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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Derby favourite Pentagon heads strong Trophy team for O'Brien

The Pentagon: won Tyros Stakes last time out
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The Pentagon and Saxon Warrior, joint-favourites for next year's Investec Derby, head Aidan O'Brien's team of entries for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 28.

The pair, who are no bigger than 10-1 for the Epsom Classic, are among 16 entries for the Ballydoyle trainer among a total of 38 possibles.

O’Brien said: "The plan is to run The Pentagon, who won the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown in July. We've had the race in mind for him for some time.

"It's possible Saxon Warrior, who won the Beresford Stakes at Naas, might also run. We could run a few others but nothing will be finalised for another couple of weeks."

Morrison hearing on horizon

The BHA inquiry into the Hughie Morrison-trained horse which tested positive for an anabolic steroid could take place next month, the Racing Post understands.

Morrison was charged in May after traces of nandrolone and a metabolite of the banned substance were found in a urine sample taken from the filly Our Little Sister after she ran at Wolverhampton in January.

The trainer has vigorously protested his innocence, calling in the police and offering a reward for information, suspecting the horse was the victim of foul play from someone outside his yard. Morrison was unable to comment on the case.

More immediately, the trainer, who won the Cesarewitch last year with Sweet Selection, could run three in Saturday's Betfred-backed renewal.

"Fun Mac and Star Rider run and Aurora Grey is a possible if she gets in," said Morrison. "She bruised her foot last week so we couldn't work her for a few days and we want to make sure she's okay before we commit.

"I can't say we're overly optimistic. Vent De Force was the one I wanted to go with but he's not right. We had the right profile horse last year. I don't think we have this year, but Aurora Grey could go well off a low weight if she got a bit of juice in the ground."

Guest case before disciplinary panel

The BHA's disciplinary panel will on Thursday decide whether Yorkshire trainer Richard Guest was at fault for the prohibited substance minoxidil being present in a sample from his horse Bollihope taken at Newcastle on November 29 last year.

Minoxidil is used in the treatment of hair loss in humans and such a confusion was cited in a South African showjumping case in July, where owner Mark Slade was adjudged to have transferred it to his horse Felix van de Mispelaere from his personal use of a product that contained the substance.

However, minoxidil is a banned substance owing to its properties as a vasodilator, which aids the flow of blood to muscles.

Guest faces a potential disqualification of up to two years, if he is found guilty, but a financial penalty of up to £10,000 would be a more likely outcome.

The panel will also consider the case of jockey Tom Donoghue, whose sample taken on March 29 at Southwell was found to contain a metabolite of cocaine. 

Donoghue, who has had only eight rides in all and whose only ride of the year so far came on the day he tested positive, faces a ban of up to six months.

Profitable retired

Profitable, who enjoyed his finest hour when winning the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016, has been retired to stand at Darley's Kildangan Stud.

Trained by Clive Cox, Profitable developed through the handicap ranks to take high order among the sprinting division, winning the Group 3 Palace House Stakes and Group 2 Temple Stakes, as well as the King's Stand, during a stellar 2016 campaign.

Those exploits prompted Godolphin to purchase the son of Invincible Spirit from Alan Spence, but while he was unable to add to his tally in 2017 he ran a number of creditable races, including finishing runner-up to Lady Aurelia when attempting to retain his King's Stand crown.

He signed off on the racecourse by finishing third in the Prix de l'Abbaye on Arc day.

Cox said: “Profitable has a wonderful temperament and has been an absolute delight to train. He's been a top-class five-furlong horse throughout, performing at the highest level and he saved his best performances for Royal Ascot."

Profitable's stud fee has been set at €12,000.

Melbourne Cup taking shape

Last year's Melbourne Cup winner and current 7-1 ante-post favourite Almandin was among 55 horses to stand their ground for the historic 2m handicap at the first acceptance stage.

A total of 14 European contenders remain in contention, including three trained by Willie Mullins, who could be represented by 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite, Wicklow Brave and Thomas Hobson.

The leading European raider according to the market is the Andreas Wohler-trained Red Cardinal, who is a top price of 16-1.

This year's Melbourne Cup will be run on Tuesday, November 7 at Flemington.

2017 Melbourne Cup card

Mullins has also sent Riven Light to Australia and he will have his first run in Saturday's Caulfield Stakes. He could go on to clash with Winx in the Cox Plate – but the Mullins camp are not confident of beating the wondermare.

"We don't expect to beat Winx, but if he runs well enough on Saturday he might be able to go there and run a good race and get some nice prize-money," assistant trainer David Casey told AAP Racing.

"You're hoping after last Saturday [when Winx made it 21 wins in a row] people won't turn up and there'll be some extra prize-money."

Regarding Riven Light's chances in the Caulfield Stakes, Casey said: "He's very fit and hopefully he'll run well and do himself justice. He's a relaxed horse and takes it all in his stride."

Hearing lays no blame for Ana O’Brien Killarney incident

The Turf Club referrals committee has ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict anyone of a riding offence in the Killarney race in which Ana O'Brien suffered horrific injuries on July 18.

O'Brien was riding Druids Cross, trained by her brother Joseph, in a mile rated race when her mount took a crashing fall after coming into contact with another horse under two furlongs from the finish. Druids Cross suffered fatal injuries and O'Brien has not ridden since.

The referrals committee, which comprised of Justice Tony Hunt, Nick Wachman and Phillip Caffrey, heard evidence at a hearing on Monday evening from Shane Foley, Oisin Orr, Pat Smullen and Killian Leonard, who all rode in the race, and were satisfied that no rules were broken by any jockey.

The committee also looked into an incident at Tipperary on September 26 when filly Sarah Ash Callum appeared to be struck on the face in the parade ring before the horses were mounted for a 5f handicap.

Eoghan Norris, who was leading the filly at the time, was found in breach of rule 272 – guilty by conduct or behaviour of acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing – but it was decided that a caution was sufficient punishment.

The committee found the offence was of a lower category to the recent Vincent O'Brien case, where a seven-day suspension was handed out, and took Norris's previous record and current circumstances into consideration.

Ranger now with Joseph O'Brien and set for Melbourne Cup

US Army Ranger has moved from father to son in an attempt to reignite the spark which saw him finish second to Harzand in the 2016 Epsom Derby. 

Joseph O'Brien has been handed the baton from his father Aidan and his first move is to send the son of Galileo to Australia for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup along with stablemate Rekindling.

A switch to hurdles, though, is not part of the plan at the moment for the four-year-old.

"I'm training US Army Ranger now and we're hoping the switch of stables might freshen him up," said his new trainer on Monday.

"He heads to Australia with Rekindling and both of them seem to be in very good form. At the moment hurdling is not something we are thinking about for US Army Ranger."

No serious Kelso injuries for Fox

Grand National-winning jockey Derek Fox suffered no serious injury in his last-race fall at Kelso on Sunday, but faces a concussion test before he can resume riding.

The 25-year-old was sent home only hours after being taken to Borders General Hospital in Galashiels.

Fox, who learned this week the Lucinda Russell-trained Aintree hero One For Arthur is out for the season with a tendon problem, suffered no broken bones and is looking forward to getting back in the saddle at the earliest opportunity.

He said on Monday: "I'm not too bad. It was just a bang on the head. There are no broken bones and the head scan came back clear, so it's now just a case of waiting for a concussion test, which I can't do for seven days, and then hopefully returning to the racecourse."

Despite the disappointment of One For Arthur's injury, Fox is in no doubt the eight-year-old will be back next season and reckons there is plenty more to look forward to at Russell's.

He added: "It's been a difficult few days, but One For Arthur is in good hands and I'm sure Lucinda will get him back. In the meantime she's got a lot of nice horses coming through, so I'm still looking forward to a good season with plenty of winners."

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Profitable has a wonderful temperament and has been an absolute delight to train
E.W. Terms
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