Racing week: Pastoral Pursuits on July Cup high

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  • Pastoral Pursuits overwhelmed Avonbridge by a length and a half to take the £250,000 Darley July Cup on Thursday.

    This year’s race had been billed as a contest between the reigning sprint champion Somnus and two young pretenders, Soldier’s Tale and Iffraaj. However, trainer Hughie Morrison dramatically altered the outcome when he decided to run Pastoral Pursuits, despite an overnight deluge at Newmarket.

    Against all odds Pastoral Pursuits delivered the trainer’s first Group 1 winner against Somnus, Europe’s premier sprinter. Morrison admitted that he had not been confident before the race, but was delighted about his snap decision to run Pastoral Pursuits.

    Dettori home after surgery

    Frankie Dettori (pictured) has returned home from hospital following successful surgery on the left collarbone he fractured at Sandown on Saturday.

    The champion jockey survived a horrific fall from Celtic Mill in the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Stakes, a five-furlong sprint, when the horse accidentally clipped heals with another runner. Celtic Mill emerged from the incident unscathed, but Dettori was not so lucky.

    The surgery consisted of a plate being attached to Dettori’s collarbone by eight screws. The injury has meant that Dettori has been forced to renounce his fight to retain the prized crown of champion jockey. His new target is to ride 100 winners this season.

    Although out of action on the track, Dettori is releasing his own racing videogame, in association with Home Entertainment Suppliers and Player One Limited. Dettori also has his own pizza and ice cream labels, as well as Frankie’s Grill and Bar in Knightsbridge which he runs with Marco Pierre White.

    Racing united in mourning

    The funeral of conditional jockey Tom Halliday took place on Tuesday at Christ The King RC Church in Bingley.

    Tom Halliday sustained fatal injuries after being crushed in a fall from the Susan Smith-trained Rush’n’run in the Lincolnshire track’s fifth race, an extended two-mile-one-furlong novice handicap hurdle, on Sunday.

    Positioned towards the rear of the field, Halliday’s mount suddenly moved to the left on approaching the third-last hurdle, as if attempting to run out. Halliday endeavoured to correct his line but parted company with six-year old Rush’n’run when he ran to the left again. The horse subsequently lost his balance and fell heavily on the jockey.

    News of Halliday’s tragic death has devastated the racing world. He is the first professional jump jockey to die in action in Britain since 1996 when Richard Davis failed to survive injuries obtained in a fall at Southwell.

    Halliday rode the first of his four winners at Wetherby on 26 December and had achieved three more victories by May this year when he won on Ding Dong Belle in a Hexham handicap hurdle.

    Paul Struthers, Jockey Club spokesman, said: “The Jockey Club are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and our condolences go out to Tom’s family”.

    A good week for punters

    A punter in a Liverpool betting-shop has won the biggest payout ever on a horseracing wager in Britain or Ireland after collecting almost £800,000 for a stake of just £30.

    Ian Carswell 37, who had just been made redundant from his job, was handed a cheque for £796,706.52 by Ladbrokes as his reward for an extraordinary winning spree, whose combined odds totalled 194,000-1.

    As a result of Carswell’s winning bet Ladbrokes has doubled its maximum return on UK and Irish racing bets from £500,000 to £1million.

    Carswell, combined his six selections in a series of two bets, a Lucky 63 and an each-way accumulator, writing out the winning slips in Ladbrokes’ Allerton Rd branch in Liverpool.

    In less than two hours he had correctly forecast the winners of three races apiece at Hamilton and Brighton, with two of his successful horses winning at 12-1 and Redwood Star, the horse who secured his financial future, at 14-1.

    Carswell explained that he has been doing the same bet for years and was astonished when he saw it on the television.

    A bad week for Irish jockey

    Fran Berry’s appeal against a nine-day careless riding ban have been dismissed by the Turf Club’s Appeals and Referrals Committee, ruining his chances of becoming Irish champion jockey for the first time.

    The suspension was received 11 days ago at The Curragh when Berry was riding Akram, runner-up in the 10-furlong maiden.

    Two instances of interference were inquired into by the stewards, the first four furlongs out which resulted in Pat Smullen being unseated from Clearing the Water — the second was from the furlong marker.

    Akram was pushed back to third as a result of the final furlong interference and Berry was given his nine-day suspension for the other one.

    Former stars take centre stage

    Deano’s Beeno will be the star of a parade of former racehorses from the Greatwood racehorse rehabilitation and rehoming centre, which is taking place at the first-ever international horse trials at Barbury Castle this Sunday, (10 July) near Marlborough, Wiltshire.

    Deano had a career spanning 11 years, and a hurdles record of 11 wins, including beating the outstanding Baracouda on level weights and ending his run of 10 consecutive victories in the Ascot Grade 1 Cantor Sport Long Walk Hurdle.

    Greatwood is based just a few miles from Barbury Castle, which is home to Barbury point-to-points and formerly the venue for the Marlborough Cup timber race. Greatwood is the official charity of the three-star international event and a special prize will be awarded to the highest placed Thoroughbred.

    Helen Yeadon, Greatwood founder and trustee, said: “We are delighted to be involved with Barbury Castle Horse Trials, and to have the opportunity to tell the eventing community about our work. I am sure that anyone involved with horses will be delighted to support us in our work, rescuing and rehabilitating ex racehorses that have fallen on hard times in their retirement”

    Ouija Board back soon

    Dual Oaks-winning filly, Ouija Board has been given a clean bill of health after being X-rayed and will soon be back in training.

    Ouija Board’s early-season preparation was delayed with a splint on her off-fore and she belatedly returned to the track in last month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.

    Finishing a lacklustre seventh of eight runners, it was discovered she had lost a shoe and an examination revealed she had suffered a small stress fracture to her near-fore cannon bone.

    Peter Stanley, racing manager to Ouija Board’s owner Lord Derby claims the X-rays are satisfactory and she will be back in work soon.

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