No budge from the handicapper on Tiger Roll weight allocation

The British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper, Martin Greenwood, has reiterated it is the owners’ decision not to run a horse after Tiger Roll was taken out of the Randox Health Grand National at the latest withdrawal stage.

Gigginstown House Stud, which is owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary with his brother Eddie as racing manager, stuck to their guns by removing the dual National hero from the world’s greatest steeplechase.

They said the Gordon Elliott-trained 11-year-old would not take his chance at Aintree next month unless Tiger Roll was rated in the 150s.

Tiger Roll was given a mark of 166, which is 2lb lower than his official mark of 168 when the weights were officially unveiled last month and on Tuesday, Gigginstown confirmed he will not be running due to what they feel is a “patently unfair” rating.

“Mr and Mr O’Leary did say if they didn’t get a mark in the 150s they weren’t going to run and they’ve stuck to their words, albeit two weeks later,” said Greenwood.

“It’s entirely their decision. Owners and trainers enter and withdraw horses all the time and this is just another instance.

“They have stuck to that particular hymn sheet for approximately two years now and obviously I’ve stuck to my particular hymn sheet for exactly the same time.

“They are entitled to their opinion and as I said at the weights’ launch, I’m entitled to just carry on as normal.”

Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974 to win back-to-back renewals of the world’s most famous steeplechase when striking gold in 2018 and 2019.

The Corona Virus pandemic robbed connections of the chance to emulate Red Rum by claiming a third National success 12 months ago.

“Obviously potential history could have been made, or joint history I suppose, but that’s racing,” Greenwood said.

“These things happen and will always continue to happen.” 

Friday hearing with IHRB for Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott will face a Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board hearing on Friday in relation to the controversial photograph which emerged in recent days, but his career as a trainer has today been hit with a seismic blow following confirmation that Cheveley Park Stud will move their horses to the yards of trainers Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead. 

The IRHB have moved to convene the hearing of their referrals committee for the end of this week but it is not yet clear when a decision will be announced. 

However, the loss of stable stars Envoi Allen, Sir Gerhard and Quilixios to fellow Irish trainers was announced at lunchtime today.

Cheveley Park confirmed that Envoi Allen, favourite for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, will move to De Bromhead’s yard, along with Quilixios, while Sir Gerhard is heading to a new home with Mullins. 

Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown, have communicated their intention to attend the hearing alongside Elliott, who may see his licence to train suspended or even revoked.

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers has said that Elliott must be “held fully accountable for his actions” and that the photograph of the trainer astride a dead horse showed “a complete and profound error of judgement.

Chambers told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he was “shocked, appalled and horrified” by the image of Elliot sitting on the body of the gelding Morgan in 2019, calling it “really disturbing from an animal welfare perspective”.

While Elliott has sought to explain his actions by saying he sat down after receiving a phone call, Chambers said that in his opinion “Everything that has been said so far doesn’t explain what everybody saw.”

Chambers noted that an IHRB investigation was ongoing and added: “Consequences are important and he needs to be held fully accountable.

“Everything should be on the table. Ireland has to set a high bar when it comes to animal standards.”

Elliott has two runners at Gowran Park today and, while the British Horseracing Authority have suspended him from racing in Britain pending the outcome of the IHRB investigation, he is free to saddle horses in Ireland.

Former national hunt jockey Paul Carberry told the RTÉ News at One that the photo is “blown out of proportion”. 

He said: “It is sad that the pictures got out. I have ridden for Gordon Elliott for a lot of years, my last few years.

“He does love his horses and it is a pity what it happening. I think it is blown out of proportion a bit now. It is very sad what has come out of it, but I don’t think he meant it at the time. It’s one of these silly little mistakes that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

“It is very sad for him because he is a good man and he has a lot of staff there to think about as well.”

Asked whether the photo of Elliott on a dead horse showed an unknown side of the horse industry, Carberry said: “No, that doesn’t really happen that often. Everyone knows how much that everybody cares for their horses and that is one thing they do, they do respect the horses.”

RTÉ racing analyst Jane Mangan said that such a high-profile trainer being pictured in this manner had damaged racing’s reputation.

“Our industry is built on a respect and a love for the animal,” she told RTÉ Sport. 

“This horse deserved his dignity and that was stripped of him in this image. It was an indefensible act and I think Gordon Elliott has admitted that.

“It is not only destroying his own reputation but what infuriates me is that it brings into jeopardy the integrity of the industry, the sport that employs so many people in Ireland.

“It does not fairly reflect how these majestic animals are cared for throughout the country. So many people in Gordon Elliott’s yard care for these horses so brilliantly and this image undermines all of that.

“If ever an image has spoken a thousand words it’s this one.”

Mangan added that Elliott wouldn’t have enjoyed the success he has had if he hadn’t treated his horses well and that the image instead reflected “an idiotic moment he is going to regret for the rest of his life”.

“They could have at least waited until the IHRB had concluded their investigation, which I imagine will happen in the coming days”

Elliott could be banned from Cheltenham in two weeks after the British Horseracing Authority announced a provisional suspension pending the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s hearing outcome on Friday.

“To my mind, this interim ban suggest they (the BHA) are not happy that the IHRB permitted Gordon Elliott to have runners at Punchestown yesterday,” said Mangan.

“He has three at Gowran Park today.

“He has no horses entered (in the UK) in the coming days (so) I didn’t think there was any need for the BHA to step in. It isn’t in their jurisdiction. They could have at least waited until the IHRB had concluded their investigation, which I imagine will happen in the coming days.

“I think it was a little bit inappropriate and certainly undermines the work of the IHRB.”

Pierre-Charles Boudot wins on Order Of Australia for O’Brien

The Aussies may have been singing “Waltzing Matilda” but it was Pierre-Charles Boudot that was waltzing home on Order Of Australia making it a one-two-three for Aidan O’Brien in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

He only got into the race after One Master was scratched on Thursday and the three-year-old was sent off a 73-1 outsider, (finished 40/1 with bookmakers). Getting in as a reserve could well have been looked at as, ‘mysterious’ because Boudot himself only got the ride when Christophe Soumillion tested positive for Covid-19 and then completed an unlikely double after he also replaced Ioritz Mendizabal on Audarya in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Winning only two of his previous seven races, Order Of Australia had fallen short in two previous attempts at the top level but he came good when it mattered at Keeneland.

Halladay made most of the running until they turned into the home straight, when Boudot, under a confident ride, swept past on the outside with Order Of Australia to take the honours.

The son of Australia kept on to hold his stablemates Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez, giving Ballydoyle a remarkable clean sweep.

The 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, had every chance with Oisin Murphy but finished out of the places, as did Irish Guineas winner Siskin for Ger Lyons.

Earlier, the Kevin Ryan trained Glass Slippers, gave Europe a first ever victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2019 and just touched off from a poor draw in last month’s renewal, the four-year-old filly showed just how much she thrives in the latter part of the campaign with a dramatic success.

Glass Slippers was not the best out of the gates and Tom Eaves was happy to place her towards the rear of the field, but near the rail.

Up front, Bombard and Into Mystic shared the early pace with Wildman Jack, Texas Wedge and Leinster joining in as the runners approached the top of the stretch.

At that point, Eaves started to make his move on Glass Slippers, who was helped when a gap appeared as the early trail-blazers started to go back. Glass Slippers responded in game fashion and galloped on strongly all the way to the line, scoring by half a length from Wet Your Whistle with Leinster third.

Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe struck with his first runner in the Breeders’ Cup when Audarya came with a late run to claim the Filly & Mare Turf. The four-year-old had stepped up to the mark at the top level with victory in the Prix Jean Romanet and third place in the Prix de l’Opera on her opening two attempts, and did so again with a determined effort.

She was ridden for the first time by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who Fanshawe called in as a late substitute for Ioritz Mendizabal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Shane Foley rushed up the Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper from her wide draw to lead by the first turn, with the main American hopefuls Mean Mary and Rushing Fall close by.

They looked like fighting out the finish once Cayenne Pepper had weakened by the home turn – but Boudot and Audarya had other ideas. She hit the front in the final furlong and battled on gamely to score by a neck from Rushing Fall, with Harvey’s Lil Goil half a length away in third place.

Tarnawa hoping for victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for Weld

Depending on race times, at approximately nine forty five tonight, we should know if the European challenge has succeeded at the Breeders’ Cup Turf in Keeneland, Kentucky. It has been said that the European horses are much better on the Turf. Maybe so, but a feature race tonight at 9.33 is made up of horses where half the field is from European yards and the three market principals are trained in Ireland.

Aidan O’Brien is represented by Magical (9/4) and Mogul (X/30) as he bids for a seventh win in the mile and a half event.

Ryan Moore partners Magical as the mare steps up in trip after her third-place finish in the Champion Stakes on her most recent outing. Her best form may have come over shorter trips than the one she tackles here, but this daughter of Galileo does boast Group One-winning form against her own sex over 12 furlongs.

Magical’s most recent run over the distance came in last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where her fifth-place finish behind Waldgeist reads quite well considering that she kept up with the hot early pace, and then was only just touched off by Enable in the 2018 running of this race at Churchill Downs.

The fact that this is a tight track and the ground currently riding good, it may be run to suit as they could go a nice even gallop. Mogul comes into the reckoning too, as does Tarnawa for the powerful Dermot Weld yard where Mogul claimed the first Group One of his career in the Grand Prix de Paris last time out. He’s long been highly regarded at Ballydoyle, but his Longchamp victory was the first time he lived up to his reputation during his Classic campaign, and there’s also a suspicion that he was slightly flattered by the visual impression he made that day in the French capital.

Pierre-Charles Boudot’s decision to allow his mount to sit well off the blistering fractions set by the trailblazers reaped major dividends late on and it’s worth noting that his three nearest pursuers at the line were all returning from lengthy absences and lacking race-fitness.

Mogul will relish this fast surface, but he might also need a fast pace to be seen at his very best.

After weighing up all the facts for this race, Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa (7/2) looks like a sound option having really improved this year.

She made a belated winning return to the track in August before capturing the Group One Prix Vermeille in stunning style. Not entered in the Arc, Tarnawa dropped down in distance and followed up in the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp’s flagship meeting.

Sectional times from those two victories confirm that the daughter of Sharmadal, possesses a remarkable turn of foot. That’s the main weapon in her armory, and it’s one that decides races everywhere, but particularly US turf races.

Christophe Soumillon has quickly developed a formidable relationship with this mare. His coronavirus-enforced absence has to be regarded as a negative, but deputy Colin Keane will be aware of her running style and the need for a patient waiting ride before delivering that finishing effort.

The remainder of the European team is rounded off by the John Gosden-trained duo of Lord North (9/1) and Mehdaayih (20/1), and German raider Donjah. Mehdaayih is the outsider of the Gosden runners, but has stamina in her locker, something that her stablemate may not. She also arrives here fresh after an interrupted campaign, unlike a number of her rivals.

So, what about the home challenge? Does there appear to be something coming from the American ranks? If there is to be an American fly in the ointment for the European contingent, it may just come in the form of the quirky Channel Maker. He races with a rather ungainly high head carriage and he’s capable of throwing in a few clunkers, but on his day the six-year-old gelding is an impressive performer.

Channel Maker does seem a need-to-lead sort and one who would prefer a little more give in the ground, but while the going may be against him, he might just benefit from a pace scenario which grants him an uncontested advantage early on. It sets us up for an excellent race and good luck to all the entries.

Magical and Ryan Moore ready for the Breeders’ Cup

Biden or Trump? The eyes of the world is currently watching with anticipation to see who will become the next President of the United States of America. With all the talk centered on the election results, people will need to cast their eyes on a place called Keeneland in Kentucky, because over the next couple of days, the stars of British and Irish racing, are already there, hoping for glory.

The Wizard is represented in the shape of Aidan O’Brien who hope that his magic will work on Magical who will hope to cast a spell coming from stall two while his stablemate, Mogul, will be the widest of all on Saturday in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf event.

Both Ryan Moore and Pierre-Charles Boudot respectively, will be trying to give trainer Aidan O’Brien a seventh success in the 12-furlong heat, which also features Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa, who will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

The Maestro will also be there to entertain as the John Gosden/ Frankie Dettori-ridden Lord North (six) and Mehdaayih, will exit from stall four for Joel Rosario.

In the Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Mile, Oisin Murphy will partner Kameko, the 2000 Guineas winner trained by Andrew Balding, when he leaves stall two. Around him will be familiar entries too as

O’Brien’s Circus Maximus (one) and the Ger Lyons-trained Siskin (four), while Lope Y Fernandez (three), Safe Voyage (six) and One Master (nine) complete the British and Irish challenge. Surely with such a powerful presence from the British and Irish camps, victory in the race can be claimed?

Last year’s winner Uni is drawn 12th of the 14 runners for Chad Brown.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper will be drawn 14 of 14 runners in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which also features O’Brien’s Peaceful (three), Terrebellum (seven) from the Gosden yard and James Fanshawe’s Audarya (11).

Glass Slippers is in stall six for Kevin Ryan in the Turf Sprint, with Charlie Hills’ Equilateral is among the reserves for the six-furlong contest. But Bob Baffert may hold the key to the Classic with three-times Group One winner Improbable, Kentucky Derby victor Authentic and Maximum Security. The trio were all drawn next to each other in the ten-furlong feature, taking stalls eight, nine and ten respectively.

Baffert said: “That was crazy. I got here just before the draw and I saw Authentic in the nine. And they’re going to be easy to watch.

“It’s not like the Sprint and they have a long run to the turn. They have to break well. Improbable, he needs to break well.”

Tiz The Law will be in stall two and Toms D’Etat (four) is another leading contender.

Monomoy Girl (ten) and Swiss Skydiver (five) face off against each other in the Distaff in what is one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes.

Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness on her most recent start for Kenny McPeek, while Monomoy Girl won this race in 2018 but could not defend her title last year after suffering a bout of colic.

Trainer Brad Cox is unconcerned by her draw in the widest stall of all, adding: “She was 11 of 11 in the Breeders’ Cup in 2018. She was 14 of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. I love it.”

The Wizard will be hoping to perform magic

Biden or Trump? The eyes of the world is currently watching with anticipation to see who will become the next President of the United States of America. With all the talk centered on the election results, people will need to cast their eyes on a place called Keeneland in Kentucky, because over the next couple of days, the stars of British and Irish racing, are already there, hoping for glory.

The Wizard is represented in the shape of Aidan O’Brien who hope that his magic will work on Magical who will hope to cast a spell coming from stall two while his stablemate, Mogul, will be the widest of all on Saturday in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf event.

Both Ryan Moore and Pierre-Charles Boudot respectively, will be trying to give trainer Aidan O’Brien a seventh success in the 12-furlong heat, which also features Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa, who will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

The Maestro will also be there to entertain as the John Gosden/ Frankie Dettori-ridden Lord North (six) and Mehdaayih, will exit from stall four for Joel Rosario.

In the Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Mile, Oisin Murphy will partner Kameko, the 2000 Guineas winner trained by Andrew Balding, when he leaves stall two. Around him will be familiar entries too as

O’Brien’s Circus Maximus (one) and the Ger Lyons-trained Siskin (four), while Lope Y Fernandez (three), Safe Voyage (six) and One Master (nine) complete the British and Irish challenge. Surely with such a powerful presence from the British and Irish camps, victory in the race can be claimed?

Last year’s winner Uni is drawn 12th of the 14 runners for Chad Brown.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper will be drawn 14 of 14 runners in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which also features O’Brien’s Peaceful (three), Terrebellum (seven) from the Gosden yard and James Fanshawe’s Audarya (11).

Glass Slippers is in stall six for Kevin Ryan in the Turf Sprint, with Charlie Hills’ Equilateral is among the reserves for the six-furlong contest. But Bob Baffert may hold the key to the Classic with three-times Group One winner Improbable, Kentucky Derby victor Authentic and Maximum Security. The trio were all drawn next to each other in the ten-furlong feature, taking stalls eight, nine and ten respectively.

Baffert said: “That was crazy. I got here just before the draw and I saw Authentic in the nine. And they’re going to be easy to watch.

“It’s not like the Sprint and they have a long run to the turn. They have to break well. Improbable, he needs to break well.”

Tiz The Law will be in stall two and Toms D’Etat (four) is another leading contender.

Monomoy Girl (ten) and Swiss Skydiver (five) face off against each other in the Distaff in what is one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes.

Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness on her most recent start for Kenny McPeek, while Monomoy Girl won this race in 2018 but could not defend her title last year after suffering a bout of colic.

Trainer Brad Cox is unconcerned by her draw in the widest stall of all, adding: “She was 11 of 11 in the Breeders’ Cup in 2018. She was 14 of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. I love it.”

The curtain comes down on the training career of the maestro John Oxx

The curtain will come down on the training career of John Oxx at the Curragh on Monday as he looks forward to the next chapter in his life.

The Currabeg trainer announced last month that he was retiring, bringing to an end a glittering training career spanning over four decades.

Saddling Storm Legend to win at Naas on Sunday, Oxx sent three horses to The Curragh to contest the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund (C & G) Maiden.

It was almost a fairytale ending for John Oxx, when Earlswood was only beaten less than a length into third place, after which Oxx said: “Those are my last runners and they all ran well.

“I thought the horse in third was coming to win, but he just got a bit tired. They are three nice horses and hopefully we hear more of them next year.

“The horse that won yesterday is going to Fozzy Stack and he’ll have a bit of fun with him. He could go for a Guineas trial.”

“The more we think about it, the happier we are. What’s the point in going on forever at it?”

The lasting memory of John Oxx as a trainer will of course be the brilliant Sea The Stars, who won six Group Ones in the space of six months in 2009, including the 2000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

He also trained other greats such as Sinndar, who won the Derby, the Irish Derby and the Arc in 2000, and Alamshar, who landed the Irish Derby and the King George three years later.

“The die is cast now and we’re looking forward to retirement. We’ve been very lucky, we’ve had a great run and have no complaints. We’re happy with the way life turned out,” Oxx added.

“There comes a time when it’s the right time to stop, and we’ve been thinking about it for a few years, as you have to have a viable business and there is no point going on when you don’t.

“The more we think about it, the happier we are. What’s the point in going on forever at it?

“I’ll still go racing as I’d miss the people and the chatting. That’s really what it’s all about, the communication with people. I’d miss that if I became a recluse.”

O’Brien ready for the Melbourne Cup

The Emirates Melbourne Cup will take place in the early hours of Tuesday morning and Aidan O’Brien will be hoping that Anthony Van Dyck or Tiger Moth can help him claim victory for the first time at Flemmington.

The closest he has come to winning it was in 2017 when Johannes Vermeer was beaten half a length by Rekindling, trained by his son Joseph.

Anthony Van Dyck won last year’s Derby at Epsom in a blanket finish and his first race since was in September in the Prix Foy, when he won and then was second in the Caulfield Cup, while Tiger Moth has had just four runs in his life but he was second in the Irish Derby in June.

O’Brien said “They are two very nice horses we sent this year – a Derby winner and an Irish Derby runner-up,”

“We were very happy with Anthony Van Dyck’s run in the Caulfield Cup.

“The lads who are over there with him, and Shane who rides him out, are all very happy with him. Hugh (Bowman) has sat on him a few times and has been very happy with him.

“Tiger Moth obviously hasn’t run over there but he ran an excellent race in the Irish Derby and won well the race before he left to go to Australia.

“There wasn’t really any other race he could run in, and he was just getting in the Melbourne Cup with a nice weight, so we decided not to run him (beforehand).

“They’ve been very happy since he’s been down there – everything is very good with him, and I suppose there’s just another canter to go. I’m hoping they both run well.”

Unfortunately due to the pandemic restrictions, none of the regular jockey’s travelled over.

Instead he has employed two of the best Australia has ever seen in Bowman, known for his association with Winx, and Kerrin McEvoy, familiar to an Irish audience thanks to his ties with Godolphin.

O’Brien added “We’ve got one drawn inside (Anthony Van Dyck in three) and one on the outside (Tiger Moth 23) – so who knows, we’ll see how that plays out,”

“I’ll be speaking to both Hugh and Kerrin before the race, and see what the lads think.

“I’m delighted to have the two of them – they are two great riders with great experience.”

When he was asked about his preparations for the race this year, he said: “I’m not sure. I’ve obviously never won it, but we’ve taken some very good horses out.

“These are two high-class colts who get a mile and a half well, so we’ll see how they do. It’s always a great race – different this year with no crowd I’m sure, but exciting all the same.

Joseph O’Brien runs Master Of Reality, fourth last year, and Twilight Payment – while Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby and Willie Mullins’ Stratum Albion (known at home as Stratum) complete the Irish and British challenge.

Sir Dragonet, formerly housed at Ballydoyle and winner of the Cox Plate, is the shortest-priced of the home contenders.