Racing week: Shamardal retired to stud

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  • Tomorrow’s long-awaited clash between Derby winner Motivator and French 2,000 Guineas winner Shamardal (pictured) in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park will now not take place.

    Shamardal will miss the showdown after chipping a bone in the fetlock of his right foreleg earlier this week. As a result, the racing career of the Godolphin-owned three-year-old is over and he will now be retired to stud. Shamardal’s owner Sheikh Maktoum and Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford are reported to be extremely disappointed by the news.

    The Coral-Eclipse is dubbed to be Sandown’s biggest day for 20 years with a crowd of 18,000 filling the racecourse. Tickets have not been in such demand since Desert Orchid’s Whitbread Gold Cup victory in 1988. With today’s news of Shamardal’s withdrawal, bookmakers have revised their betting with Motivator now 1-2.

    Mixed feelings over BHB’s fixture bidding process

    The BHB’s new system of auctioning race fixtures has received praise from Northern Racing’s group managing director Rod Street, but officials representing the other two big racecourse-owning groups, Arena Leisure and Racecourse Holdings Trust, have voiced concerns over the race programme and prize money levels as well as the bidding process itself.

    Michael Harries, chief executive of the Racehorse Owners’ Association claims that the fixture bidding process will benefit owners in the long run as injecting competition into the fixture list optimises prize money. Competitive bidding for two Monday meetings at Folkestone in 2006, for example, produced unexpectedly high total prize money of £70,000 per day.

    Gold standard for top racecourses

    Gold standards are to be awarded to Britain’s best racecourses by the Racehorse Owners’ Association. The awards will be based on a survey of facilities for owners, horses and stable staff, with an added prize money performance criterion taken from executive and sponsorship contributions.

    The scheme has been launched as an incentive for racecourses to strive for high standards, not just for owners, but also for horses and stable staff. A panel of members of the ROA council will make the awards following extensive surveys and visiting potential candidates. The criteria will be weighted to ensure that big and small racecourses stand an equal chance.

    Trust fund for Chris Kinane

    Three racehorse owners have set up a trust fund to give Ian Williams’s assistant trainer, Chris Kinane, and his family financial support. Kinane suffered serious head injuries when kicked by a horse in the passock at Wolverhampton of 2 April. Since then he has been unable to sit, eat or speak.

    Keith Cosby, Mike Murphy and Cliff Woof have organised the fund. The patrons will be the Duke of Richmond, former trainer Guy Harwood and Ian Williams.

    Kinane is an extremely popular figure among racing professionals and his plight has had a huge impact. He is still in the high dependency ward at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where his wife Tessa, mother of his two daughters, spends most of the day beside his bed.

    Horseandhound.co.uk will publish details of how to make donations as soon as the trust fund has been officially launched.

    A good week for

    Kieren Fallon’s life-long ambition to win the Irish Derby has been fulfilled. On Sunday he landed the Curragh’s biggest Flat race on Hurricane Run close to where he spent his apprenticeship with Kevin Prendergast. Hurricane Run became the eighth French-trained winner of the Irish Derby.

    But a bad week for

    Darryll Holland has lost the ride on Starcraft in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes on Saturday amid disputed claims that he is not 100% fit to ride. Owner Paul Makin claimed his decision was based on the fact that the Eclipse is similar to a world championship race and he has to have a jockey at peak fitness.

    Watch this space

    The Princess Royal will be at Windsor on Monday 11 July for an evening race meeting that will benefit the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, of which she is founder and president. Fund-raising will take place over dinner in the paddock marquee. Last year, the same evening raised £140,000 for the charity and the organising committee is hoping to top that total this time. The evening is assisted by generous sponsors including Unisys, Richmond Foods, the Bank of Scotland, BGC, the GAME Group and HIFX. First race is at 6.35pm.

    And finally…

    A statue of flat race legend Persian Punch will preserve his memory for future generations of race-goers. Persian Punch was the first flat racer to gather as many fans as National Hunt heroes such as Red Rum. The Persian Punch Memorial Fund, which was started with a £10,000 donation from Newmarket racecourse, has awarded the commission to prestigious sculptor Philip Blacker who has also made replicas of Red Rum and Desert Orchid and is currently working on Best Mate. The imitation of Persian Punch will be installed at Newmarket, where Persian Punch won most of his races included his last where applause drowned out the results of the photo finish. It is likely to cost around £100,000.

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