British European Breeders' Fund (BEBF) -- one of racing's principal sponsors -- contributed a total of £520,000 in prize money during the latest flat season when over 330 races were supported. The figure is a record in recent times and, although the precise amount for next year will not be known until late February, it is likely to be exceeded in 2001.

British EBF Issues 2000 Sponsorship Report

The British European Breeders' Fund (BEBF) -- one of racing's principal sponsors -- contributed a total of £520,000 in prize money during the latest flat season when over 330 races were supported. The figure is a record in recent times and, although the precise amount for next year will not be known until late February, it is likely to be exceeded in 2001.

Hong Kong Racing Report: Sunline, Fantastic Light Shine

The New Zealand-bred and based mare Sunline stole the show in Hong Kong with a whisker's win in the HK$10 million Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin. What made her win more impressive was her opponent, local favorite Fairy King Prawn, came on strong with a sixteenth of a mile remaining, but the big bay mare held on past the wire. In the other group races on the card, Fantastic Light won the featured International Cup, Falvelon took the Sprint, and Daliapour won the Vase.

Quiet Resolve, Sam-Son Top Sovereign Award Winners

Quiet Resolve, winner of the Dixie Handicap (gr. II) at Pimlico and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I), was named Friday as Canadian Horse of the Year. The 5-year-old son of Affirmed also won a Sovereign Award as Canada's top champion male turf horse. Quiet Resolve's honors led a sweep of the major awards by the horse's connections. Sam-Son Farms, which bred and campaigned the Horse of the Year, received Sovereigns as both outstanding owner and breeder.

Stoute Pair Work Toward Hong Kong Vase

Johnny Murtagh rode work on the grass on Michael Stoute's pair Daliapour and Greek Dance at Sha Tin Friday morning in perparation for the Hong Kong Vase. James Picou, trainer of U.S.-based Vase contender Val's Prince, expressed satisfaction with the horse's post position.

British Breeders' Group Honoring The Aga Khan

The Aga Khan will be the guest of honor at the British Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's prestigious annual Awards Dinner at the Churchill Hotel in London on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2001. Among the horses campaigned by The Aga Khan this year were Vodafone Derby, Irish Derby, and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sinndar and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Kalanisi.

Posts Set for Sunday's Hong Kong Races

A different kind of post position draw entertained attendees at Wednesday's Hong Kong International Races barrier draw ceremony. The first three races, the group III Sprint, and the group I Mile and Vase followed a format where a chosen guest, usually a steward from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, drew random pills to indicate order of receiving the posts. The gate numbers were then handed to the horses' connections in a sealed envelope; however, no one could open their envelope until the entire field had representation on stage. Then they displayed their numbers all at once.

Nine Horses Represent U.S. in Hong Kong

Most of the nine-horse American contingent for the Dec. 17 Hong Kong International Races have settled into Sha Tin Racecourse after traveling this week. Sprinters Big Jag and Morluc were the first to arrive on Monday, with the Christophe Clement trainees, Craigsteel, Charge d'Affaires, and Forbidden Apple scheduled in on Friday afternoon.

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