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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Limerick Grade 3 novice chase switched to Thursday card

Limerick: changes to Thursday's card
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The Grade 3 Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase and the Listed Kevin McManus Bookmaker Champion Four-Year-Old Bumper, which were due to be run at Limerick last Saturday before the meeting was cancelled due to waterlogging, will be run at the track's fixture on Thursday.

The Greenmount Park Beginners Chase has been deleted from Thursday's programme. An eight-race card will start at 2pm and finish at 6pm.

The ground at Limerick on Monday was described as heavy. The forecast is for mainly dry weather over the next few days.

Parts of the track at Ballinrobe, which is due to stage its first meeting of the year on Friday, were unraceable on Monday. Showers are forecast for the next 48 hours and a further update on conditions will be issued on Wednesday.

Aintree preview night in Dublin

The Dublin Racing Club, in association with Paddy Power and the Racing Post, is holding an Aintree Grand National preview night in Peadar Kearneys pub in Dame St, Dublin on Wednesday at 7.30pm.

The panellists are the Racing Post's David Jennings, trainer Tony Mullins, journalist Johnny Ward, Brendan Duke of Paddy Power and Frank Hickey. Admission is free.

Dunwoody squeaks home in North Korea

Richard Dunwoody completed the Pyongyang marathon in North Korea on Sunday in 3 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds, ensuring his hopes were met – just.

After hiking to the South Pole in 2008, marching 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours in 2009 and walking 2,000 miles across Japan last year, running 26.2 miles might have sounded rather lame. But the fact it took place in a nuclear-armed hermit kingdom made it a more typically Dunwoody adventure.

Now 54, Dunwoody has very different expectations to when setting his personal best of three hours ten minutes in 2002. He wanted to break four hours and he made it, by the skin of his teeth.

He was, however,  more interested in raising as much money as he could for the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton. His target was £2,500 and he had raised £1,410.00 as of Sunday afternoon.

A tweet from the Injured Jockeys Fund read: "Congratulations who completed the North Korea marathon in 3 hours 59 mins and 59 seconds – he said he'd go under 4 hours !! Please still support him for and "

Hexham inspection

Hexham's card on Tuesday hinges on an 8am inspection on Monday, with more than 111m of rain having fallen at the course since Good Friday.

The track was on Sunday reported to be waterlogged in places and, although a drier spell of weather is anticipated, there could be further showers on raceday.


No Ambition at Aintree

Burning Ambition, one of the ante-post favourites for Thursday's Foxhunters' Chase at Aintree, will not travel after failing to spark in his latest piece of work.

Trainer Pierce Power's stable star was last seen finishing eighth behind Pacha Du Polder in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham and may now be aimed at the Punchestown festival instead.

Power said: "He's usually a very good work horse, so when he didn't quite sparkle last week, we knew we'd no business going to Aintree with him.

"We'll have a look at Punchestown but he could also go out to grass as he's still only a seven-year-old and there should be plenty of good days in him."

Boylan short-listed for award

Mark Boylan, who spent seven months with the Racing Post's editorial team in Ireland as part of his university course, has been short-listed for the Sportswriter of the Year prize at the National Student Media Awards.

Boylan, 20, first came to prominence in racing circles when he wrote and performed a song celebrating the Cheltenham Festival as a 13-year-old and he has since done the same sort of thing for Kauto Star, Sir Anthony McCoy, the Breeders' Cup and Campbell Gillies. However, it is his work for the Racing Post which has led to the nomination.

He said: "I submitted several of the pieces that I did while I was with the Racing Post, including a colour piece from Laytown and a spread on Beef Or Salmon, who was a favourite of mine, and luckily they liked what I had done. I'm one of six in the running for the award, and I'm delighted, but it's a complete surprise."

Boylan is taking a four-year course in journalism and new media at the University of Limerick, the third year of which took him to the Racing Post. He is currently studying at the University of the West Of Scotland at Ayr and hopes to make a career in racing journalism when he graduates.

Death of jockey Peter Cullis

Former jockey Peter Cullis, who had his only ride in the Grand National at the age of 43 in 1973, the year that Red Rum beat Crisp, has died. He was 87.

Cullis, who finished last on Mill Door,  started in racing as a 6st apprentice and was barely 15 when he enjoyed a first win on Weathercock at Salisbury in 1945.

The Sporting Life reported: "The opening event in the programme, a race for apprentice jockeys, was won so easily by Weathercock, ridden by young Cullis, that it does not call for any description except to remark that this small boy kept his mount going steadily once he had taken the lead".

Cullis's last winner came over jumps at Taunton 30 years later on May Gate. He retired immediately afterwards.

Although he had ridden at 6st 7lb at Salisbury Cullis put on weight quickly afterwards and was forced to go jumping in 1948, but not before he had ridden in that year's Oaks on Special Scotch, who finished last behind Masaka.

His career was interrupted when he broke his neck at Kempton on Boxing Day, 1960, and he enjoyed only occasional success afterwards.

Carlisle appointment 

Molly Dingwall has been appointed general manager of Carlisle. Dingwall, 27, joined Jockey Club Racecourses as a regional conference and events business development executive in November 2015 and progressed to trainee general manager before succeeding Geraldine McKay as general manager.

She said: "I absolutely adore Carlisle, and this is a brilliant opportunity to join a fantastic team responsible for top-class racing and events that are the pride of Cumbria.

“I am passionate about horseracing and through my roles at the Jockey Club I have been lucky enough to work at some of the most prestigious racecourses and festivals in the UK. I cannot wait to become part of the local community and to continue to develop this fantastic venue."

John Baker, north-west regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses, was himself once manager at Carlisle and said: "We are delighted Molly will lead our dedicated and talented team at Carlisle into an exciting new era for the course. 

"She has a natural enthusiasm, exuberance and vast knowledge of our wonderful sport. Her commercial skills and engaging personality will be a great asset."

Sign Of A Victory retired 

Sign Of A Victory, the high-class Nicky Henderson-trained hurdler, has been retired aged nine.

Sign Of A Victory won six times – two bumpers, three over hurdles and once on the Flat from 17 starts in a rather stop-start career in which he experienced plenty of niggling setbacks.

His victory in a Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot in November 2014 earned him a career-high Racing Post Rating of 156, but it was to prove his final success over jumps.

Owner Matt Morgan tweeted: "After a long consultation with  it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to retire Sign Of A Victory. Unfortunately on returning from injury he has not shown his old enthusiasm and it is crucial that we do what is best for him. Happy retirement my old pal ."

Michigan left with no thoroughbred racing

Hazel Park Raceway in Michigan has been closed after ownership group Hartman & Tyner announced the property was in the process of being sold, just under a month before the scheduled opening day of the meeting.

The closure of Hazel Park marks the fourth thoroughbred venue to shut its doors in Michigan since 2007, when Great Lakes Downs held its final fixture. Hazel Park opened in 1949 as a dual-purpose facility for thoroughbreds and standardbreds.

Michigan's lone remaining racetrack following the closure is Northville Downs, a standardbred facility on the outskirts of Detroit.

In a press release, Hartman & Tyner revealed Hazel Park has entered into an agreement to sell its assets, and closing of the transaction is expected within the next few weeks. The track was scheduled to race from May 4.

"Over the past 25 years, the gaming industry has dramatically changed throughout the country," read a statement from the racetrack.

"Clearly, this has had a significant impact on the proud tradition of horseracing throughout Michigan. For nearly 70 years Hazel Park Raceway has appreciated the hard work and support of employees and fans, as well as the economic and entertainment value this venue has brought to the community."

E.W. Terms
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