Ouija Board is set to play a leading role in tomorrows Breeders Cup at Belmont Park, according to trainer Ed Dunlop. Record rainfall in New York has led to soft going, but Dunlop is convinced that the filly is ready to bid for a second victory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Turf.
Ouija Board was injured in the Prince of Waless Stakes at Royal Ascot at York and did not reappear until September when she won the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes at Newmarket with Frankie Dettori. Dunlop confesses he does not yet know whether will be as good as she was last season, but claims the filly is better mentally and very fresh.
High security at Belmont
European challengers at this years Breeders Cup will join their US counterparts in special security barns at Belmont Park to comply with new strict rules designed to curb the activities of drug cheats. Runners will be placed in one of three areas at least six hours before post time and kept under close surveillance. The measures were put in force in May by the New York Racing Association to limit the opportunity for horses to be administered with illegal performance enhancing substances.
Motivator retired to stud
Derby winner Motivator has been retired to stud after pulling a muscle during his final piece of training at Newmarket before heading out to America for Saturdays Breeders’ Cup in New York. The Michael Bell-trained three-year-old had been classed a 5-1 third favourite for the race by William Hill. The son of Montjeu will now be retired to the Royal Stud at Sandringham. His Derby victory at Epsom in June was the last of his four wins.
Best Mate ready for action
Triple Gold Cup hero Best Mate could face as many as 13 rivals in the Haldon Cup at Exeter next Tuesday. The 10-year-old won the event in 2001 but will encounter stiff opposition this year with Contraband, Ashley Brook and Kauto Star all set to run. Trainer Henrietta Knight says she has every confidence in Best Mate but refuses to disclose who will partner him on Tuesday.
Alex Ferguson buys Rock yearling
Sir Alex Ferguson has bought a yearling son of Rock of Gibraltar at the recent Newmarket Sales. Rock of Gibraltar won eight of his 10 races in Fergusons colours, including both the English and Irish 2,000 guineas. But when the colt retired to stud, rows broke out between Ferguson and the Coolmore bloodstock empire over ownership and stud fees. Ferguson received an estimated £3 million pay out in 2004. The colt, as yet unnamed, will be trained by Ed Dunlop.
Charitable trust status for National Stud
Following two years of detailed discussions with the Charity Commission, Levy Board and DCMS, the National Stud has been granted charitable status in respect of its non-commercial activities. These include the training and education programme, general public access and the planned visitor centre. The charity will be known as the Wavertree Charitable Trust in memory of Lord Wavertree, who presented his stud and bloodstock to the nation in 1916.
Ruby Walsh sidelined
Jockey Ruby Walsh has been sidelined following a nasty fall at Aintree on Sunday. Walsh got pinned between his ride Aint That A Shame and the railings. X-rays revealed a chipped bone in his right elbow. Walsh hopes to be back for the Open meeting at Cheltenham next month
The jumps season starts with a bang on 5th November with The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund Race Day at Sandown Park. The racecourse is offering its highest ever National Hunt prize money this season, with over £2 million up for grabs.
Visitors to Saturdays races will be able to make donations to the MDIRF throughout the day and a beautiful Stevenson Bros Rocking Horse will be won by the charity’s raffle winner.
The most important outcome of the race meeting is to raise substantial and much needed funds for MDIRJF, says Jane Davies, mother to Mark Davies who died in a fall at Burghley in 1988.
Gates will open at approximately 11.00am, with the first race at 12.55pm and the last race run at 4.10pm. For further information or to book tickets (tel: 01372 470047) or visit: www.sandown.co.uk