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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

O'Flaherty appointed new clerk of the course at Chepstow

Libby O'Flaherty: takes over as Chepstow clerk on June 4
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Libby O’Flaherty has been appointed clerk of the course at Chepstow.

O’Flaherty, 30, will take over on June 4 from Keith Ottesen, who is moving to Newbury. She is currently clerk of the course at Worcester and Hereford, where she has been since completing her training in 2016, which followed ten years in various roles at Wolverhampton.

Phil Bell, executive director of Chepstow, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Libby to the team. She has done a fantastic job at Worcester and Hereford in the last couple of years.

“We’d also like to thank Keith Ottesen for his years at Chepstow and wish him all the best for the future.”

Sweeney up and running

Fergus Sweeney got off the mark in South Korea on his first day riding there.

Sweeney, 40, who last rode in Britain in March and has an initial four-month licence in South Korea, partnered Rock Hard Seven to victory for trainer Bart Rice at Busan on Friday.

Breeders' Cup winner dies

Afleet Again, winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Marathon, has died aged 11 in South Korea after a bout of colic.

Afleet Again stood six seasons in South Korea, residing privately at Happy Farm, where his largest book featured 51 mares.

Breeders' Cup programme shuffle

The running order of races is to change significantly at this year's Breeders' Cup, with the opening card at Churchill Downs on November 2 now set to focus on juvenile contests having been rebranded Future Stars Friday.

All five of the meeting's two-year-old prizes will now be run on the Friday, when the concluding event will be the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The Distaff, which had been the first-day showpiece, now becomes Saturday's third-last race.

Sky secures long-term Melbourne Cup deal

The Lexus Melbourne Cup will be shown exclusively live in Britain and Ireland on the soon-to-be born Sky Sports Racing channel after Sky and the Victoria Racing Club signed a long-term deal.

The new arrangement begins this year – at which point Sky Sports Racing could still be known as At The Races – and comes hot on the heels of Sky's recent acquisition of pay TV Breeders' Cup rights.

Racecourses come together for community action

Racing Together, the sport's annual community volunteer day, took place on Friday, with 20 racecourses focusing on issues facing people in their local area to complement normal year-round support.

This year the day featured a "Big Switch Off", as part of which racecourses shut down non-essential machines to save money and help the environment.

George Strawbridge buys Guineas hope Who's Steph

The Ger Lyons-trained Who's Steph, winner of the Group 3 Ballylinch Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month, has been bought by George Strawbridge and will carry his famous white and green colours in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday.

A grey daughter of Zoffany, Who's Steph was previously owned by Sean Jones.

Nars to offer mentoring course after securing bookmaker funding

The National Association of Racing Staff (Nars) has agreed a £100,000 funding partnership with the country's largest independent bookmaker Jenningsbet which will be used to finance a course in mentoring.

Up to 28 students each year will have the chance to study for the ILM Level 2 Introduction to Mentoring and ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills on a 12-week course delivered by West Suffolk College. The first enrolments will take place in September 2018.

George McGrath, CEO of Nars said: "I know this course will be very popular and is much needed. The reality is that there are already a number of staff who act as mentors, and our view is that they should be recognised with a government qualification.

"The support we are set to receive from Jenningsbet is outstanding and is an excellent example of bookmakers’ commitment to the future strength and prosperity of the sport at all levels, especially at a time when many aspect of the future funding of the sport remain uncertain."

Greg Knight, CEO of JenningsBet, said: "Racing has identified a problem in retaining young people coming into racing and we think a mentoring system in which experienced racing staff are taught how to bring through the next generation will be an important tool.

"At the end of the day racing staff keep the whole show on the road – our shops wouldn’t be able to function without horseracing and make the media rights payments and levy contributions we make without the staff in the yards. We have a moral responsibility to recognise that."

Colm O’Rourke to present stable staff trophies

Former Meath All-Ireland footballer and RTÉ GAA analyst Colm O’Rourke will present the trophies at the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, which take place in Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, County Meath on Monday, May 21.

O'Rourke will join MC Richard Forristal, editor of the Racing Post in Ireland, in front of an audience made up of the finalists in each of the ten categories, their families, work colleagues and representatives of all sectors of the Irish racing and breeding industry.

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She has done a fantastic job at both Worcester and Hereford in the last couple of years
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