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Racing week: Sheikh Mohammed’s $9.7m spending spree


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  • Sheikh Mohammed outfought the Coolmore operation to pay $9.7million for a colt by Storm Cat at the Keeneland Sale in Kentucky earlier this week. Storm Cat is one of the world’s highest-priced stallions, commanding a fee of $500,000.

    This marks the third-highest price paid for a yearling at auction. In 1985 $13.1 million was paid for Seattle Dancer and in 1983 $10.2 million was paid for Snaafi Dancer. Both horses failed miserably to live up to their price tags so no doubt Sheikh Mohammed will be hoping his new acquisition will fare better.

    A narrow miss

    A head-on collision was narrowly avoided at Pontefract this week. As the 5-4 favourite Signatory and Sasso were battling out the finish of the Renault Clio Maiden Stakes, a riderless horse galloped towards them.

    Barabinka had unseated jockey Jose de Souza soon after the start of the 10-furlong contest. He set off the reverse way round the course, passing the winning post and carrying on towards the runners as they entered the final furlong.

    Having unseated his jockey on two previous occasions, when Barabinka brushed past Signatory, and paid no regard to the rest of the field, the stewards decided enough was enough and reported him to the Jockey Club.

    Hurricane on track for Arc

    Hurricane Run, favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, will be “a different horse” by next month, said Kieren Fallon.

    The Andre Fabre-trained son of Montjeu was unimpressive when taking the Prix Niel over the big-race course and distance at Longchamp in his first race since winning the Irish Derby in June. Fallon put Hurricane Run’s latest form down to immaturity, claiming his best would follow next year.

    Hurricane, owned by Michael Tabor and Coolmore, is favourite at around 11-4 for the Arc on 2 October.

    Motivator to retire to stud

    The derby-winning colt Motivator is to retire to stud at the end of the season. He will run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Belmont before leaving the racetrack behind. The son of Montjeu is expected to be an extremely popular first-season sire for 2006 and will stand at the Royal Studs alongside Royal Applause.

    Former racehorse owner in court

    Former racehorse owner Graham Price appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of stealing more than £5 million.

    Price, who part owned 11 horses, disappeared last year when Halifax discovered a ‘black hole’ in its accounts. Price acted as a local agent for the Halifax since 1996 through his Swansea based estate agency. Last November he suddenly quit the agency leaving a note that read “I’ve gone”.

    He appeared before Swansea magistrates charged with stealing £4.32m from the Halifax in the space of a nine-day period last summer. He also faces other charges of theft totalling £794,000 and 14 charges of dishonesty.

    And finally…

    A life-size bronze of Persian Punch will be unveiled in a special ceremony on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket on Champions’ Day, 15 October. Crafted by Philip Blacker, the statue commemorates the celebrated sprinter who won more races at the course than at any other venue. The statue will be placed near the old winners’ enclosure where Persian Punch enjoyed his final moment of glory, winning his third Jockey Club Cup on Champions’ Day two years ago.

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