Ireland mourns young jockey

Irish racing is in mourning following the tragic death of 20-year-old jockey Dary Cullen.

Cullen, from Newbridge, County Kildare, was unseated at the Wexford point-to-point last Sunday and trodden on whilst lying on the ground. The accident happened at the second fence in the first division of the mares’ maiden. Cullen was immediately rushed to Wexford General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The final race of the meeting was abandoned and an investigation is now underway. The race attracted a field of 17 four and five-year-olds when the maximum number of runners permitted for a beginners’ chase at Wexford is 15.

Cullen was a son of former jockey Jimmy Cullen and had been employed by trainer Paul Nolan for four years. Before Sunday he had only had 18 mounts and rode his first winner on March 12.

Pontefract could steal Ascot’s thunder

Pontefract could take the longest flat race mantle from Royal Ascot. The age-old Queen Alexandra Stakes at the Royal meeting has long held that honour but realignment of the course at Ascot means its distance has been shortened from two and three quarter miles to two miles five furlongs and 159 yards – just 37 yards longer than Pontefract. Pontefract’s managing director Normal Gundill is now considering altering his course in a bid to claim the title.

A holiday for Norse Dancer

Norse Dancer is to have the summer off after showing recent bad form. The six-year-old was a little jarred up after last Sunday’s race at Sha Tin, Hong Kong. He will ultimately go to stud but his racing campaign will be reviewed before the autumn.

RARC meeting surprisingly serene

The Royal Ascot Racing Club annual meeting at the Berkshire racecourse was a surprisingly tranquil affair. It was thought that anger amongst a minority of the 229 syndicate members over the financial dealings surrounding last year’s Derby winner Motivator could provide a heated atmosphere.
Although Motivator picked up winnings of £813,000 last season before being sold to stud for £6 million, the members will receive less than £11,000 each – almost £20,000 less than was anticipated.

But there was apparently no protest at yesterday’s meeting and according to Ascot chief executive, Douglas Erskine-Crum, there have only been a few dissidents.

Flora’s Marathon

Australia’s best maiden, Flora Danica has the chance to clinch her first win at Morphettville, South Australia tomorrow.

Although the daughter of Danehill is winless after 16 races she has still won more prize-money than her 19 rivals after being placed in Group 1 company four times.

Police seek betting shop burglar

Police are hunting down a man who could be Britain’s oldest armed robber, following a string of raids on betting shops in the south of England. The man is alleged to be around 60-years-old and is thought to have carried out hold-ups at bookmakers in Hertfordshire, London and the Thames Valley region. If you have any information please call crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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