Racing week: Spotlight on minimum weights

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  • The jockey club chief medical advisor Dr. Michael Turner has accused the BHB of delaying a Flat weights rise.

    Turner hit out at the bureaucracy he believes is slowing down important decisions. His attack followed Ireland’s announcement that minimum weight is to be raised by 4lb on health and safety grounds from 26 March.

    In October 2004 Turner recommended that weights should rise from the current minimum of 7st 12lb to reflect the growing size of the population. The latest news from Ireland, in his opinion, highlights the BHB’s lack of progress.

    Henderson mounts two-pronged attack

    Trainer Nicky Henderson, who since 1998 has held the Totesport Trophy four times, is looking to mount a two-pronged attack on next month’s Newbury contest with Grand Jete and Perle De Puce.

    The trainer’s laurels are resting on the much-travelled Grand Jete, part-owned by golfer Lee Westwood and currently 14-1 with the sponsors, and the talented but idiosyncratic Perle De Puce.

    Perle De Puce has been a little accident-prone since embarking on a novice chase campaign and is returning to hurdling at Southwell on Saturday.

    Admitting that both his other entries Fleet Street and Papini will not be targeted at the race, Henderson is optimistic that both Grand Jete and Perle De Puce will have a chance at Newbury.

    A foal for Never Say Die Club

    Never Say Die Club mare Marciala has given birth to the club’s first foal of the year. A good looking bay filly by Sakhee was born at 10pm last Sunday.

    The club was launched last year to provide a stepping stone for those wishing to become more closely involved with racing. In addition to the three mares, the club also owns two fillies which will be in training in 2006.

    The new filly is Marciala’s second foal. Last year she produced a very attractive bay colt by Montjeu. The club owns two further broodmares: Blushing Queen who is in foal to Derby and dual Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, High Chaparral, and should foal in early February; and Least Said who is in foal to Zamindar. Least Said’s foal is due at the end of March. The stud said it expects in excess of 100 foals to be born on the premises this year.

    Golden Snake to remain in Australia

    National Stud stallion Golden Snake is to stay in Australia until 2007. The stallion was expected to travel to Greentree Stud in Ireland for the Northern Hemisphere Season but has sustained an injury while on Southern Hemisphere duty in Australia and is not fit to travel.

    Connections are confident he will be fit to resume stallion duties in Australia this autumn and will return to Greentree Stud at the beginning of next year.

    Andrew Parrish, Chairman of The National Stud, commented “We are most disappointed that Golden Snake cannot stand in Ireland this year, as he was already proving popular with Irish breeders in his first year based outside Newmarket.”

    Clan Royal still National favourite

    Clan Royal has retained his position at the top of the Grand National market after finishing third at Warwick on Thursday. Runner-up to Amberleigh House in the 2004 National, Clan Royal improved stylishly on to the leaders before staying on at a constant pace. The performance delighted connections who are now satisfied the gelding is capable of a claiming this year’s National.

    Marston to make his return

    Warren Marston hopes to return to racing within the next 10 days after sustaining a broken left ankle in a fall at Wetherby on 5 January. Marston, who has ridden 14 winners this season and 50 last season, had his plaster removed earlier this week and has been visiting the gym. The jockey will put his ankle to the test when he rides out for Richard Phillips or David Wintle in 10 days time.

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