Actualités Internationales

Walter ‘Choirboy’ Swinburn, who rode Shergar into Derby history, dies at 55

At the age of 19, Swinburn rode Shergar to 10-length Epsom win
It’s absolutely shocking he should die aged 55, says John Francome

Walter Swinburn, who rode Shergar to a record-breaking 10-length success in the Derby in 1981 when he was just 19 years old, has died at the age of 55.

Swinburn was recognised as one of the finest and most stylish jockeys of his generation, and rode with a confidence born of a rich natural talent. He rode his first winner – Paddy’s Luck – at Kempton Park in July 1978, and secured his place in turf history less than three years later aboard Sir Michael Stoute’s Shergar.

Stoute might easily have looked for a replacement for Swinburn at Epsom due to his relative inexperience: Shergar was the jockey’s first ride in the Classic. But he kept faith with the fresh-faced teenager, widely known by the nickname of “the Choirboy”, following an emphatic success for horse and rider in the Chester Vase.

Shergar dismissed his field with similar ease at Epsom, turning for home around Tattenham Corner with a clear lead and drawing further away from his pursuers for much of the straight until Swinburn started to ease him down approaching the line. The jockey was suspended for the Irish Derby, when Lester Piggott replaced him in the saddle and recorded another impressive success, but Swinburn was back aboard when the brilliant three-year-old followed up in the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Swinburn was on the best horse by far in the 1981 Derby, but almost certainly on the second-best runner in the Classic five years later when his well-judged ride on Shahrastani denied the fast-finishing Dancing Brave, who had turned for home with many lengths to make up. He rode the third and final Derby winner of his career aboard Lammtarra in 1995, dedicating the success to the memory of Alex Scott, the colt’s first trainer, who had been murdered nine months earlier.

Swinburn was beaten aboard Shergar in the 1981 St Leger, after which the colt was retired to stud, but won all four of Britain’s other Classic events at least once. He was also successful in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1983 aboard All Along, and in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Turf on Stoute’s Pilsudski.

Swinburn struggled with his weight from an early stage of his riding career, and suffered life-threatening injuries when he was thrown into a running rail at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong in 1996. He was in a coma for four days afterwards, and his injuries included a punctured lung.

He retired from race-riding in 2000 because of weight issues and embarked on a new career as a trainer, saddling horses mainly for his father-in-law, Peter Harris. He saddled more than 250 winners, including Julienas in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in 2011, but decided to relinquish his licence later the same year having been advised that his training operation “was not viable at the moment”.

Swinburn also worked as a pundit on the Channel 4 Racing team, and wrote a newspaper column. “I spoke to him a couple of months ago and he seemed in really good form,” John Francome, who worked with Swinburn on Channel 4, said on Monday evening. “It’s absolutely shocking he should die aged 55. No age at all. He was an absolutely gifted rider, you never saw any horse pulling with him or having their head in the air. He was a little bit of a troubled soul in some ways, he had weight problems which probably affected him a lot more than other people, but that said that seemed to be a long time ago and he seemed to all intents and purposes fine, but obviously he wasn’t. He could ride a race, he had a really good feel for what was going on underneath him. He must have been a fantastic jockey to have riding for you.”

James Fanshawe, the Newmarket trainer who was an assistant to Stoute while Swinburn was the stable jockey, said on Monday that he had been a “brilliant” jockey, and that his successful association with the headstrong miler Zilzal highlighted Swinburn’s sympathy for his mounts. “Not many people could have ridden Zilzal,” Fanshawe said. “He was a brilliant horse, but had a fiery nature. Walter was brilliant on those sort of horses. His big-race record would stand comparison to anyone.”

 

Courtesy : The Guardian

Australia’s Hugh Bowman wins Longines International Jockeys’ Championship 2016 at Happy Valley

Australia’s Hugh Bowman put the seal on a spectacular 2016 by winning the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship on Wednesday night at Happy Valley racecourse, Hong Kong.

In what proved to be a tense battle between twelve of the world’s best jockeys who were each representing their country or region, Bowman denied Ryan Moore a third title in thrilling fashion.

The Longines International Jockeys’ Championship was contested over four races of from the nine race card at Happy Valley, with 12 points awarded to the jockey for a win, six points for a second place, and four points for a third place.

Bowman claimed the 2016 title with a total of 18 points, four ahead of Moore with 14 points, with Mirco Demuro and Keita Tosaki, finishing equal third with 12 points.

Bowman started by winning the opening leg – race 4 – on Premiere by a length and a half from for trainer John Size, who played his part by providing two of the four wins. Secret Agent came in second and Powermax in third.

The second leg went to script when Moore rode Giant Turtle to victory by a length and three-quarters for Tony Millard. Moore never really looked like losing on the favourite for what was his best ride of the night, coming in ahead of Casa Master and Good Choice

Those victories quickly narrowed the competition down to a three-way contest between Bowman, Moore and USA-based jockey Florent Geroux, who had second-place points behind Premiere and his best rides still to come.

Bowman looked ready to claim the series title with a race to spare in leg 3 and race 7 when he raced to what looked an unassailable lead on David Ferraris-trained Kiram.

However Italian rider Mirco Demuro lifted the Peter Ho-trained Mutual Joy from an impossible position halfway up the straight before snatching victory on the line by a short head from Kiram. Moore for his part dead-heated on Midnite Promise for third along with Geroux on Works of Art to keep the series open.

The final leg proved to be something of an anti-climax. After 2015 series winner Gavin Lerena finished without a mount when the vets took Nitro Express out at the start, Japan’s Keita Tosaki took the spoils on Size-trained outsider Big Bang Bong, with both Bowman and Moore unplaced and without points.

It meant the series had been decided in favour of Bowman by a combination of two minor photo finishes. The first with Moore’s dead-heat for third in the third leg and sharing the four points for the minor place, and then the camera shot in the eighth race to decide whether he had run third or what was finally adjudged as fourth.

The jockeys’ talent will be celebrated again later this week with the Longines World’s Best Jockey Award ceremony, held during the annual Gala dinner of the Longines Hong Kong International Races, on Friday 9 December. This joint initiative from Longines and the IFHA honours the jockey who has scored the most points throughout the year in the 100 highest-rated Group One and Grade One races staged between 1 December 2015 to 30 November 2016.

 

Courtesy : Eurosport

Moore dominates rivals to win Best Jockey award

RYAN MOORE has been crowned 2016 Longines World's Best Jockey for the second time in three years after winning eight of the top 100 highest-rated Group and Grade 1 races worldwide, as established by the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings Committee.

Previously winning the award in 2014, Moore blew away his rivals to record his second success in the competition with a total of 166 points accumulated from his eight victories and 13 places, with his nearest rival, Christophe Soumillon, filling the runner-up berth on 98 points.

Frankie Dettori, Andrea Atzeni and William Buick also finished in the top ten - ending up in fifth, eighth and tenth respectively.

Points were awarded from December 1, 2015, until November 30, 2016, with 12 points for a victory, six for placing second and four for finishing third.

Moore started the year strongly with victories in both the Longines Hong Kong Vase, where he rode Highland Reel for trainer Aidan O'Brien to a length-and-a-half success, and the Longines Hong Kong Mile on Maurice, who helped the rider gain further points when landing the Tenno Sho at Tokyo in October.

Other notable success included a successful trip to Meydan that resulted in Reel Steel winning the Dubai Turf on World Cup night; Found's impressive Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victory that led home a 1-2-3 for Aidan O'Brien and Minding holding on close to home in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Moore will receive the award at a ceremony held during the gala dinner of the Longines Hong Kong International Races on December 9 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

 

Courtesy : Racing Post

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - La surprise Found

La jument irlandaise Found, montée par le Britannique Ryan-Lee Moore, a réalisé un véritable exploit en remportant le Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe dimanche dans un hippodrome de Chantilly. Le podium, 100% irlandais, est historique.

C'est un jour de gloire pour l'Irlande qui place 3 chevaux sur le podium de la plus grande course du monde puisque Postponed est 2e devant Order of St George monté par Francky Dettori. Ces 3 chevaux sont entraînés par l'Irlandais Aidan O'Brien. La facilité avec laquelle Found s'est imposée était telle que la monture de Ryan Lee Moore a même établi un nouveau record du parcours de Chantilly en avalant les 2400m en 2 minutes 23 secondes et 61 secondes (le précédent temps de référence était de 2'24''1). Le favori britannique Postponed, monté par l'Italien Andréa Atzeni, a fini 5e.

Une fois de plus, le Japon passe à côté de ses rêves de gloire dans cette course mythique qui lui échappe depuis plus de 10 ans. Makahiki et Christophe Patrice Lemaire n'ont pas été en mesure de rivaliser avec les meilleurs chevaux aujourd'hui, créant une immense frustration dans les rangs fournis de supporters japonais dépités.

 

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France’s Arc hopes dealt a blow by injury to La Cressonniere

La Cressonniere, who had been France’s best hope of a home victory in next Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, will miss the race. The unbeaten winner of the French Oaks was found to have a minor injury after exercise on Saturday and will be treated with anti-inflammatories which will not clear the filly’s system in time for her to take part.

“There is a problem, not a very strong problem but we had to do treatment and that means we cannot run her on Sunday,” said her trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, who is based in Pau. “It’s not very important for the future but enough for her not to run on Sunday.

“We don’t know exactly what it is,” added Rouget, who suggested the problem may originate in the filly’s pelvis or vertebrae. But he expects her to recover in time to play a full part in the 2017 season.

La Cressonniere had been 5-1 second-favourite to give Rouget a first victory in the Arc. He immediately quashed speculation that Almanzor, who is in the same ownership, might take her place in the Chantilly contest, saying: “Almanzor will not run. He will go to Ascot.”

Even so Almanzor shortened to 15-1 for the Arc on the Betfair betting exchange. The winner of the French Derby and a hotly contested Irish Champion Stakes, he had been trading above 40-1 prior to the news about his stablemate. His Ascot target is the Champion Stakes on 15 October, for which he is 5-2 favourite.

Postponed shortened to 2-1 from 11-4 for the Arc after La Cressonniere was ruled out. The five-year-old was reported in good health by his Newmarket trainer, Roger Varian, who was pleased by his final bit of fast work on Saturday.

“He went well over nine furlongs and Andrea [Atzeni] was very happy with him,” Varian said. “He’ll do routine exercise every day and he might have a blow before the race but the bulk of his main work is done now and hopefully we’ll get a smooth run from here.

“It’s a relief to get to this stage, obviously. You can’t go into these races undercooked, so a certain amount of tough work is required and unfortunately it can be in those tough bits of work that things can go wrong or problems can be revealed.”

A final bit of work on Tuesday morning will determine whether the Derby winner, Harzand, takes part in the Arc. The colt was injured when a rival struck into him in the Irish Champion this month and his trainer, Dermot Weld, hopes to see confirmation that the horse has recovered and is fit enough to take his chance in Europe’s most prestigious Flat race.

Weld has another possible runner in Fascinating Rock, the winner of last year’s Champion Stakes at Ascot, whose target will also be determined on Tuesday. “Harzand will do a bit of work on Tuesday, as will Fascinating Rock, and we’ll make a decision after that,” the Curragh trainer said. He added that Harzand would “most likely” take part in the Arc, having appeared to make a good recovery from the incident just over a fortnight ago.

“He had a V-shaped cut in a back leg and initially we thought he’d need three stitches but we got away without it,” Weld said. “There was a lot of bruising but he’s healed well; he shows good healing, this horse. We’ve got the bruising under control and he’s back in full swing.”

Pressed as to whether the horse could be close to his peak fitness after such a preparation, Weld said: “Time reveals all. Look, it was a hold-up. We’d rather he hadn’t had it but he’s back in full swing now.”

Harzand has already shown remarkable powers of recovery, having spent the morning of the Derby with one foot in a bucket of ice, the consequence of pulling a shoe off during the journey to Epsom. He won again in the Irish Derby later in June but was having his first run since when injured in the Leopardstown race, finishing eighth of 12.

Fascinating Rock was also beaten in his reappearance race after a midsummer break, finishing strongly but too late to catch Success Days at The Curragh in August. Having missed the Irish Champion because his blood was not quite right in the last few days beforehand, he could go to the Arc or back to Ascot a fortnight later.

Weld pointed out that the five-year-old has won over the Arc’s mile and a half but conceded that the shorter distance of the Champion Stakes is a better fit for the horse. “His best trip would appear to be 10 furlongs, I think we have to accept that. But he’ll do a little bit of work on Tuesday and we’ll make a call then.” He has not decided who would ride in the event of Fascinating Rock lining up at Chantilly.

Harzand is a 10-1 shot to give the 68-year-old Weld his first win in the Arc, while Fascinating Rock is generally on offer at 25-1.

While Postponed has proved versatile as to ground, the early signs are that Harzand and Fascinating Rock may not get the cut underfoot at Chantilly that suits them best. “I’ll be surprised if they’re not racing on something close to good,” Varian said.

“It was good for Trials Day [a fortnight ago] and it’s been largely dry since. They’re due a bit of rain today and it’ll be dry thereafter, cooler temperatures but not cold.

“Of course, there have been a handful of times this year when we’ve had that kind of forecast and then the complexion has changed completely by the time the weekend comes around.”

Aidan O’Brien clarified his Arc plans, suggesting that the star filly Minding would skip the French race in favour of Champions Day at Ascot, where she has three possible targets. O’Brien expects to rely on three others in the Arc: Order Of St George, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, Highland Reel, whose year peaked with victory in the King George, and Found, who has been second in her last five races, including in the Irish Champion.

O’Brien presumably has alternative plans for Seventh Heaven, Idaho and US Army Ranger, who all feature in betting lists for the Arc.

 

Courtesy : The Guardian

Frankie Dettori reaches 3,000 winners on Predilection at Newmarket

Ever the showman, Frankie Dettori contrived to ride his 3,000th winner in Britain when this rural track was, most unusually, packed out with a crowd of more than 20,000. They had come, in the main, for a post-racing concert by Jess Glynne, described as a “pop sensation” in the racecard, but it was the riding sensation who got the biggest cheer of the night, reaching his landmark in the final race, shortly before Glynne took the stage.

Dettori came here needing two winners from just three rides and his chance seemed to have gone when the only fancied one, Blue Geranium, ran deplorably, being beaten 25 lengths after starting favourite. But reverses like that just slide off the Italian when his confidence is high and, although he was not on the best horse in either of his other races, he won both by being more tactically aware than his rivals.

Faced with small fields and no obvious front-runner, Dettori went straight into the lead in both races and was never headed. Both ended with another jockey bearing down on him at some speed but both times it was he who had judged the pace correctly and the other guy who had left it too late.

It might be 20 years since Dettori was first described as a dangerous man to be getting an unchallenged lead in the early stages of a race. His weighing room colleagues are undoubtedly aware of the fact but it seems there is not always anything they can do about it.

They might have come for the pop but this crowd tuned in very quickly to the momentous occasion unfolding before them, scampering to the winner’s enclosure to greet this high-achieving man, now in his 45th year. When it became clear, in the last 50 yards, that Predilection was going to hold onto his lead and trigger the celebrations, those present roared their approval. Dettori responded with a raised arm that meant his winning margin was just half a length and had evaporated one stride past the line.


Another jockey, faced with the avuncular Derek Thompson, formerly of Channel 4 Racing, might have given a halting interview over the racecourse tannoys, stringing together dutiful thanks to trainers and owners. Dettori, naturally, took the microphone from Thompson and paced the winner’s enclosure as he explained how he felt.

“I’m so proud of everyone for the support and it’s a beautiful touch to do it at Newmarket. I’ve got no more words … ” though of course that wasn’t true.

“I purposely didn’t ride all week because I wanted to do it at Newmarket, this is where I’m from. I came here 30 years ago with a dream. Whoever thought I was going to ride 3,000 winners?

“All my friends are here. It’s not a big meeting, it’s not Royal Ascot, it’s a mundane Friday night with 20,000 people. All my kids are here, I’m emotional.

“It’s a fitting day, to win here and it all came down to the last race, there was a tremendous cheer. It was fabulous, I couldn’t have written it better myself. “

Asked what his next target was, he joked: “3,001 … tomorrow!” Persuaded to give a more serious answer, he nominated the 3,112 career tally notched by Doug Smith, who retired almost half a century ago.

“I’m sixth in the all-time English standings. Doug Smith is a realistic target and if I can be fifth all-time in the 350 years of English racing, it’d be a tremendous achievement for a young fella from Italy.”

He hopes to sustain his career for another five years but concedes that getting to 4,000 winners is “very unlikely”, which is unarguable, considering it has taken him 29 years to get here. Had he maintained the pace of his early career, with more than 200 winners a year, he would long since have passed the career figures set by Lester Piggott and Willie Carson. As it is, he has taken more than a decade longer to reach 3,000 than the jump jockey Sir Anthony McCoy, who had rather more in the way of injuries to contend with.

Dettori’s 3,000th winner was trained, aptly, by John Gosden, the man credited with reviving the jockey’s career two years ago when he had become unfashionable to a degree that is hard, now, to believe. Last year, the pair won the Derby and the Arc together.

“It’s lovely to be here tonight with this huge crowd,” Gosden said. “Just amazing, but would you mind making sure he doesn’t get on stage with Jess. I don’t think she wants him up there … ”

“He’s a fantastic athlete, great horseman, highly intelligent and 99% of the time he behaves himself.

“He’s enjoying it again. He really has the sense of fulfilment again. He went in the wilderness for a bit. As long as he’s happy and well and enjoying it, he’s riding like a young man.”

Courtesy : The Guardian

Solid Gold Lloyd

The Guv is riding better than ever at 54

Jeff loyd received one of his biggest receptions of the season after making his premiership win official aboard Rebel Miss at Doomben on Saturday.

But it wasn’t a delirious group of owners or pocket-filled punters, it was his extended family celebrating his history-making premiership winning feat.

Wife Nicola had made a surprise trip to Doomben with sons Zac and Jaden and a big support party to congratulate the 54-year-old on his premiership win.
“Coming back I was thinking ‘I had no idea this horse had so many owners’. It’s a total surprise and I wasn’t expecting that,” Lloyd said.

The South African jockey completed his fairytale season in fitting style when he rounded off a winning double on Sagaronne in the final event.

“What a way to finish off a great season,” he said.

The only downside was a nine-day suspension handed down by stewards for an infringement in the fifth event.

Lloyd revealed he had thought about the premiership for a long time.

After deciding to come back to riding after a stroke in 2013, he was determined not just to be making up the numbers, given the remarkable career he had enjoyed around the world.

“I wasn’t happy thinking that was the end of my ­career,” he said. “I set myself a challenge to ride at the highest level again and it’s very satisfying to have achieved this.

“Fortunately I haven’t had a problem or injury, which has been great for me.

“I had a look this week to see which trainer I had ridden the most for, but there wasn’t just one. There has been about eight or nine trainers who have given me a lot of support and I am very grateful for that.”

Lloyd becomes the oldest jockey ever to win the Queensland metropolitan title and the man he deposed, Jim Byrne, was full of credit for the achievement.

“If anyone was going to beat me, I’m glad it was Jeff,” Byrne said. “I know how hard he has worked. I’m ticked off I haven’t won, but Jeff is a great guy, a gentleman and it’s well deserved.”

Courtesy: Sporting Post

Frankel filly Fair Eva dazzles in Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot

Fair Eva became the first Group winner to be sired by Frankel, delivering a devastating performance in the Group Three Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The daughter of the equine legend kept her unbeaten record intact under Frankie Dettori by pulling four lengths clear of Kilmah in a time that was just 0.8 seconds outside the course record.

The Roger Charlton-trained filly was the 4-6 favourite on account of her imperious Haydock win working out well with the second, Nations Alexander, and the third, Miss Infinity, subsequently winning.

On a day when Ascot unveiled a plaque in memory of Pat Eddery, Dettori took another step towards joining the late jockey on the milestone of 3,000 winners and celebrated with a flying dismount.

"She's a very, very good filly,” the Italian rider said. "It took her 50 yards to get into top gear, but once she got into top gear at the furlong marker she put four lengths on the field.

"It's only her second run, so she's a work in progress.

"When the penny dropped she was very exciting."

Dettori was cool enough during the early stages of the £50,000 six-furlong event, and Fair Eva had one less to beat from the start after Magical Fire was withdrawn late on.

Dettori was still motionless heading inside the final two furlongs and once asked to put the race to bed the familiar raking stride of her father clicked into gear and the white-faced chestnut skipped away.

Russian Rhythm in 2003 was the last horse to go on from a win here at Ascot to win the 1,000 Guineas and Bet Victor are best at 5-1 about Fair Eva emulating her at Newmarket next May.

Russian Rhythm took in the Lowther Stakes at York, and with Lord Grimthorpe acting as racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah and chairman of York racecourse simultaneously a trip to the Knavesmire next month might well be on the cards.

“Secretly it was what I was expecting, but realistically you cannot think that way,” Charlton said.

“I thought she was very exciting at Haydock but we didn’t know what she beat that day but as it turned out she beat some very good fillies.

“The way she goes about it, she has a beautiful action and like most Frankels she takes a bit of pulling up after the winning post, which is a good sign.

“She will clearly go another furlong and let’s hope she goes a mile and that she stays winter favourite.

“She is entered in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Curragh, September 11) which is what Frankie suggested afterwards but she is also entered in the Lowther.

“I wouldn’t want to run her on soft ground because she has such a good action.

"Sometimes people say chestnut fillies can get a bit hot and bothered, but this filly has always been really good.

"She's a charming character to deal with and goes about her business like a real pro. I'm so pleased for Prince Khalid.

"He bred a great racehorse in Frankel. It brought a lot of people into racing and it's just tremendous that his progeny are doing so well.”

Earlier in the day Frankuus, a son of Frankel, finished a close third to Apex King in a thrilling climax to the Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes.

 

Courtesy: RACINGUK

History beckons for Jeff Lloyd

Jeff Lloyd is poised to write himself into the record books as the oldest jockey to win the Brisbane metropolitan premiership.

Lloyd has shortened to long odds-on to win the title after riding four winners at Doomben on Saturday.

He is now on 71 wins for the season leading James Orman (66) and Jim Byrne (65.5) with six meetings remaining in the season.

At 55 years of age Lloyd is nine years older than Michael Cahill was when he took out the premiership in 2012/13.

Lloyd has ridden more than 5000 winners in nine countries, 95 at Group I level. He was also the champion jockey six times in his native South Africa.

Lloyd suffered a stroke in March 2013 and was out of the saddle for 12 months but a determination to let his children see him ride at his best spurred him to a comeback.

Lloyd has ridden 105 winners this season and seven stakes winners.

"I am like the young blokes. I just like riding more and more winners," Lloyd said.

Meanwhile, reigning premier Byrne and 19-year-old apprentice Orman have not given up catching Lloyd.

"I am out on Wednesday but I still have five meetings to catch him although it will be hard," Orman said.

Byrne said there was still plenty of time to run Lloyd but it would be very hard against an in form rider.

It has been a frustrating season for Byrne who has ridden 81 second placegetters this season.

 

Courtesy : Racenet

Karis Teetan vers le Japon

La saison hippique hongkongaise étant arrivée à terme hier, le jockey mauricien Karis Teetan mettra le cap vers le Japon où il sera en action à partir de ce samedi.

Notre compatriote a conclu la saison à Hong Kong, ex-aequo avec Brett Prebble, à la 3e place au classement des jockeys. Il a remporté 47 courses en 575 montes.

C’est Joao Moreira qui s’est approprié le titre de champion avec 168 victoires. Son dauphin Zac Purton a terminé loin derrière, son compteur affichant 80.

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