Keightley condemned

Trainer Shaun Keightley has been found guilty of five charges of breaching the Rules of Racing and fined £3,500 for his corrupt practice. If he seeks to reapply again for a licence the Jockey Club have pointed out they will not consider such an application until 2010.

His jockey, Pat McCabe has been suspended for 28 days for ‘stopping’ Red Lancer, the central equine figure in the case. Keitley was found to have passed information to Christopher Coleman, his son Dean, and Neil Yorke that Red Lancer would not win or be placed in a race at Wolverhampton on Oct 20, 2003.

But Keightley is determined to appeal. The rules allow those found in breach of certain offences to exhaust the sport’s appeal process before any punishment comes into force. Keithtley has seven days to lodge an appeal and once he has done so, as a licensed trainer, he can still enter and run horses.  

The Leicestershire trainer has thus gone ahead and declared sprint handicapper Joyeaux at Lingfield on Saturday and will decide this morning (Friday) whether Make It Happen Now will run at Southwell on Sunday.

One issue expected to be raised at the appeal was the panel’s apparent failure to see video footage of the start which Keighley claims showed Red Lancer playing up in the stalls before most of the other runners had entered.

No more profits from dead horses

Betfair is amending its policy on ante-post betting to ensure that none of its clients benefit from the sudden death of a leading contender in a major race. The decision follows the death of Best Mate during a race at Exeter in November.

The Betfair market on next year’s Gold Cup was suspended less than three minutes after Best Mate collapsed, having been pulled up by Paul Carberry, his jockey.

During that time, however, a number of Betfair punters tried to place bets on the chaser which had been left on the site, while others laid bets on other leading contenders for the race.

A survey of all Betfair’s clients who had placed a bet on an ante-post racing market over the last three months revealed that 44% thought that all bets placed in an ante-post market after a certain time should be declared void.

From now on Betfair will attempt to determine a precise “time of death” when a major contender for an ante-post event dies and bets placed after that time will be declared void. The market will be re-opened once all unmatched bets have been cancelled.

Inevitably there will be some occasions when customers who have placed honest bets will find they have been declared void. There will also be problems in determining an official time of death.

Walford’s Kingscliff ride uncertain

There is only a 50% chance that Robert Walford will be fit to continue his association with Kingscliff in the Stan James King George VI Chase at Sandown on Boxing Day. The jockey has suffered a hairline fracture to the collarbone after falling from a youngster whilst training in Dorset.

The 25-year-old was taken to Blandford Hospital where x-rays revealed a small crack in the collarbone.  

Victory in the King George would take Kingscliff just one step away from winning the inaugural Betfair Million, a £1millionbonus payable to the connections of any horse who wins the Betfair Lancashire Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Walford is now back at home and keeping as still as possible in order to heighten his chances of being fit for the King George. However if he fails to make a full recovery in time, Andrew Thornton could renew his partnership with Kingscliff. The pair came second in the King George last season.

An end to Pipe’s barren spell

After 47 consecutive losers, Martin Pipe has finally returned to the winners’ enclosure. Lough Derg became Pipe’s first winner of the month at Exeter, landing odds of 9-4 to win the Christine Loze Birthday Beginners’ Chase under Tom Scudamore.

Study reveals wastage of two-year-olds

As many as 40 per cent of two-year-olds in training do not make the racecourse, and of those that do, less than a third win a race, a survey by the Equine Fertility Unit in Newmarket as revealed.

Three-year olds kept in training have more of a chance, with just over three-quarters of them going under starters’ orders and 40 per cent of those winning at least one race.

But in terms of training costs, the survey’s results are disturbing.  With an annual keep of £10,000, the researchers found that only five per cent of two-year-olds and 17 per cent of three-year-olds covered their costs.

Allen and Wilsher have also been doing some interesting research. A recent survey revealed that 29 per cent of two-year olds suffer sore shins. Non-specific respiratory disease, joint problems and fractures also had a greater than ten per cent frequency among the juveniles.

National Stud shares are hot property

The National Stud has sold all 40 of the £30,000 shares it was offering in Bahamian Bounty. The celebrated stallion is sire of this year’s top-class sprinting brothers Pastoral Pursuits, who won the July Cup at Newmarket and Goodricke, who was successful in Haydock’s William Hill Sprint Cup in September.

The stud holds the remaining 60 per cent of the 11-year-old son of Cadeaux Genereux, whose full value is £3 million. Winner of the 1996 Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, Bahamian Bounty has had his fee raised substantially, from £6,000 last season to £10,000 next year.

The National Stud reported that his book of 110 mares is already oversubscribed. Bounty covered 99 registered mares last year and 111 in 2004, according to Weatherbys’ 2005 Return of Mares.

The stud has also sold all ten of the £20,000 shares it was offering in Pastoral Pursuits, whose stud fee has been set at £6,000. Ten more shares will be available early next year.

Allied Irish Bank in £2.9m Ascot partnership

Allied Irish Bank has signed a £2.9m agreement over five years to become the first Founding Partner of the new Ascot Racecourse.

Under the terms of the agreement, Allied Irish Bank will partner with Ascot until and including the 2010 Royal Meeting.  

Ascot Racecourse has been closed since September 2004 to undergo a £200 million redevelopment. It will reopen as one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment venues on 27 May 2006, three weeks before next year’s Royal Meeting


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