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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Flat fixture at Ayr transferred to hurdles course

Sir Anthony McCoy: set to be interviewed by Paddy Power at the event
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Ayr's Flat meeting next Thursday has been transferred to the hurdles course.

Five of the six races originally scheduled for the day have been cancelled with new races put on in their place. The 1m5f handicap has been retained while the safety factor is down to 14.

Last month's Ayr Gold Cup meeting was abandoned due to an area of the course being waterlogged.

McCoy to speak at One-Zero event

Twenty-time champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy has been announced as the latest keynote speaker for the popular One-Zero event at Croke Park on October 17.  

McCoy, who is set to be interviewed by Paddy Power at the event, said: “As a sports fan I enjoy talking about sport – whether that’s races or matches.  

“There are always thousands of different perspectives and I think that’s the beauty of sport; we all experience it differently. It will be great to share my experiences at Croke Park and to hear the different perspectives on the changing world of sport.”

Paddy Power added: “AP McCoy is one of the greatest sportsmen ever and it’s an honour to get the opportunity to pick his brains, even though I’ll feel very inadequate by the end of the session! 

“I know he’s incredibly driven, but I want to know why and how he could keep his hunger to be champion jockey for 20 consecutive years. Besides, he cost us bookies a fortune over the years so I can’t wait to get my hands on him!”

Bowen looking forward to new chapter

In-demand conditional rider James Bowen will have his first day at Nicky Henderson's yard on Monday after being the subject of plenty of interest over the summer.

"Since I've been 16 it's been the hot topic and I've had to give it plenty of thought," said Bowen at Market Rasen on Saturday after driving home Get Home Now for father Peter.

"It's a really good opportunity for me, as it's probably the best place to be at the moment.

"Mr Henderson is a trainer who has always been very loyal to his jockeys. My jockey coach Mick Fitzgerald was obviously stable jockey there for many years and had a lot of success."

Bowen has been attracting admiring glances from all over and on Saturday even got the leg-up on Red Tornado, favourite for one of the feature races at Market Rasen, on his first ride for Dan Skelton.

Bowen, who still claims 7lb, added of his ambitions in general: "This is the time in your career where you want to be making the right contacts and riding nice horses, so they're there for you once your claim's gone.

"This winter I just want to be riding horses, riding winners and getting my name out there."

Havlin booked up straight away

Robert Havlin has been booked for rides at Lingfield and Chelmsford on Thursday, the day after his drugs ban expires.

A urine sample taken on October 30 last year at Saint-Cloud returned positive for several banned substances, including cocaine, but Havlin has always insisted the results were due to contamination.

A variety of appeals failed, much to the disappointment of Havlin, who estimates the ban has cost him well into six figures, plus a handful of Group-race wins, and his boss John Gosden, who has stood by the rider and likened his experience to a Kafkaesque nightmare.

That ends next week, and Gosden has wasted no time in booking Havlin to ride Damocles at Lingfield and Tivoli at Chelmsford.

Turnover and attendances up at Newbury

Newbury racecourse has reported a ten per cent increase in turnover for the first six months of the year, with attendances up 24 per cent thanks to better weather.

While turnover increased to £7.04 million, according to the course's interim results released on Friday, Newbury made a loss on ordinary activities after tax of £0.38m, having made an exceptional profit of £17.2m the previous year thanks to the sale of the final tranche of land for development at the site to David Wilson Homes.

Of the increase in turnover, £350,000 related to the three racedays abandoned in 2016, while there was around a four per cent rise in like-for-like media revenues, a 31 per cent increase in income from the nursery on site, and a £200,000 increase in revenues from the Lodge hotel.

The lack of abandonments meant attendances for the period rose to 63,589 from 55,647.

Racecourse chairman Dominic Burke said: "In the first six months of 2017 we have continued to make good progress against our strategy of redevelopment and growth."

The course said 560 homes were now occupied in the residential development.

Burke added: "We are pleased with the continued steady progress on the DWH residential development and we've made good progress on our own redevelopment, with the new saddling boxes, pre-parade ring and eastern entrance building all now completed and in use.

"We remain confident in the delivery of a positive financial out-turn for the remainder of 2017."

As a sports fan I enjoy talking about sport – whether that’s races or matches
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