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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Allergic reaction keeps Hanagan on the sidelines with hope for Ayr return

Goodwood stages the first of two TBA small breeder races
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Paul Hanagan will miss his rides at Beverley on Wednesday as he recovers from a wasp sting that caused a severe allergic reaction.

The two-time champion jockey suffered severe swelling in his left arm and blotching all over his body after being stung when riding at Carlisle on Monday. He said his hand was swollen “like a mini-football”.

Hanagan was sick and grew frightened when his lips began to swell, fearing it would extend to his throat. He was taken to hospital and treated with antibiotics.  

The 37-year-old had three intended rides at Beverley on Wednesday. Agent Richard Hale said: “All things being square he’ll be back riding on Thursday at Ayr.”

Hanagan is booked to to ride Toscanini, a top-priced 14-1 chance, in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

Australian mega merger hits hurdle

The Aus$11 billion (approx £6.55bn) merger between Australian gambling giants Tabcorp and Tatts Group has met with a significant setback after the Australian federal court asked the competition authorities to reconsider their decision to approve the deal.

The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) gave the deal the go-ahead in June but regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission successfully appealed against the decision.

The merged companies will control about 90 per cent of Australia's totalisator betting.

However the merger has been opposed by Racing Victoria, who believe it to be bad for the racing industry, as well as corporate bookmakers including Ladbrokes and Sportsbet, which is owned by Paddy Power Betfair.

The Australian newspaper said a new hearing was being fast-tracked and the outcome could become known in a week's time.

Bill Barber


Scientific Games snap up OpenBet owner

Gambling technology company Scientific Games is to buy NYX Gaming, the owner of sportsbook platform provider OpenBet, to create "a global gaming and lottery powerhouse".

Scientific Games, whose business includes supplying gaming machines and self-service betting terminals to betting shop operators in the UK, is to pay C$775 million (approx £466m) for the Canadian-listed firm.

Scientific Games' chief executive Kevin Sheehan said: "This important transaction creates a global gaming and lottery powerhouse.

"Scientific Games will be a stronger industry leader offering one of the broadest end-to-end portfolios of engaging content, innovative technologies and digital products and services across gaming and lottery."

In April 2016 NYX Gaming announced it had bought OpenBet for £270 million with William Hill and Sky Bet teaming up to invest £100m in NYX as part of the deal.  

Hills, whose investment in NYX was based on improving their online offering, said their contract continued under the new owner.

Bill Barber


TBA calls on owners and trainers to support small breeder races

The Thoroughbred Breeders Association is calling on owners and trainers to support two races aimed at helping the sport's small breeders, with the entries for the first of the contests closing on Thursday.

The £25,000 7f juvenile events are staged at Goodwood on September 27 and Leicester on October 10. They are restricted to horses by British-based sires who stood at an advertised fee of £10,000 or less at the time of covering in 2014.

TBA board member Philip Newton said: "Small owners and breeders are an essential part of the structure that makes British racing so attractive and the TBA small breeders races are designed to encourage the 'value' proposition within racehorse production and ownership.

"Such an initiative provides a worthwhile prize fund for this category of owner and breeder, and the TBA is delighted to support what is admittedly a limited programme for a second year and hope that as a result other similar opportunities can be encouraged."

Lavelle's Casino runs in Belmont hurdle

The Emma Lavelle-trained Casino Markets will make the second start of his American stint at Belmont on Thursday having finished well beaten at Saratoga eight days ago.

Leighton Aspell will again be in the saddle as Casino Markets tackles the Lonesome Glory Handicap Hurdle (7.01pm, ATR) , in which rivals include former Willie Mullins star Simenon and Hinterland, successful in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase for Paul Nicholls.

Saxon Warrior on target for Beresford at Naas on Sunday

Saxon Warrior, a three-and-a-quarter-length winner on his debut at the Curragh last month, is likely to spearhead Aidan O'Brien's team for the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at Naas on Sunday.

O'Brien has sent out 16 winners of the mile event and has seven of the ten entries for Sunday's race when he will be attempting to land the prize for the seventh year in a row.

Successful with Capri, winner of the William Hill St Leger on Saturday, a year ago, O'Brien said on Tuesday: "We'll probably run a few in the race including Saxon Warrior who came out of his maiden win well."

Saxon Warrior is a son of Deep Impact and Group 1 winner Maybe.
Tony O'Hehir

Norton careless riding ban downgraded to caution after appeal

Jockey Franny Norton has had his three-day suspension for careless riding reduced to a caution after successfully arguing the interference he caused was minimal.

Norton, 47, was banned by stewards at Kempton for a manoeuvre in the London Mile this month that resulted in five opponents being hampered.

However, at the disciplinary panel appeal hearing on Monday, Norton and his solicitor Rory Mac Neice argued only “minimal interference” was caused when the rider made a “split-second decision” to switch his mount, the eventual second The Warrior, around an opponent instead of taking a pull.

Norton, who had his deposit returned by the panel, is enjoying an excellent year with 68 winners, including the Dante on Permian, and over £800,000 won in prize-money.

South African star Whisky Baron fails to shine in Newmarket gallop

Connections of South African raider Whisky Baron are hoping for a dry September after the Grade 1 winner failed to sparkle in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket's Rowley Mile on Monday morning.

The five-year-old, who has been at Newmarket since June, did not appear to enjoy the good-to-soft ground in his five-and-a-half furlong exercise with William Haggas pair Hathal (Michael Hills) and Muffri'Ha (Michael Tebbutt).

Top South African jockey Greg Cheyne was having his first taste of the Rowley Mile aboard Whisky Baron who is being targeted at the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes back at the track on September 29.

The mile contest has been a happy hunting ground for South Africans in the past, Mike de Kock winning it twice with Eagle Mountain (2008) and Soft Falling Rain (2013).

Cheyne, who has notched over 1,600 winners worldwide during his career and finished second in the South African Jockeys Championship for the 2016-17 season, said: "There's nothing wrong with the horse, he just found the track a bit too testing.

"I could tell going down to the start that it was too soft for him but that will have put him right for the race. We just hope it dries up a bit before the end of the month and thanks to Mr Haggas for providing some company for us."

Trained by Brett Crawford, Whisky Baron has not run since landing one of South Africa’s top all-aged races, the Group 1 Sun Met [formerly known as the J&B Met] at Kenilworth in Cape Town in January. He spent three months in quarantine in Mauritius but is now at the South African-owned Abington Place Stables on Newmarket's Bury Road.
David Milnes

Sportech chief Penrose set to depart

Sportech chief executive Ian Penrose is to leave the technology supplier and pool betting company at the end of this year.

Chief financial officer Mickey Kalifa is also leaving the company, which has announced it is undertaking a strategic review.

Penrose, formerly chief executive of racecourse group Arena Leisure, joined Sportech in October 2005.

Sportech chairman Richard McGuire said: "We would like to thank Ian for the tremendous job he has performed at Sportech.

"He presided over the transformation of the company from a UK-focused business into a respected, fully-licensed and regulated global gaming technology supplier and gambling operator in the US with a strong balance sheet."

During Penrose's time at the helm, Sportech were successful in securing £97 million in a legal challenge over VAT payments and also sold The Football Pools business for £83m.

Penrose said: "I have enjoyed my time at Sportech in which the company has enjoyed a transformational period from a rapidly, and many thought terminally, declining UK business... into the business it is today."
Bill Barber

Japanese 2,000 Guineas winner Al Ain beaten in St Leger trial

Report: Japan, Sunday

Nakayama: Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen (Grade 2) 1m3f, turf, 3yo

Japanese 2,000 Guineas winner Al Ain was a beaten favourite on his first start since finishing fifth in the Japanese Derby, overhauled by second favourite Mikki Swallow (Takanori Kikusawa/Norihiro Yokoyama) who won this recognised Japanese St Leger trial by a length and three-quarters.

Winning rider Yokoyama said: "His break was not good but I drove him through the pack to get the position near Al Ain. I thought he would beat the favourite when he could run side by side at the home straight. He showed an excellent spurt - better than I expected - and he caught him easily."

Last year's Japanese St Leger was won by Satono Diamond, who was beaten in the Prix Foy but remains on course for a crack at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Masakazu Takahashi


Voice of south-west racing Brimblecombe dies

Ivor Brimblecombe, known to many as the voice of racing in the south-west of Britain, has died aged 85 after a short illness.

Brimblecombe was a familiar face and voice at tracks including Exeter and Taunton in his role as racecourse announcer, a position he filled for over 50 years, and he was still out on track last month when at Newton Abbot.

His son Jeremy said on Monday: "He loved racing and we all worked together on the courses as a family unit. As a broadcast announcer everybody recognised his voice over the years and it was something he loved to do. It was his passion and he was dedicated to it."

As well as Jeremy, Brimblecombe is survived by his other son, Andrew.
David Baxter

Such an initiative provides a worthwhile prize fund for this category of owner and breeder
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